Tom Yuster wearing a light blue shirtProfessor Thomas R. Yuster, Lafayette has benefitted greatly from your dedication and commitment to teaching. Not only have you been a steadfast advocate for students, you have been an incredible mentor and friend to many colleagues.

You received your Ph.D. from University of Wisconsin, Madison in 1979. In 1983, you joined Lafayette’s Department of Mathematics as an assistant professor, and you were tenured and promoted to the rank of associate professor in 1988.

Tom, throughout your career at Lafayette, you have been a versatile teacher who has effectively taught a wide array of courses for the mathematics curriculum, including ones in calculus, statistics, and mathematical modeling. In addition, you created and taught a popular and important course on the AIDS pandemic for Values and Science/Technology (VaST), a program you were instrumental in developing and coordinating for many years. As noted by former English professor Laura Dassow Walls, VaST co-director from 1997-2004, your “approach to running things was what [you] called ‘management by walking around’: Keep in touch by showing up. It works!”

In 2000, you received the Dr. James P. Crawford Award for devotion to quality education.

Over the years, Tom, your research interest was redirected from abstract algebra toward applied mathematics and mathematical biology. One of your first articles appeared in Journal of Algebra, and one of the most recent in Journal of Theoretical Biology, both among the highest-ranked journals in those fields.

In service to your department, Tom, you have made important contributions to the Barge Team Competition, the LVAIC mathematics competition exam, and to the Calculus Cavalry as a long-serving mentor. Throughout your tenure at the College, you have served on elected and appointed committees, including the Faculty Compensation Committee, Information Technology Advisory Committee, and College Writing Program Advisory Committee.

Your service to the College Writing Program has been significant and meaningful. Prof. Bianca Falbo, assistant director of the College Writing Program (CWP), wrote, “He’s done so much for the writing program over the years—he’s basically a CWP person disguised as a math professor.” Furthermore, you spent hours helping to get the CWP website up and running. Tom, you also put your love of numbers to good use by serving your community as a participant in the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program for several years.

Tom, your dedication to your students and your colleagues has been invaluable. One of your former students, Megan Rothenberger ’02, associate professor of biology, wrote, “He has just always been there when I needed his support … He is the best kind of Lafayette faculty member—passionate, inspiring, sometimes opinionated, challenging, but always sensitive and supportive. He is one of the reasons I wanted to come back home to Lafayette and be a professor myself.”

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