Auburn University names first Rosemary Kopel Brown Eminent Scholars Chair in Mathematics

Published: August 13, 2019
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Auburn University’s College of Sciences and Mathematics has selected Henry “Hal” Schenck as the recipient of the first Rosemary Kopel Brown Eminent Scholars Chair in Mathematics.

Schenck, who will assume his new role in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics in Auburn this fall, currently serves as professor and chair of the Mathematics Department at Iowa State University. In addition to receiving a Provost’s Office award for Outstanding Departmental Leadership at Iowa State, Schenck earned the Wilber Layton Faculty Award for his development of extra math support for student veterans.

“Dr. Schenck has a proven record of excellence in the key areas that comprise Auburn’s land-grant mission,” said Nick Giordano, dean of the College of Sciences and Mathematics. “His reputation for research in foundational mathematics, demonstrated level of exceptional instruction and strong commitment to students and service will help us advance our mathematics program, recruit and engage other exceptional faculty and inspire graduate and undergraduate students.”

The Rosemary Kopel Brown Eminent Scholars Chair was created through a $2 million endowment given by John and Rosemary Brown, both 1957 Auburn graduates, as part of a $57 million gift to Auburn, the largest in university history. The Browns made their historic gift in support of Because This is Auburn — A Campaign for Auburn University.

“John and I are so pleased with the selection of Dr. Schenck as the first recipient of the eminent scholars chair in mathematics,” said Rosemary Brown. “He is exactly the type of professor we envisioned for this role — one whose passion, knowledge and accomplishments will inspire Auburn students, encouraging them to develop an even greater appreciation for mathematics and a lifelong love of learning.”

Schenck earned a bachelor’s degree in applied mathematics and computer science at Carnegie Mellon University, served four years as an Army officer and then received a doctoral degree from Cornell University in 1997. He completed postdoctoral work at Cornell, Harvard and Northeastern universities and previously served as a mathematics professor at the University of Illinois and Texas A&M University.

“We live in a time of rapid change and Auburn is well positioned to provide our students with the skill set to compete and win on a global playing field,” Schenck said. “Mathematics has a key role to play and I look forward to preparing Auburn students to meet these challenges through the development of analytical and quantitative skills.”

Schenck is the author of two books and more than fifty research papers, mainly in the field of algebraic geometry and applications to coding theory, approximation theory and topological data analysis. He also is the managing editor of Advances in Applied Mathematics and serves on several other editorial boards.

“I'm excited to join the Auburn team and am especially grateful to John and Rosemary Brown for making this possible and for their wonderful support of Auburn,” Schenck added.

Schenck and his wife, Dr. Maureen McMichael, who is joining the faculty of Auburn’s College of Veterinary Medicine, have three children — Alex, Michael and Elizabeth.

Auburn University is a nationally ranked land grant institution recognized for its commitment to world-class scholarship, interdisciplinary research with an elite, top-tier Carnegie R1 classification and an undergraduate education experience second to none. Auburn is home to more than 30,000 students, and its faculty and research partners collaborate to develop and deliver meaningful scholarship, science and technology-based advancements that meet pressing regional, national and global needs. Auburn's commitment to active student engagement, professional success and public/private partnership drives a growing reputation for outreach and extension that delivers broad economic, health and societal impact. Auburn's mission to educate, discover and collaborate drives its expanding impact on the world.