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Dr. Cecil McDermott, 1935-2020

CecilMcDermott2.jpgCONWAY, 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 undergraduate research.

“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, visit