UM math professor retires after distinguished 2-decade career

Published 10:19 am Tuesday, December 11, 2018

One of the University of Mississippi’s longtime math professors is retiring after a career that saw him assist on nearly every level at a university that expelled him.

Dr. Donald Cole, who has a Ph.D in mathematics from UM and was expelled in 1970 after being arrested while taking part in a protest, will retire on January 15 after being with the university since 1993, according to a release.

Along with being a mathematics professor, Cole is also credited with being an administrator, program director, grant writer and mentor at UM.

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“I’ll be coming up on weekends and looking around, so the building part I can do something about,” Cole said in a release. “Some of the people I’ll naturally run into in the community. But I’m going to miss a lot of aspects because I put my life off into it.”

Cole originally began at UM as an undergraduate student in 1968. After being expelled in 1970, he went on to earn his Bachelor’s Degree from Tougaloo College.

Cole then earned master’s degrees in mathematics from the State University of New York and the University of Michigan, before receiving his Ph.D in mathematics from UM in 1985.

He began working at UM as assistant dean in the Graduate School and associate professor of mathematics in 1993, after working as a mathematics professor at Florida A&M.

“Dr. Cole’s voice is one that people listen to because he’s fair to all people,” Demetria Hereford, associate director of the Ronald E. McNair Program, said in the release. “People respect and appreciate fairness and compromise, thus gravitate towards him.”

In 1995, Cole assumed the title of administrator after being named assistant to the chancellor for multicultural affairs by then-chancellor Robert Khayat.

According to a release, a retirement reception will be held for Cole from 3 to 5 p.m. on Dec. 12 in the Gertrude C. Ford Ballroom at The Inn at Ole Miss.