Fletcher Jones Foundation Awards USD $1 Million to Reimagine Math Learning Space

Fletcher Jones Foundation Awards USD $1 Million to Reimagine Math Learning Space

A $1 million grant from The Fletcher Jones Foundation will transform the Mathematics Department at the University of San Diego from its current space into a dynamic, state-of-the-art environment for student collaboration, faculty research, and community gathering.

The centerpiece of the redesign is a new math studio, serving as an incubator and promoter of a radical, physical experience in mathematics research, borrowing ideas from manufacturing, art studios and design thinking. Glass walls, open spaces, and easy navigation are part of the design, allowing fresh new pedagogical approaches and environments that can better reflect and advance mathematics for the 21st century.

“We are thrilled and grateful that The Fletcher Jones Foundation shares our vision to reimagine and engage students in mathematics,” said USD President James T. Harris. “The plan also aligns well with our Envisioning 2024 strategic goals of serving as an anchor institution, accelerating our outreach to K-12 teachers and students in the San Diego and Baja region, and promoting advanced research and scholarship across many disciplines.”

Because mathematics is the foundation for all developments in science and technology and impacts a wide range of fields from architecture and sociology to business and engineering, this award will impact every undergraduate at USD.

“Our goal with this re-design is to use space effectively and allow the beauty of mathematics to shine through unhindered,” said USD Fletcher Jones Endowed Chair in Applied Mathematics Satyan L. Devadoss.

“Through the glass walls of the math studio, students will see some seriously cool, playful investigations, and constructed models, illustrating what mathematics looks like when it’s embodied beyond a textbook or chalkboard. The work happening throughout our department will highlight mathematics as something that is exciting and alive, constantly being created and molded through experimentation.”

Construction on the re-design of the Mathematics Department in Serra Hall will begin when spring semester classes end in late May 2018 and it is scheduled to be completed in time for the fall semester in September.

“The College of Arts and Sciences is excited to see how Dr. Devadoss’ vision will lead to a new approach of understanding and doing math at USD,” said Dr. Noelle Norton, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “The Department of Mathematics is filled with committed faculty members and talented students, and with the help of The Fletcher Jones Foundation, the department will be able to create a more vibrant and engaging space to facilitate a new level of scholarship and learning.”

With this latest gift, The Fletcher Jones Foundation has given USD more than $5 million in recent years, including funds for the mathematics chair and the Donald P. Shiley Center for Science and Technology.

The Fletcher Jones Foundation, based in Pasadena, Calif., was endowed from the estate of Fletcher R. Jones, Co-Founder of Computer Sciences Corporation.  The primary mission of the Foundation is the support of private, independent nonprofit colleges and universities in California.

— Liz Harman 

Ryan T. Blystone contributed to this report. Video produced by USD’s College of Arts and Sciences.

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