In the News

MU’s Brumbaugh-Smith appointed to endowed chair in mathematical sciences

Brumbaugh-Smith, JamesManchester University President Dave McFadden announced Wednesday that James Brumbaugh-Smith has been appointed as the Isaac and Etta H. Oppenheim Associate Professor of Mathematical Sciences.

“It has been a privilege to serve the students and faculty of my alma mater for 28 years, supporting students and colleagues in pursuing their intellectual and creative journeys.  And I am honored to follow the many outstanding teachers of mathematics who have held this professorship, including Drs. Andrew Rich, Stanley Beery and Ralph McBride,” Brumbaugh-Smith said.

This appointment comes upon the retirement of Rich, who taught at Manchester for three decades and was the Oppenheim professor.

“Jim is a committed, passionate professor who lives Manchester’s mission. Students benefit from his effective teaching and his deep concern for their well-being. His colleagues consistently place him in positions of immense responsibility, and he serves with trademark reliability and precision,” said Judd Case, dean of arts and sciences. “One of the most wonderful things about Jim is the way he extols others’ virtues and skills. If you meet him in the hallway or linger after a meeting, you are likely to hear him share a story, anecdote, or comment about how a member of the MU community is extraordinary and valuable. Beneath Jim’s expertise, thoughtfulness, and Oppenheim medal is a generous heart.”

Brumbaugh-Smith first came to MU in 1980 as student, graduating in 1984 with a degree in mathematics and computer science.  He went on to pursue graduate work in mathematical sciences at Clemson University, completing his master’s degree in 1985 and his doctorate in 2000. 

He was an instructor of mathematics at Manchester from 1992 until 1995. Brumbaugh-Smith returned in 1997 as an assistant and then associate professor of mathematics and computer science.

He was department chair from 2006 to 2017, has taught 23 different mathematics, data science, and computer science courses, and led the Values, Ideas and the Arts Committee.

“He is a valued collaborator and has been particularly committed to peace studies,” MU  Vice President Celia Cook-Huffman said, noting that he was a consultant and developer for the National Index of Violence and Harm, a project of the Manchester College and Peace Studies Institute from 2000 to 2008.

Oppenheim Medal archives“The history of this endowed chair goes back to the summer of 1889, when North Manchester College Normal School opened. Isaac Oppenheim’s sister was a member of that very first class,” said President Dave McFadden.

The Oppenheim family came to North Manchester in 1875 when Isaac’s father established the Oppenheim department store on Main Street, now home of the North Manchester Center for History.

The Isaac and Etta H. Oppenheim Chair of Mathematical Sciences fund was established through the generosity of Etta Oppenheim.

At the time of her death, when the endowed fund was announced, the Rev. R.H. Miller of North Manchester said, "By her liberal gift to Manchester College she has raised a monument to Jewish-Christian fellowship which I pray, and I am sure, will never be forgotten on that campus."
Isaac Oppenheim was a member of the North Manchester Board of Education for 15 years, and he and his wife sponsored concerts and donated money for equipment and other needs at the college.

For the media
More information about Dr. Brumbaugh-Smith and contact information.
Marvin L. Bittinger Department of Mathematics and Computer Science at Manchester

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May 2022