by Mary LeClair
“Walking to work is one of the better things about moving to a small community,” says Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science John Vaughn P’08 as he and his wife, Visual Arts Curator Kathryn Vaughn P’08, exit their Washington Street home and head for South Main Street.
The couple moved to Geneva from Chicago nearly 30 years ago after John earned his Ph.D. in mathematical logic from the University of Illinois at Chicago and landed a job in the mathematics department at Hobart and William Smith. Kathryn, who is a graduate of the University of Chicago and had been working at the Art Institute of Chicago, began working in the HWS art department a year later, after the birth of their daughter Jessica ’08. And every day since then they have walked to work, minus a few days when their daughter was in high school and they had to carpool, or on the days when the sidewalks are too icy. “Our neighbors tell us they look out their window when we go by to see what we are wearing to know what the weather is like,” says Kathryn.
The approximate three-mile roundtrip hike each day to John’s Lansing Hall office and Kathryn’s Houghton House office is, as John explains, a transitional period allowing them to “...leave work or home behind and get ready for the next place.” The couple has enjoyed the exercise, but more so the routine has allowed them to know their neighborhood. They greet students jogging past and wave to residents along the way as they stop by Opus, one of Geneva’s coffee shops, for a cup of tea. Their conversation mostly stays focused on their surroundings and rarely do they discuss work or home matters.
“Over the years we’ve watched as the landscape has changed; the windmills and smoke stacks that have popped up along the lake. We’re grateful for the renaissance that is going on in downtown Geneva, the revitalization of the historic row houses, and the many improvements that have occurred on South Main,” says Kathryn, noting that their favorite stop is near the benches on South Main overlooking the Bozzuto Boat House.
John Vaughn’s recent research involves embedded computing microcontrollers like those that are found in the iPhone or a Wii game controller. He recently authored The Microcontroller Recipe Book as well as a research paper with students called “Open Source Hardware Development” that will be published in the journal Circuit Cellar this spring. John’s next project will examine the Xbox Kinect and adaptations with robots. He has led programs abroad to Italy, England and Japan and volunteers with the HWS Prison Education Project teaching mathematics to inmates.
As the visual arts curator, Kathryn Vaughn is responsible for the Colleges’ art collection –The Collections of Hobart and William Smith Colleges –and oversees the operation of The Davis Gallery at Houghton House. Her recent exhibitions include “Double Vision: Woman as Image and Imagemaker” (2013) and “Domestic to International: Art from the Home of President Gearan” (2012). In collaboration with faculty, she is developing an educational outreach program to make the Colleges’ exhibitions of modern and contemporary art available to local high school students.