CONWAY, Ark. (May 20, 2020) – The Hendrix
community is saddened by the May 17 death of Dr. Cecil McDermott, who served as
a faculty member in the Department of Mathematics from 1967 to 1985.
Dr. David Sutherland ’81, associate provost for
academic affairs and professor of mathematics, credits McDermott’s work with helping
to transform the mathematics department into one that began to focus on
“It took many years for the changes to become
part of the fiber of the department, but the faculty hires during his tenure
moved the process forward,” Sutherland said, adding that by the late 1970s,
mathematics students from Hendrix had begun making research presentations
around the region and publishing papers in mathematics periodicals such as the Journal
of Undergraduate Mathematics and the Pi Mu Epsilon Journal.
In the 1980s, McDermott changed his focus to
the use of computers in mathematics education and transitioned from Hendrix to
the State Department of Education.
“Personally, Dr. McDermott was one of my many
mentors at Hendrix. While other natural science faculty taught me the science
of mathematics, Dr. McDermott taught me the art of mathematics,” Sutherland
said. “I am forever grateful to him for that.”
In addition to his formative role in the
direction of mathematics education at Hendrix, McDermott was active with
Warrior Athletics. He spent 11 years as the College’s representative to the
Arkansas Intercollegiate Conference (AIC), serving as AIC president in 1980.
During his tenure with the AIC, he authored major legislation, including for the
establishment of a women’s division. He also served as the AIC Faculty
Representative from 1974-85 and on the AIC Executive Committee from 1978-81. He
also directed the Arkansas AAU Distance Running Program for three years where
he supervised AAU Course Certification, including the Arkansas AAU Marathon. He
helped develop and maintain the Hendrix basketball record book and was a
founding board member of the Hendrix College Sports Hall of Honor, to which he
was inducted in 2000.
Memorial gifts may be made to
the Dr. Cecil McDermott Scholarship Fund at Hendrix College.
About Hendrix College
A private liberal arts college in Conway, Arkansas, Hendrix
College consistently earns recognition as one of the country’s leading liberal
arts institutions, and is featured in Colleges That Change Lives: 40
Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About Colleges. Its academic
quality and rigor, innovation, and value have established Hendrix as a fixture
in numerous college guides, lists, and rankings. Founded in 1876, Hendrix has
been affiliated with the United Methodist Church since 1884. To learn more,