Indiana State University Newsroom

Classroom dedicated for retired math professor

May 4, 2015

Richard Easton retired from Indiana State University in 2006 after a 40-year teaching career, but his legacy will have an impact on students for many years to come.

The university has dedicated the Richard Jensen Easton Mathematics Education Classroom in recognition of a gift to the Indiana State University Foundation from Easton and his wife, Linda. The classroom is in Root Hall, where Jensen served as professor of mathematics and later as chair of the department of mathematics and computer science.

He also served on the Faculty Senate, including a term as chairperson. He represented Indiana State on the executive board of the Indiana Council of Teachers of Mathematics and served as chairperson of the department of mathematics and computer science at the University of Texas, Pan American in 1985-86.

"As most of you know, ISU has its roots as a normal school, a school dedicated to training teachers. This history is well ensconced in the fabric of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, where students are able to study mathematics education," said John Murray, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. "Mathematics education is and has always been a very strong program in the College of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Easton made an enormous, positive impact on this program while he was a faculty member and as chairperson of the department."

Current department chair Liz Brown, whom Easton hired in 2000 as an assistant professor in mathematics education, recalled that she had not completed her doctoral dissertation when she arrived at Indiana State and most members of her committee had either moved or were in the process of moving to other institutions.

"Dr. Easton's kindness and support made it possible for me to finish my Ph.D. and thrive at Indiana State University," Brown said. "Early in my career, I did not realize the value of outstanding leadership. I thought leadership was something people blathered on about, but was insubstantial and irrelevant. It is one of those things that you do not realize is there until you experience its lack. After Dr. Easton retired, I gained a profound understanding of the critical role that effective leadership plays in an organization.

"I cannot express how much it touched me when I received word that he was making this generous gift in support of mathematics education. Our department and our students will benefit from this gift for years to come. I am so pleased that I will be able to teach many of my students in this classroom and we will be reminded every day of Richard's legacy."

All three of Easton's children are graduates of Indiana State and Linda Easton earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in speech-language pathology at Indiana State as well as her director of exceptional needs license.

"With everything that Indiana State has done for me and my family, and for Linda, we decided one of the best things we could do is give a little bit back to Indiana State for all that they have done for us," Easton said. "I am really honored at the dedication of this classroom. It will mean a lot to me and my family for years to come."

Ron Carpenter president of the Indiana State University Foundation, thanked Easton for his past and future support.

"It is fitting that we recognize your philanthropic commitment as a part of a special group of donors who have shared their intention to support the University in the future through a gift from their estate. We are proud to honor you this afternoon. Thank you for your commitment to Indiana State and we welcome you into the 1865 Society."

Photo: - Richard Jensen Easton, professor emeritus of mathematics at Indiana State University, speaks during dedication of a classroom in his honor April 29, 2015 in Root Hall.

Photo: - This plaque recognizes the Richard Jensen Easton Mathematics Education Classroom at Indiana State University.

Media contact: Kim Kunz, communications director, Indiana State University Foundation,