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Ford Center for the Fine Arts

In Memoriam: Professor of Mathematics Dennis M. Schneider

Professor of Mathematics Dennis M. Schneider, whose impressive career spanned more than 50 years at Knox College, passed away on June 6, 2024. 

Schneider earned his Ph.D., master of science degree, and bachelor of science degree in mathematics from the University of Michigan, completing his doctoral studies in 1973 and starting at Knox later that year. His distinguished career at the College was marked by his dedication to mathematics education and innovative teaching approach. 

His broad teaching interests included calculus, linear algebra, vector calculus, differential equations, and complex analysis. Schneider also had a particular passion for integrating Mathematica, an advanced STEM computational software, into his calculus courses, enhancing the learning experience for his students through technology.

During the weekend of June 1, 2024, more than 30 alumni, colleagues, and friends gathered at a mini-conference on the Knox campus to celebrate Schneider’s distinguished career and lasting influence on his students. The caliber of its speakers and the respect and love shown for his career was a testament to his contributions to his field and the Knox community. Those who wish to hear these tributes can view recordings here.

“Professor Schneider leaves behind a legacy of academic excellence, pioneering teaching methods, and a profound impact on the Knox community,” Knox College President C. Andrew McGadney said. “His contributions will continue to inspire and guide future generations of mathematicians.”

Schneider’s contributions to mathematics education were recognized with several prestigious awards. He received the Caterpillar Foundation Faculty Achievement Award and was honored with the Award for Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics by the Illinois Section of the Mathematical Association of America. His scholarly work included the textbook Linear Algebra: A Concrete Introduction,  the Knox Packages, a collection of Mathematica programs for calculus and linear algebra, and the comprehensive textbook, Multivariable Calculus using Mathematica.

Throughout his tenure at Knox, Schneider actively contributed to the academic community. He served as chair of the math department three different times and was awarded four National Science Foundation grants for research in mathematics education and the development of Mathematica as a teaching tool. He also participated as a panel member for "Preparing for the Liberal Arts Job Market," sharing his insights on academic careers in liberal arts colleges. 

Schneider’s teaching methods were known to be intensive and thorough, setting high expectations for each student. His involvement in campus activities and dedication to student success made him a respected and beloved figure at Knox. 

Schneider’s work exemplifies the enduring power of dedication to education and the lasting influence of a passionate educator.

A loving father to his four sons, he will be sorely missed by Robert, Mark, and Jacob. His youngest son, Ben, tragically passed away a few months prior. Schneider is survived by brother Bruce, sister Linda Clarke, lifelong friend Jean Schneider, and grandchildren (Alyssa, Spencer, Sophia, and Luciano Schneider). He will be missed by many close friends and colleagues.

A public celebration of life and achievements for the community is currently being planned for a later date. 

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Printed on Monday, July 22, 2024