Dr. Mervin E. Newton, professor of mathematics, has been appointed interim dean of faculty at Thiel College, effective immediately.
Newton, who will now serve on the presidential cabinet, will work with Thiel College President and CEO Dr. Lance A. Masters and Thiel College Vice President for Academic Affairs and Chief Academic Officer Dr. Jeffrey Welsh.
As interim dean of the faculty, Newton’s duties will include all responsibilities associated with instruction, including development of the academic schedule and service on all instructionally-related committees, including Curriculum Study, Academic Standing, Promotion and Tenure, and Faculty Council.
In addition, he will serve as a leader in the recruitment, selection, and retention of full-time and adjunct faculty appointments.
Newton has been a member of the Thiel faculty for 36 years, serving about one third of that time as chairperson of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science. He has served on over a dozen different college committees during his tenure at Thiel.
He is widely recognized for and particularly proud of developing a calculator for the blind. In the late 1970s, Newton spent more than 300 hours programming a Hewlett-Packard 41C to perform statistical and scientific functions to enable blind students to have the same facilities in mathematics and statistics to complete their courses as their sighted counterparts.
The calculator Newton developed enabled blind students to “read” mathematical tables more easily than if they were in Braille.
Newton joined the faculty in 1970 as an assistant professor in mathematics and quickly rose to the rank of full professor. He earned his bachelor’s at Santa Clara University and his master’s and doctorate at University of New Mexico. A member of the Mathematical Association of America, Newton has published numerous articles and is currently in the process of publishing a math book.
He and his wife, Sara, reside in Greenville. He has one daughter, Marguerite, of San Jose, Calif., and three step-children, Arleene of Coral Springs, Fla.; Richard of Boston; and Gary of Palm Coast, Fla.