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WARRENSBURG, MO (Sept. 17, 2013) – The University of Central Missouri honored the legacy and generosity of Sherralyn Craven, professor emerita of mathematics, with the dedication of the Dr. Sherralyn Craven Mathematics Commons Wednesday afternoon, Sept. 11, in the W.C. Morris Science Building.

Craven and her husband, Harold, cut the ribbon to the newly renovated student computer laboratory and study area in the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science. The renovation was funded with a gift to the UCM Foundation by the Cravens, which also included funding for the long-term maintenance of the commons.

An alumna of UCM, Craven retired from UCM in 1991 after a 33-year career teaching in the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, during which she developed UCM’s actuarial science program. Recognizing the need for a space where students can work in a collaborative environment, the Cravens stepped forward with the financial support for the renovation of the former computer lab in W.C. Morris 220. The new facility will provide a setting with upgraded furnishings and technology that is much more conducive to interactive group study with state-of-the-art technology.

In addition to her dedication as a UCM faculty member, Craven also was a longtime advisor to the UCM chapter of Alpha Gamma Delta sorority, and she has been an active member of the Alpha Gamma Delta alumnae. In 1991 she was recognized with the Greek Faculty Award for her contributions to UCM’s Greek system, and in 1993 she was named a Distinguished Citizen in science by Alpha Gamma Delta’s national membership.

“We are here today because of the Cravens’ understanding of what it means to be involved in the campus and the community,” said UCM President Chuck Ambrose. “Future students will continue to be attracted to UCM’s major in actuarial science because of the Cravens’ dedication and willingness to make an investment in the future. Dr. Craven planted a seed when she developed the program, and she has continued to water and nurture it as it has grown into an incredible product.”

Deborah Curtis, provost and chief learning officer, noted that Cravens’ generosity to UCM has spanned decades, including several scholarships through the UCM Foundation.

“Dr. Craven’s impact on her students and the university is well known,” she added. “When her proposal for the actuarial science program at UCM was accepted by the Missouri Coordinating Board for Higher Education, it was the first new program to be approved in five years. The Cravens’ continued support of the actuarial science program through scholarships has enabled to attend UCM students to enter what was recognized in 2000 at the only program of its kind in Missouri and Kansas. On behalf of our students and faculty, we thank you, Dr. Craven, for creating a learning space that will benefit students and faculty for years to come.”

Members of the planning committee for the new commons included UCM student Amber Boggs, who provided the interior design, and Jake Roach, graduate student and adjunct faculty member, who gathered student input on the design of the facility. Additional members of the planning committee were mathematics faculty and staff Becky White, Dale Bachman, Curtis Cooper, Xiaondong Yue, Jinhua Tao and Nick Baeth; Larry Ray, manager of capital development; and Ed Cary and the UCM Projects Shop.

To learn more about UCM’s Department of Mathematics and Computer Science and the actuarial science program, visit ucmo.edu/math-cs.

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