Five Minutes with Ross Bohms ’71, Associate Professor of Mathematics

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Ross Bohms formally serves as associate professor of mathematics at The University of Olivet, in addition to giving his time to co-advise the Adelphic Alpha Pi fraternity and Alpha Eta Chapter of Sigma Zeta, a national honor society for mathematics, science and computer science majors. His motivation to serve the College in this way stems from his own positive experience as a student. Now, Professor Bohms strives to share his natural love of math with others through the strong job outlook for graduates and even some fun, mind-bending questions.

When and what brought you to OC, and why do you love OC?

As a high school senior, I was visited by OC admissions director, Owen Whitkopf, whose mother was a first cousin of my father. My father encouraged me to visit the campus. We made the visit, OC offered me an academic scholarship and I decided to enroll here. I made many friends here, joined a fraternity and met my wife at OC. I had excellent professors and enjoyed my time at OC. I still credit my decision to attend OC as a student to my current role as professor.

Where do your passions for teaching and math stem from?

I have always liked mathematics. My mother tells of watching me count things as a child, and I still count things in my daily life, such as the steps on a staircase. My parents were both teachers and the idea of teaching seemed natural to me. I still really enjoy certain math topics, some that are actually quite simple, yet surprising to many people. For example:

  • Which is larger, 0.999 … (continuing ad infinitum) or 1.0? Could they be equal?
  • Which set contains more numbers: all real numbers between zero and one, or all real numbers greater than 1? Could there be the same number in each set?

What is your teaching style like?

I try to be friendly and informal, encouraging students to ask questions as they arise. I try to be approachable and have some fun in class, even if some students roll their eyes at my attempts at humor.

Why do you encourage students to attend OC?

I think we have a caring and effective faculty and staff. Everyone here at Olivet has the best interests of our students in mind as they do their work. We realize we are nothing without students, and we do our best to provide a place where students can succeed. We strive to open doors leading to successful careers.

What do you look forward to in your role?

It is always exciting to start a new semester. It gives me a chance to repeat successes I’ve had and/or improve on things that I feel did not go as well as I had hoped. I enjoy meeting new students, and I enjoy observing the cycles of the academic year, including the return of students to campus, the progress of athletic teams and musical groups, and even the cycle of courses offered.

What advice do you share with students and alumni?

Students — make your classes and career preparation your first priority, but enjoy your time here by being active in positive pursuits. Alumni — return for events such as Homecoming to reconnect with your OC friends and continue to support your alma mater.

What is an interesting or little-known fact about yourself?

I taught driver education in Charlotte for 35 years and lived to tell about it. I was also in the college band as a student for four years, then as an alumnus for the following two years. As a faculty member, I joined the Wind Ensemble in my second year at OC and played in the group for eight years, so I may hold a record for number of years as a member of the college band.  However, we had faculty in the group when I was a student and at least one alumna is in this year’s band, so I may have competition for this distinction.

Check out The University of Olivet and the awesome mathematics program by scheduling a campus visit and/or applying. Contact the Office of Admissions at 800.456.7189 or admissions@uolivet.edu with questions.


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