Outstanding Service

SPRING15outstanding-service

Walking into the office of Professor David Stone, Ph.D., is like walking through a museum of Georgia Southern history.

The math professor is known for saving absolutely everything over the course of his 47-year career with Georgia Southern, and his office truly captures every significant moment he’s had at the University. Pictures are everywhere—on the walls and his desk. Papers are stacked all around the office in knee-high piles. An old graduation cap and gown rest over the side of a chair. All the items have a special meaning to the professor, and his stories about each of them are captivating.

Stone came to Statesboro in 1968. He had recently graduated with his doctorate from the University of South Carolina and was looking for a career opportunity. When he stepped off the plane in historic, sunny Savannah, he quickly said, “Where’s the dotted line? I’m ready to sign.”

Stone says his arrival in Statesboro coincided with a “tumultuous time for the country.” It was the year Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy were assassinated, North Korea captured the USS Pueblo and North Vietnam launched the Tet Offensive against the United States and South Vietnam. At that time, Georgia Southern had barely 5,000 students, no football team and John Olin Eidson was the college president. Allen E. Paulson stadium was just an old pecan orchard and when boosters bought the field to build the stadium, Stone recalls driving out with his buddies to snag firewood from the field. “The ‘Boro was quite a different world back then,” he said.

The professor says he is pretty old-fashioned in how he teaches, but he notes that technology has brought about many changes in the classroom. “I’ll bring up a question in class and someone will Google it on their smartphone, and every kid’s got a graphing calculator,” Stone said. “It’s really changed the way you think about what goes on in a math class.”

Stone admits he absolutely loves the students and says that earning the title of “Professor of the Year” in 2001 is one of his most valued accomplishments because the recognition came from students. The trophy he earned from playing intramural racquetball with math Professor Malcolm Smith—the “highlight of [his] athletic career”—is a close second, though.

Stone has earned many awards, including the Mathematical Association of America Meritorious Service Award, the Georgia Southern University College of Science and Technology Teaching Award and the Georgia Southern Award for Excellence in Contributions to Instruction.

Stone retired in 2008, and then came back to teach math part time. He calls it the “Retired, Rehired” program.

These days, the professor emeritus enjoys working out at the Recreation Activity Center three times a week, and spending time with his wife, three daughters and five grandkids. He most looks forward to relaxing at his condo in Hilton Head, South Carolina, when he retires for good. When will that day come? “I’m winging it, but I figure 50 years is the cap. I don’t think this office will hold much more stuff.” – Aubrey Trevathan

Comments are closed.