A stellar teaching career spanning nearly 50 years was celebrated at the end of the fall semester with the retirement of Professor of Mathematics Dr. Michael W. Botsko who has been a member of the Saint Vincent College faculty since 1967 and served as chair of the Mathematics Department for four decades.
As professor emeritus, he plans to continue teaching one course each semester with a commitment for a Calculus I class in the spring and a Complex Variables class in the fall. “I am officially retiring from full-time teaching,” Botsko explained, “but I want to continue the classroom interaction with students which I have enjoyed so immensely.”
When Botsko was honored with the Bonifice Wimmer Faculty Award, he was described by his former students as “a distinguished teacher and scholar whose enthusiasm for mathematics has been contagious” and “the best mathematics teacher ever.”
He takes pride in the fact that an extraordinary number of Saint Vincent College alumni have gone on to doctoral study in mathematics and became mathematics teachers themselves or used their mathematics education in a related career.
And, while teaching was his first priority, he is most proud of his 58 professional publications on various topics in real analysis, particularly “An Elementary Proof of Lebesgue’s Differentiation Theorem” which was published in The American Mathematical Monthly and subsequently translated and published in a Chinese journal of mathematics. He also wrote a textbook, An Invitation to Real Analysis, which is the two-semester course that he has taught at SVC for the past ten years. He has also served as a referee numerous times for The American Mathematical Monthly, The Real Analysis Exchange and once for The Journal of Applied Analysis. Many international publications have cited his research.
When Botsko was awarded his Ph.D. in mathematics by the University of Pittsburgh in 1972, he had already been teaching at Saint Vincent for five years. He previously earned a bachelor of arts degree with honors and a master of science degree from Duquesne University.
Over the years he has taught numerous classes such as Calculus I, II and III, Differential Equations, Linear Algebra, Abstract Algebra, Combinatorial Analysis, Theoretical Physics, Complex Variables, Topology, Real Analysis I and II and Seminar in Functional Analysis. In addition, he taught a freshman seminar in Calculus I during the past 14 years.
He has witnessed change in terms of what technology has made possible. His classroom lectures now are enriched by the resources of the web where he posts study guides and test answers. What used to be static textbook images are now web page graphics that are animated to illustrate concepts such as limits, integrals and derivatives. He is an active user of Blackboard and the Computer Algebra System of Mathematica. But he still loves the traditional blackboards which are mounted on all four walls of a classroom named in his honor in the Sis and Herman Dupré Science Pavilion where he shares his knowledge step-by-step and makes sure that every student in the room understands.
As a faculty member, he was active on numerous committees including the Rank and Tenure Committee, College Teacher Committee, Ad Hoc Committee for Faculty Evaluation, the College Web Page Committee and others.
In addition to the Boniface Wimmer Faculty Award, he has been previously honored with a Student Government Award, C.A.S.E. nominee for teacher of the year, Allegheny Mountain Section of the Mathematical Association of America Teacher of the Year Award, Who’s Who in America and the Thoburn Excellence in Teaching Award. He is a member of the Mathematical Association of America.
He looks forward to spending more time with his wife, Donna, a former lecturer on the Saint Vincent faculty who retired in 2013, their daughter, Tanya Mooney, C’95, and her husband, Sheldon, and their granddaughters, Kaiya, 14, and Lyla, 5 months. He also hopes to enjoy leisure interests including ballroom dancing and target shooting.
Photo: Dr. Michael W. Botsko
Don Orlando, Director, Public Relations
Saint Vincent College, 300 Fraser Purchase Road, Latrobe, PA 15650-2690
Phone 724-805-2010, FAX 724-805-2019, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.stvincent.edu