History of the Department


Anna Tracy, Class of 2011, was this year’s recipient of the senior Hooke Prize in mathematics. Following graduation, Anna spent the summer working as an intern in the National Security Agency.  Ross Sowell, Class of 2005, received his Ph.D. in computer science from Washington University this spring.  He is now teaching at Cornell College.  John Ingram III, a senior computer science major, attended an REU this past
summer at Clemson University.  Two other students, Sabria Farheen and Mary Michael Forrester, worked this summer at Sewanee on research supported by McGriff-Bruton internships, with Stephen Carl and Matthew Rudd, respectively, as supervisors.

John R. Swallow, an associate editor of the AMS Notices, began serving this summer as associate provost, to become acting provost in the spring semester.  We are happy that John, Class of 1989, and Cameron, Class of 1990, have returned after their years at Davidson, where John was in the Department of Mathematics.  Linda Bright Lankewicz, the present provost and professor of computer science, will come back to our department, joining Joel Cunningham, who has already assumed a professorship of mathematics following a sabbatical leave last year during which he taught and participated in seminars at the Courant Institute and Columbia Teachers College.  Fred Croom is back this fall after spending the spring semester in Italy on sabbatical leave, working, among other things, on historical questions connected with Urysohn’s Lemma.  Stephen Carl is on sabbatical leave during the fall semester, spending time at Wright State University, where he is working with colleagues on computer vision and related projects. 

In April, Sewanee hosted the annual Sewanee-Rhodes-Hendrix Undergraduate Mathematics Symposium.  We were happy to have Birmingham–Southern join us this year.  Hugh Howards spoke at the symposium.  Also in the spring semester, a faculty-student seminar worked through a proof of the prime number theorem.  Six faculty members from mathematics and four senior majors met once a week to present the requisite material from Apostol’s Introduction to Analytic Number Theory.  Matthew Rudd was among 8 faculty members of the college honored this spring at a dinner given by the Society of Sewanee Scholars for “best teaching practices” on the basis of his innovative and compassionate approach to teaching and learning.

The Homecoming Lecture will be given this fall by Grace Kennedy, Class of 2006, who is working on a thesis in mathematics at UC Santa Barbara. The Ebey lecture last fall was given by Michael Starbird, of the University of Texas, who spoke on the fourth dimension.  Tom Banchoff, from Brown University, has agreed to be our Ebey lecturer this year, with details yet to be worked out.
We are saddened to report the death on February 12, 2011, of James T. Cross, who taught mathematics at Sewanee for nearly forty years, retiring in the 1990’s.  In December, 2010, Cross’s Moore-method notes for his elementary number theory class were published by the electronic journal JIBLM, from which they may be downloaded without fee.

(Submitted by William Priestley)