Michael Raney
News Story

Mathematics Professor Chosen for College Honors

The College Academic Council (CAC) solicited nominations for the annual College Honors, an award that is bestowed to a faculty member who has dedicated themselves to enriching the Georgetown experience for students. Though over 100 professors were nominated for the award, students submitted the greatest number of votes for Department of Mathematics professor Michael Raney.

About Raney

While the mathematician is involved in many projects on campus centered around his own research, Raney always makes time for his students. Anushka Desai (C’22) says that he goes above and beyond for her and her classmates, “whether it is scheduling office hours around our schedules or planning pie day festivities just because we asked.”

“He always thinks of his students first, genuinely cares that our voices are heard, and makes class entertaining — especially with his fascination of entomology,” Desai says. “But most importantly, Professor Raney has built a community amongst students and faculty within the Math department, and, for me as well as many others, this has helped us find a home at Georgetown.”

The community fostered by Raney has helped students like Jade Murphy (C’22) succeed in classes that they normally would have found overwhelming due to his approachability and friendly banter.

“Professor Raney is one of the best math teachers I have had in my entire academic career,” says Murphy. “The last class I took with him was multivariable calculus, which he made far less daunting with his clear and engaging lectures.”

In addition to creating an interesting learning environment, Raney fosters relationships with his students through mentorship. Samantha Dies (C’22) said that she could not imagine navigating Georgetown “without his guidance and jokes.”

“Since my first semester, I have found Professor Raney to be both a mentor and a friend,” says Dies. “In my opinion, no one is more deserving of the College Honors Award.”

Raney would normally have been honored at the 14th Annual Georgetown Honors Reception on March 30, 2020. However, due to COVID-19, the ceremony has been moved to a later date. The professor says that he is still “quite surprised and gratified to have received the 2020 College Academic Council Honors Teaching Award.”

“I am deeply appreciative of the opportunity I have as a non-tenure-line faculty member at Georgetown to interact with stellar students both in and out of the classroom,” says Raney. “The personal and pedagogical support my faculty colleagues provide is immensely gratifying as well.”

In previous years, honorees have included Dr. Joseph Hartman, Dr. Ruth Kramer, Dr. Heidi G. Elmendorf, Dr. Marcia Chatelain, and Dr. Erika B. Seamon. Raney joins their ranks as an integral part of the community who has helped enrich the Georgetown experience for so many students.

“Professor Raney is one of our most valued instructors, one who not only makes mathematics come alive for our students but also serves as a valued mentor to them,” says Chris Celenza, Dean of Georgetown College. “I am delighted that the CAC selected him for this meaningful award and am proud to call him a colleague.”

-by Shelby Roller (G’19)

Mathematics and Statistics