Longtime Department of Mathematics faculty members and Plymouth residents Eldwin (Ed) and Marilyn Wixson have created the Ed and Marilyn Wixson Endowed Professorship of Mathematics to help mathematics faculty pursue scholarly activities.
The new professorship will celebrate and recognize faculty in the .Department of Mathematics who are exemplary models of teaching, scholarship and service, or who show strong promise to become such excellent faculty. The three-year professorship will give preference to faculty members at an early stage of their career who can thus advance their careers more quickly.
The idea for this new endowment was inspired by announcement of the first University endowed professorship last spring.
“Throughout my career, I’ve thought I’d like to do something for the faculty, and announcement of the Stevens-Bristow Endowed Professorship at President Steen’s investiture matched my concept,” Ed said. “I’ve heard young faculty express how difficult it is to balance the demands of teaching and the expectation for scholarship. It’s also very challenging financially. So we knew that our endowment would have slightly different criteria, in that it would focus on faculty who are early in their career.”
The Wixson Professor will receive an annual financial award for three years and will be expected to give an inaugural public lecture during the first year of their professorship.
Nominations will be made by a committee appointed by the President of Plymouth State University that will include the University provost, chair of the Department of Mathematics, and one other person from outside the department.
Ed co-chaired a recent fund drive for Speare Memorial Hospital and had the opportunity to work with a consultant on issues such as keeping donors interested and tailoring giving opportunities to match a donor’s personal interest.
According to Ed, he wasn’t always philanthropic, “but you can learn to be.” As he and Marilyn thought about creating an endowment, they thought about giving back. “If you reflect on your career, you see what a great place Plymouth State has been to work, and you say ‘let’s give something back,’ ” Marilyn said.
“You can’t help but be inspired by Plymouth State’s forward movement—not in just one direction but in so many areas: a thriving arts center, an expanded science center and library, one new residence hall and another one retrofitted; and our reputation for excellent programs,” Ed and Marilyn commented together as they ticked off their list of remarkable influences.
“I’m a product of publicly funded education,” Ed said. “That’s part of the giving back, too – not just to Plymouth State, but to education.”
Marilyn taught for 10 years at Holderness Central School and for 22 more at Plymouth State. “I always saw my students as young professional teachers in training, and I enjoyed forming relationships with them,” she said.
During his 40-year tenure at Plymouth State, Ed served 17 years as chair of the mathematics department, three years as associate dean for academic affairs and one year as interim dean of the college. He also served on numerous Plymouth State and University System of New Hampshire committees.
Both Wixsons have also been involved in many aspects of community service, from boards of directors to hospice volunteer. In 2006 Ed was named New Hampshire Hospital Trustee of the Year for his work at Speare Memorial Hospital in Plymouth.