The Ecstasy of MathematicsBy Scott Rudmann '93
I transferred to CMC as a sophomore, after a rather undistinguished start to my college education at a State Unviersity where I had flunked out after a year. An alum and former elementary school teacher of mine encouraged me to apply to CMC, and despite my reservations, I did (although he had to loan me the hundred bucks for the application fee). Of course my poor performance caused CMC to deny me admission, but the admissions office worked with me and told me what courses to take for a year at the other university, and gave me a GPA goal to achieve that would allow me entrance. I managed to get in, after a year of hard work.
Throughout my early years I was terrible at math, hated it, would not study it, and it was always my weakest subject. I got a full blown “F” in 1st year calculus at the preceding university, and was dreading the course at CMC. However, things were different. A small class, and an amazing math professor who was a former Baptist minister was teaching at CMC. This gentlemen got up in front of the class and was teaching about the “ectasy of mathematics”, urging us to consider ourselves back in time and pretend we were Greek and trying to undertand the movement of stars, water, motion, and logic, and showing how and why math related to the world and universe around us, how it was a useful art. The lights went on for me, and I managed an A in calculus and the best grade in a math course ever achieved in my life.
I went on at CMC to enter the PPE program, and study abroad at Oxford University. PPE taught me to read, to think critically, to communicate, to argue, and to enjoy the examined life.
Although CMC does not have a reputation for the arts, there was no shortage of opportunities to perform music, act in plays, and generally feed the other parts of the soul and mind. Many years later I helped set up the record label at the London Symphony Orchestra, and became the owner of one of the world’s leading electronic music labels.
20 years on I run a global hedge fund, based in London. The ectasy of mathematics indeed!