News Archive

Important Note: We have a new website location for college news. The listing below is an older archive, and you can find the latest news at

Retiring Math Professor Made Mark With Numbers, Words

August 05, 2020

Professor Randy SchwartzRandy Schwartz, Professor of Mathematics, has made a tremendous contribution to Schoolcraft College as an instructor and more during his 36-year career. He said his students have made a tremendous contribution to him as well.

“I gained as much from my students as they gained from me, because over the years, their questions and ideas had the cumulative effect of pushing me to learn more and to understand more about mathematics,” said Schwartz, who is retiring. “I will miss being with students every day. The energy of young people is contagious— all they need is some guidance to learn how to face the world.

“And it’s been especially gratifying to me when I could spark an interest in mathematics and a thirst for excellence in a student, and to see them master a topic.”

Schwartz has taught 12 different courses at Schoolcraft College. The four courses that he’s taught regularly for more than 20 years are:

  • Math 122 (Elementary Statistics): A practical course directed especially at students majoring in business, management and the health sciences.
  • Math 135 (Finite Mathematics): A practical course directed especially at students majoring in business and management.
  • Math 230 (Linear Algebra): Sometimes nicknamed “Matrix Algebra,” this is an advanced course directed especially at students majoring in math, science and engineering.
  • Math 252 (Differential Equations): Sometimes nicknamed “Calculus 4,” this is an advanced course directed especially at students majoring in math, science and engineering.

Schwartz began his teaching career after finishing graduate studies at the University of Michigan. He taught mathematics part-time at Washtenaw Community College, and then mathematics and computer programming full-time at Cleary College (now University).

“I found that I especially liked teaching community college students, and my search for full-time work in that field led me to a job posting at Schoolcraft College in 1984,” he said. “I remember that in the week of the interview, I got a painful kidney stone and I had to ask to postpone the meeting! Fortunately everyone involved was understanding, and it all worked out.”

Did it ever. In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Schwartz, who loves to write, took on the role of editor for the monthly “The Right Angle” publication for the Mathematics Department and the semi-annual “International Agenda” for the International Institute.

“These have been highlights of my career, and I’m grateful that some colleagues have now stepped forward with plans to continue this work,” Schwartz said.

In addition to the interaction with students, those relationships with colleagues are something Schwartz will miss as well.

“A real highlight was interacting with other faculty, even those outside of my department,” he said. “For example, sometimes in the lunchroom I would bump into Roger Sutherland (Biology) and his wife Mary, and we would sit down and talk. It was such a treat to spend time with them because they were involved in so many varied and interesting educational efforts out in the community.”

And sometimes the conversations turned to more basic “concerns.”

“Back when our department was housed in the Liberal Arts Building, a running joke developed among me and my office neighbors, Dick Gordon (English) and JuJuan Taylor (Communication Arts),” Schwartz recalled. “Every fall, as soon as the weather got even slightly chilly, one of us would ask the others with mock concern, ‘Have you stocked up on canned goods yet, in case we get snowed in with a blizzard?’ Even today we still do that if we bump into each other, no matter the time of year!”

Schwartz plans to stay busy in retirement.

“I’m still fascinated by mathematics, so I’ll continue to work on the challenging problems that I find in journals, and I hope to write a few articles for the journals, too,” he said. “I also like to write and publish poetry, and when the weather permits I take long walks outdoors twice a day in the section of Ann Arbor where I live.

”My companion Mariam Breed and I are active in an organization called the Culinary Historians of Ann Arbor— she’s the President, and I’m the Editor of our quarterly magazine, ‘Repast.’ Through talks, articles, and participatory theme meals, the group explores the history and culture of food, both American and foreign.”