|Swallow leaves to become Provost at Sewanee
April 09, 2012
Professor John Swallow is leaving the Davidson mathematics department to become a top administrator at Sewanee, the University of the South. He was recently named Provost after serving as acting Provost while on leave from Davidson. Swallow was a 1989 summa cum laude graduate of that institution with a double major in both mathematics and English literature.
He joined the Davidson faculty in 1994, and has taught in the Humanities program as well as the Mathematics department. Professor Swallow has been recognized for excellence in teaching, research and exposition while at Davidson and served the faculty in several positions, including Vice Chair pro tem of the Faculty, which is the highest elected faculty office.
The Provost at University of the South reports directly to President John McCardell, former president of Middlebury College, serving essentially as chief operating officer of the institution and handling academic and administrative matters such as budgeting, hiring, strategic planning and community affairs.
"It's a wonderful time to be at Sewanee," Swallow said. "There's a great deal of excitement about our new president, and about the prospect of charting an inspiring and appropriate course for the future."
Clark Ross, Davidson's Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty, said he was pleased for Swallow, and not surprised at his appointment. "John's strong skill set, honed with the breadth of his experiences here at Davidson, makes him a natural academic leader," said Ross. "We will sorely miss his contributions to the continued development of our strategic plan and his insights into all manner of faculty governance and curriculum development."
Swallow met his spouse, Cameron, in choir as fellow undergraduates at Sewanee, and he has maintained close ties to the institution. He served on its Board of Trustees for six years and on that group's executive body, the Board of Regents. His assignments on the Board of Trustees included work on the orientation and trustee development, university relations and admission committees. On the Board of Regents, he was secretary and chair of the audit committee.
He has been equally involved in important Davidson initiatives. During the college's strategic planning process, Swallow chaired a study group on the curriculum, and he served on implementation teams for study abroad, the first-year experience and interdisciplinary studies. He was also on teams concerned with student advising and campus events. In his last year at Davidson, Swallow worked on the curriculum revision that developed the first new vision of general education (distribution) requirements since 1987.
University of the South President McCardell said, "John Swallow comes to us with a wealth of experience not only in the classroom, but in administrative roles at Davidson. Along with his regular portfolio of provostial duties, John will lead a campus-wide strategic planning effort, an area in which he has special skills."
Swallow earned his master's and Ph.D. degrees at Yale University, where he wrote a thesis on Galois Theory. With the support of three grants from the National Science Foundation, he has authored or co-authored two dozen research articles, several with students, as well as an undergraduate text, Exploratory Galois Theory, and expository pieces for a variety of audiences. He has been a popular teacher at Davidson, and won the college's Omicron Delta Kappa Teaching Award in 2010.
The Mathematics Department at Davidson wishes all the best for Professor Swallow and his family in this new endeavor. He has been a tremendous credit to our department in fulfilling its mission with excellence.
This article was adapted from an original by Bill Giduz when Swallow was named acting Provost.
Davidson is a highly selective independent liberal arts college for 1,900 students located 20 minutes north of Charlotte in Davidson, N.C. Since its establishment in 1837 by Presbyterians, the college has graduated 23 Rhodes Scholars and is consistently regarded as one of the top liberal arts colleges in the country. Through The Davidson Trust, the college became the first liberal arts institution in the nation to replace loans with grants in all financial aid packages, giving all students the opportunity to graduate debt-free. Davidson competes in NCAA athletics at the Division I level, and a longstanding Honor Code is central to student life at the college.