The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Provost to leave college for American Mathematical Society

Provost+John+Meier+will+be+relocating+to+Providence%2C+Rhode+Island+for+his+new+role.+%28Photo+courtesy+of+Lafayette+Communications%29
Provost John Meier will be relocating to Providence, Rhode Island for his new role. (Photo courtesy of Lafayette Communications)

After originally stepping down as provost to return to teaching on campus, John Meier now plans to depart the college to take on the position of executive director at the American Mathematical Society.

Meier’s departure at the end of the academic year will conclude a 32-year tenure at Lafayette.

Meier was notified of his selection for the position in December. Despite the prestigious nature of the executive director role, the decision to consider the position was not an easy one, according to Meier.

“I never would have thought about applying,” Meier said. It wasn’t until late in the recruitment process that Meier began to seriously think about the position after being encouraged by others to strongly consider the opportunity.

“I wasn’t particularly interested … it wasn’t until the last stage … where I was like, ‘Okay, this might make some sense’,” Meier explained.

As executive director, Meier’s new responsibilities will include administering the policies of the society and representing it in its work with other scholarly institutions, according to the society’s website.

As the provost, Meier highlighted his creation of lecture tracks that are codified in the faculty handbook as one of his prouder accomplishments. However, what Meier will miss most about Lafayette is his time as a professor in the math department.

“I’ve always missed [teaching] while I was doing administrative work,” Meier said. “[I will miss] being in the classroom without a doubt.”

“[Meier] had extraordinary teaching scores and [an amazing] publication rate,” Cliff Reiter, professor of mathematics, said.”[He was] an extraordinary professor all around.”

Reiter also praised Meier for helping him in collaborating on the Research Experience for Undergraduates Program. One of Reiter’s fondest memories of Meier is their tradition of bringing summer research students on hiking adventures in the Adirondack Mountains.

“I’m kind of excited that he’s going to bring his energy back to mathematics at the national level,” Reiter said. “He’s a world-class mathematician and he’s going to help the mathematics community.”

In the summer, Meier will be moving to Providence, Rhode Island, where the American Mathematical Society’s headquarters is located.

The college’s search committee will continue its hunt for a new provost in the coming months, with candidates visiting campus in February and one set to be selected by March, according to the college’s Provost Search webpage. While Meier is not directly involved in the hiring process, he wants to ensure a smooth transition for the next provost. He emphasized that the next provost should stay focused on the college’s overall goals.

“The future provost is going to need to get involved in a whole lot of conversations with a whole lot of people, not all of whom are going to agree on the course the college ought to be taking,” Meier said, “[The provost] needs to have a robust sense of what are the concerns, what are the optimistic visions and how can we get some degree of alignment.”

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