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Andy Rich  KenapocoFloat 2016

Manchester’s Andrew Rich receives Distinguished Teaching Award

Mathematics professor to retire, granted emeritus status

Andrew RichThe Mathematical Association of America Indiana Section has recognized Manchester University Professor Andrew Rich with its 2022 Distinguished Teaching Award.

The award recognizes the accomplishments and contributions of section members who are extraordinary teachers in the mathematical sciences and whose teaching effectiveness has been shown to have had influence beyond their own institutions. 

This award was granted in Rich’s final semester of teaching after 30 years on the North Manchester campus.

He came to work at Manchester in 1992 after earning his Ph.D. in mathematics at the University of Chicago and teaching at Kansas State University. Rich was eager to work at a smaller college, as it reminded him of Bethel College in Kansas, where he had received his bachelor's degree in mathematics. 

“I grew up as a campus kid because my dad taught at Bethel,” Rich said. “I always thought that if I would be a teacher, I would want to teach at a place like that. … and I thought Manchester would be a good fit for me; a smaller college, which was where I wanted to be rather than teaching at a big state university.”

Rich has certainly thrived at Manchester. He has taught nearly every mathematics course it has to offer, from linear algebra and geometry to discrete math and calculus. He was involved in planning and design of the Science Center and was among the first to move into the building when it was completed in 2005.

Rich said he also took some very interesting sabbaticals over the years, including making a visit to the University of St. Andrews in Scotland to construct a math history course.

The North Manchester resident has been granted emeritus status by the Board of Trustees. 

After a long teaching career, Rich is looking forward to the chance to travel, particularly hoping to visit the Mediterranean and Japan. He also wishes to spend more time with his family: wife Sally, their first grandchild, and their four children, Sarah, Joey, Rebekah and Jon.

“Family is important,” he said, “so one of the things that will be fun about retirement is spending more time with family.”

Andy Rich at Commencement 2018There are some things that Rich will miss, particularly his students. “Being a teacher has been a big part of my identity for many years now,” he said. “When I’m retired and I’m not teaching anymore, I’m wondering how I’ll feel about that when it actually comes to pass.”

“I think most people who are teachers … there’s a certain showmanship involved. There’s a certain amount of joy in being in front of the classroom and interacting with the students. I’ll miss that.”

When asked if there is any one thing he would like to tell his students before he leaves, Rich had this to say: “Make sure to enjoy every stage of life that you’re in. Enjoy being a student in college because you have opportunities as a student that you’ll never have again. When you’re in college and you’re surrounded by all these other people who are in a similar situation, it’s really easier to make and maintain friendships than it is later. Don’t be in a hurry to rush through it. You just have to enjoy each stage that you’re in.”

He then jokingly added: “I want to say something like, ‘Math can really be fun,’ but that might go over like a lead balloon!”

For the media

Read the full MAA citation:

Learn more about the Marvin L. Bittinger Department of Mathematics and Computer Science at Manchester.

Carly Greaves, an academic intern in communications and media relations, contributed substantially to this report.

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April 2022