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Letter from the Chair

Academic year 2020-21 is the 146th year in our department’s existence. During our long history, countless numbers of students and faculty have helped build the reputation we enjoy today. I am proud to say that our current students and faculty are following in the footsteps of this great tradition. They continue on a path of excellence in innumerable ways. It is an honor and a true joy for me to be the chair of this ambitious department as it continues to thrive.

Concerning the department’s research activities, we are at the forefront of many advances in both classical and emerging areas of mathematics, and, in fact, we are a recognized leader in a number of these areas. Naturally, behind the many successes of the department are our first-rate faculty and talented students. The department’s sizeable postdoc program also contributes significantly to the dynamic and stimulating research atmosphere. Each year our faculty organize an impressive variety of seminars, colloquia, workshops, and conferences. In short, the department’s heartbeat is spirited and full of enthusiasm.

On the teaching and education front, we are one of the largest departments at Vanderbilt when it comes to undergraduate enrollments and also the number of majors graduating each year. Our students enjoy a wide range of courses, and our classes are small enough for undergraduate and graduate students to receive individual attention from faculty. Our average class size is about 26 students. For our intermediate and upper level courses, this number is even lower.

We are also proud of our past undergraduate and graduate students and postdocs, who continue to be successful in their new careers. Many of them are contributing to our mission, both monetarily and in other ways. On behalf of the department, I thank them all sincerely for their support. Our gratitude also goes to everyone else who has donated funds in the past to the department. These resources continue to enrich the experience of our students and enhance our academic mission in many other ways.

I am happy to say that Vanderbilt’s Department of Mathematics is truly an exciting place to study and to conduct research. I invite you to share in this excitement, at least virtually, by browsing our website and learning more about our history, our people, and the plethora of activities they organize, be they related to research, teaching, or service to the profession and the community at large.

If you have any thoughts you would like to share with us, please do not hesitate to reach out to me or one of our other department administrators or colleagues.


Mike Neamtu
Professor of Mathematics and Department Chair
(615) 322-4168