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Middlebury College names John Schmitt recipient of 2008 Perkins Award for Excellence in Teaching

March 4, 2008

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. - Middlebury College has named Visiting Assistant Professor of Mathematics John Schmitt the recipient of the 2008 Perkins Award for Excellence in Teaching. The award honors outstanding teaching performance in science and mathematics. A ceremony and reception will be held on Tuesday, March 18, at 4:30 p.m. in Room 104 of McCardell Bicentennial Hall, located on Bicentennial Way off College Street (Route 125).

The annual award's focus is on the natural sciences. It is granted to a faculty member in the mathematics department every other year, alternating with a faculty member in one of the other five natural science departments - biology, chemistry, geology, physics and computer science. The award includes recognition on plaques in Warner Hall and McCardell Bicentennial Hall, and a grant for the support of further professional development.

Schmitt received his bachelor's degree from Providence College in Rhode Island, his master's of science from University of Vermont and his doctorate from Emory University. His areas of research include combinatorics, graph theory and discrete mathematics. At Middlebury, he teaches calculus, graph theory, linear algebra, and courses on combinatorics and combinatorial games and puzzles.

Before joining the faculty at Middlebury in 2005, Schmitt taught at Emory University. He is the local organizer for Discrete Mathematics Days of Northeast, and annual one-day conference that takes place in Middlebury. He also founded the Emory University Society of Industrial and Applied Mathematics Student Chapter, for which he also served as president from 2003-2005.

The Professor Llewellyn R. Perkins and Dr. Ruth M.H. Perkins Memorial Faculty Research Fund, which provides the award, was made possible by the gift of Dr. Ruth M.H. Perkins, a 1932 Middlebury graduate, in memory of her husband, Professor Llewellyn R. Perkins. Professor Perkins taught at Middlebury College from 1914 until his retirement in 1941. During the course of his tenure at Middlebury, he founded and chaired the mathematics department. Their children, Marion Perkins Harris, a 1957 Middlebury graduate and science teacher, and Dr. David L. Perkins, a physician, augmented the fund and expanded the scope of the award to honor their mother, Ruth, as well. She was an educator in Vermont and a professor of math education at Temple University in Philadelphia.