Professor of Mathematics
October 5, 1996
Abigail M. Mosey was born September 8, 1914, in Geneva, New York. She graduated from St. Stephen’s Grammar School in 1928; De Sales High School in 1932; and Nazareth College in Rochester, N.Y., in 1936.
Miss Mosey taught at De Sales High School from January, 1937, to June, 1938. She served on the faculty of the Clifton Springs High School from September, 1938, to June, 1944, where she was “the Mathematics Department.”
In August, 1944, she received her M.A. in the Teaching of Mathematics from Syracuse University. At the end of August, Miss Mosey joined the Colleges as a replacement instructor under the Navy V-12 program. She held that position until the termination of the Navy program.
What started as a position in the V-12 program turned into a full-time teaching career at the Colleges. Described by Provost Walter Durfee as “one of the best teachers the department had in my 40 years of experience,” she advanced to assistant professor in 1954, associate professor in 1958, and full professor in 1979. Her special joys and skills were evident in the classroom and in tutoring students with special needs at the Developmental Learning Center. She regularly taught both freshman and upper-level courses, and was patient and precise with non-math majors as they struggled to learn the mysteries of higher-level mathematics.
She always sought experiences that would broaden her understanding of both teaching mathematics and the world at large. For example, she took a sabbatical in 1972 in order to attend the second International Congress on the Teaching of Mathematics at the University of Exeter, England. She also later toured England and the European continent twice. Miss Mosey shared these experiences with her students, where, as one former student wrote, “learning and life were fully integrated.”
In recommending her for full professorship, the department chair at the time wrote, “Miss Mosey’s specialty is the field of geometry, in which she is certainly the department expert. She has continually and successfully argued the importance of this field as an example of rigorous mathematical thought which is readily accessible to the undergraduate. Her devotion to teaching is defined in the broadest terms, extending well beyond the classroom to encompass a variety of departmental and community roles involving the guidance and instruction of students. Her service over the years as supervisor for mathematics in the secondary education program has been generous and very much appreciated by her students.” The head of the education department wrote that “her dedication to her teaching, her loyalty to the Colleges over these many years, and her concern for the well-being of each of her students are outstanding.”
Two events of May, 1978, express how Professor Mosey is regarded by faculty and students alike. During the commencement season, the faculty, as a whole, and the Class of 1978, as graduating seniors, each -- without consultation, and each on separate days -- presented an award for “outstanding teaching” to Abigail M. Mosey.
Professor Mosey retired slowly from her teaching responsibilities, starting in 1980 and ultimately concluding her time at the Colleges in 1991. In all, her career spanned 47 years during which time she touched generations of students with her enthusiasm, intellect, patience, and understanding.