Two professors give 'last lectures' May 11

Two professors give 'last lectures' May 11

May 7, 2012
Contact: Maryville College Office of Communications

Two Maryville College professors will give their last lectures on Fri., May 11. Dr. Terry Bunde, professor of chemistry, will move his 8 a.m. organic chemistry class to the Harold and Jean Lambert Recital Hall of the Clayton Center for the Arts.

Later that day, at 1 p.m., Dr. John Nichols ’65, professor of mathematics and an MC alumnus, will take the recital hall stage to give his final lecture to students.

The public is invited to hear both lectures. Former students are particularly encouraged to attend.

Bunde’s last lecture is entitled “Connections,” and in the one-hour lecture, he said he plans to talk about the forces that brought him to Maryville in the spring of 1977, the professors who mentored him along the way and the legacy that he hopes he and professor emeritus Dr. Robert Naylor leave behind. (Naylor, who taught chemistry at the College for 26 years before being named academic dean, retired in 2008.)

Bunde is a three-time winner of the College’s Outstanding Teacher Award, and in 1989, was the first MC faculty member and the first from a private, liberal arts college to receive the Tennessee Professor of the Year Award from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE). He chaired the College’s Natural Sciences Division from 2001 until 2005 and has served on numerous committees at the College.

With 44 years of service, Nichols, the most senior member of the faculty, has entitled his talk “Reflections and Perspectives.” For his one-hour lecture, he plans to recount “some fun things, some activities, some sad things and other memories.”

He promises no “hard-core math” in the lecture but admits he may sneak in some history of mathematics.

In addition to chairing the College’s Mathematics and Computer Science Division from 1999 until 2010, Nichols served as the coordinator of academic computing and the College’s dual-degree in engineering. He has also conducted research and prepared reports regarding faculty compensation, which have been instrumental in improving salaries on the campus.

“Dr. Nichols is quick to say that what he has valued – and will miss the most – is teaching students. Many of us have learned from his patient explanations of mathematical concepts and from his wisdom on life in general,” said Dr. Jeff Bay, professor of statistics and chair of the College’s Math and Computer Science Division. “We are happy that his current students, former students, and colleagues have one last opportunity to listen to John spin stories and share wisdom while teaching some mathematics.”

A campaign is underway to raise $25,000 to rename the College’s mathematics computer lab in Nichols’ name and establish a technology fund that will ensure the Mathematics and Computer Science Division has the software and hardware necessary to meet its educational goals for students.

In an effort to honor the longtime music professor Dr. Larry Smithee, who is retiring at the end of this spring after 21 years on the faculty, a campaign is underway to raise money for instruments for the Division of Fine Arts.

The most-needed item is a five-octave marimba, which costs about $12,000. Other items include a four-valve tuba, symphonic chimes, a 32-inch gong with stand and a 3.5-octave xylophone. Accessories, such as barchimes and woodblocks are also needed.

To give, please contact Holly Jackson-Sullivan, vice president for advancement and community relations, at 865.273.8884 or

Earlier this year, former students, friends and others raised $28,000 to purchase a Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectrometer in honor of Bunde’s service. The chemistry professor said Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy was the last remaining analytical method needed in the College’s organic chemistry lab, which has seen upgrades in recent years.

Following Nichols’ lecture at 1 p.m., attendees will be invited to a reception recognizing all retirees: Bunde; Nichols; Dr. Larry Smithee, associate professor of music; Dr. Peggy Cowan, professor of religion and chair of the Humanities Division; and Alan Reihl, technical director in the theatre.

The retirement celebration will begin at 2 p.m. on the plaza of the Clayton Center and will continue until 3:30 p.m.

Maryville College is ideally situated in Maryville, Tenn., between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Knoxville, the state's third largest city. Founded in 1819, it is the 12th oldest institution of higher learning in the South and maintains an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA). Known for offering its students a rigorous and highly personal experience that includes an undergraduate research requirement, Maryville College is a nationally ranked institution of higher learning that successfully joins the liberal arts and professional preparation. Total enrollment for the fall 2016 semester is 1,197.