Mabee’s third-floor opening, Shermoen honored

Joelle Conway

The renovated third floor of Mabee Library opened Thursday, Jan. 31. Students, faculty and the community gathered on the upper level to celebrate the new innovative classrooms.

The technologically advanced rooms, united as the ‘math emporium,’ are part of the math department.

“These [classrooms] are for developmental math,” Lecturer Beth McNamee said. “They will include things like new computer programs, special sections [of math courses], contemporary mathematics and innovative learning.”

A few courses that will be taught in the learning labs on the third floor include game design, college algebra and intermediate algebra. Chair of Mathematics and Statistics, Professor Kevin Charlwood and Associate Professor Gaspar Porta are two of the many faculty members teaching courses in the new classrooms.

One of the newly constructed rooms is named after Professor Richard Shermoen.

Shermoen worked at Washburn for 26 years, serving as the Chair of the Mathematics and Statistics department beginning 1967. He later became the Chair of Computer Sciences in 1980 upon the conjoining of the two departments. He retired from his position in 1993.

“I had the most wonderful experience at Washburn,” Shermoen said.

During his time at Washburn, Shermoen changed the mathematics program.

He created three different majors within the department. Those majors were applied mathematics, pure mathematics and secondary education with a mathematics emphasis.

This adjustment catered to the interests of students and allowed for them to choose from different components of mathematics to have a concentration in.

Shermoen left an impact on Washburn and its mathematics department.

Shermoen’s wife, Nancy, was the secretary of the psychology department from 1973 until she retired in 1992. The dynamic duo remain part of Washburn’s community as they have children and grandchildren who attended, taught or were involved with the university.

The Shermoen family, which has seven Washburn graduates, was named “Family of the Year” in September 2018. The family has been involved at Washburn for over 51 years.

When asked what his most memorable moment from Washburn was, he joyfully exclaimed, “Today!”

“I couldn’t be happier. This is all so wonderful,” said Shermoen.

His smile was radiant and constant. It was apparent how honored he was to be part of the Washburn family.

Classes may now be scheduled to take place in the innovative learning classrooms.