Stewart Johnson, Math

Professor of Mathematics, Emeritus

You often tell students there’s no such thing as being “bad at math.” And then you prove it to them, showing them the optimal path through the material, often through hours of one-on-one advising. 

Of course, you are not half bad at math yourself, publishing widely-cited work on, among other topics, dynamical systems and optimal control, with implications for everything from chemotherapy to crocodile reproduction to climate modeling.

Your obvious love for your material and affection for your students add up to something special. As one colleague writes, “There are hundreds of students who have been able to succeed in the sciences and medicine only because of [his] support and guidance, and many more who have gone from fearing mathematics to loving it.”

But really, the numbers tell the story: almost 20 percent of Williams students declare a major in math and statistics. Your own department believes your work in Quantitative Studies is a major factor in that appeal.

One of those former students says, “I found I always wanted to start my Maths homework before work for my other classes.” 

We think that sums it up pretty well.

I hereby declare you Professor of Mathematics, Emeritus, entitled to all the rights, honors and privileges appertaining thereto.

June 2, 2024