The Secret lives of our Profs

Lauren Mimms

Assistant Professor of Mathematics Scott Corry has been at LU for two years, coming straight from graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania. His years as an undergrad at Reed College had a huge impact on him.
“That’s when I fell in love with the liberal arts,” he said. He came to Lawrence partially because of our freshman studies program, because he loves the humanities as well as mathematics, so “it’s great to regularly be able to explore other fields of interest.” This was his first year of teaching freshman studies and he hopes to continue to teach it.
Corry knew he wanted to teach before he discovered his interest in mathematics. “I didn’t realize that one could be a mathematician,” he said. He began college interested in a wide variety of subjects, from English to philosophy to physics. Though he always thought he would be physics major, he took a class in his sophomore year that changed his thinking. “I took linear algebra, which was my first really serious math class. That’s when I realized that math was the thing I enjoyed most in physics. I didn’t like tinkering around in a lab,” he said.
Although Corry did plan to pursue mathematics, he did not lose appreciation for other areas of interest. He is generally excited about all academics, and keeps up with physics, the humanities and music. He grew up surrounded by books and with widely read parents. His favorite book, “hands down, is Marcel Proust’s ‘Remembrance of Things Past.'” It was always central in his parent’s book collection where he grew up in St. Louis, MO “After the first time I read it in-between high school and college, I vzowed I would read it again every five years for the rest of my life. Now I’m overdue,” he said.
Corry is also very musically inclined. He played piano as a child, but quit when he was 12 to learn the electric guitar. His mother said yes, with a caveat: He had to take a year of classical guitar first. Corry fell in love with classical guitar because of a fantastic teacher and continued to play throughout high school. However, Corry hasn’t played much since.
“I didn’t want to give up academics and go to a conservatory, but if I had known about a place like Lawrence where I could do both when I applied to college, I would have been very attracted to it,” he said. Corry still dreams of, sometime down the road, picking up another guitar and making music again.
In most of his spare time, Corry chases around his 3-year-old son. He and his wife have goals to expand their garden and take part in outdoor sports like biking and cross-country skiing. Though he rarely watches movies, Corry enjoys television dramas including “The Sopranos,” “The Wire,” and “Lost.”
His favorite thing about being a professor is “continuing to learn and explore subjects and interact with young people that inspire [him] to see old problems with new eyes.” Professor Corry’s interests in a wide array of academic disciplines make him a perfect fit in a liberal arts institution like Lawrence University.