November 26, 2018
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In the fall of 2001, the Department of Mathematics moved into the newly built Rutherford B. Hayes Hall, designed by architect Graham Gund and named for the civil war general, governor of Ohio, president of the United States, and 1842 Kenyon valedictorian.
The third floor of the building was designed in collaboration with members of the mathematics department, and many details reflect an awareness of the needs of mathematics students and teachers. For example, the faculty offices are arranged in suites, with the outer office areas equipped with comfortable seating, computers, and plenty of whiteboards for scheduled or impromptu study sessions and office hours.
The centerpieces of our facilities are two computer-equipped classrooms, one for larger classes and one for smaller classes. In these rooms, each student has her or his own computer loaded with the latest in mathematical and statistical software for in-class laboratory work and explorations. There are also projection facilities for demonstrations, including specially designed lighting which allows students to see both their notes and the screen.
Two generous gifts have made possible other important resources. Daniel Finkbeiner was a faculty member in the mathematics department from 1951 to 1984, and as chair fought for the space and resources for a mathematics reading room with its own library of text and reference books. Donations from his own collection were the seed for the departmental library, a supplement to the holdings in Kenyon's main library. When Hayes Hall was designed, the Finkbeiner Library and Reading Room was incorporated as a place for students to gather, to study alone or in groups, and to browse a large collection of useful books.
Yiji Starr '91 and David Starr '90 took their Kenyon mathematics degrees into the world of business; Yiji is a senior VP and chief actuary with a major insurance company in Boston, and David has been an entrepeneur and a VP as well. They both realized how important it is for math majors to have computing facilities available for everything from class assignments to research in collaboration with the faculty. The Starr computing lab houses ten computers, along with scanners, printers, and other technology, dedicated to the needs of mathematics majors and minors. All of the mathematical software available in the computer-equipped classrooms is available, as well as specialized programs for independent projects, including mathematical typesetting software.