The Mathematics and Computer Science Department confers several annual and occasional awards.

Graduation with Honors in Mathematics or Honors in Computer Science is awarded to students who complete a rigorous curriculum with high standards and produce a significant honors thesis.

Annually, the department awards (listed below) the McGavock Award to a particularly outstanding senior major, and the Vinson Award to a particularly promising sophomore in mathematics. The Jackson Award includes a partial scholarship and is given biannually to a rising junior mathematics major.

Honors In Mathematics & Honors In Computer Science

The Department of Mathematics and Computer Science grants honors to graduating students with outstanding records of accomplishment in mathematics or computer science, as demonstrated in three areas:

  • breadth of curriculum, 
  • quality of academic performance, and 
  • significance of scholarly project.

Students should read the department's honors document (PDF) that explains the process to become an honors candidate. Candidates must:

  • complete a specified selection of courses,
  • attain a minimum overall GPA of 3.2, as well as a GPA of at least 3.5 on all courses that either fulfill a major requirement, or a course requirement for honors, and
  • undertake advanced work, supervised by a faculty member, culminating in a thesis successfully defended before a departmental committee.

Additionally, the department may choose to confer high honors upon a candidate who displays unusual independence and initiative, develops original results, and clearly and rigorously communicates these via a high-quality thesis and oral defense.

Honors Recipients & Thesis Titles

Those previously awarded Honors are listed below with name, thesis title, and year, *indicates High Honors was awarded. Theses may usually be found in the college library or departmental collection.

  • Williams, Niall, Estimation and Comparison of Rotation Gain Thresholds for Redirected Walking, 2019*
  • Williams, Savannah, Zero Forcing Polynomials: Mapping Spiders to Paths, 2019*
  • Tenpas, Nathaniel, Additive 3–Choosability of Planar Graphs, 2018*
  • Chu, Jairui, Random Visibility in Unit Bars, 2017*
  • Xue, Chenxiao, Learning a Branching Heuristic for SAT Solving, 2016*
  • Jai, Kai, Matchings in Lex and Colex Graphs, 2016
  • Reith, Thomas, Motif-based Clustering of Directed Networks, 2015*
  • Williams, Ty, An Introduction to the Ideal Class Group, and a Comparison of Bounds on its Size, 2015
  • Yan, Fangning (Richard), Expected peak sidelobe level of random sequences, 2015
  • Mohorn, Matt, An Introduction to Graph Pebbling, 2014
  • Bernstein, Daniel, Algorithmic Definitions of Singular Functions, 2013
  • Poff, Corey, Pathology in Upper Confidence Bounds Applied to Trees, 2013*
  • Thomson, Colin, A Hierarchy of Chaotic Topological Dynamics, 2013
  • Yang, Chang (Kyle), The Bordeaux 3-color Conjecture and Near Coloring, 2013*
  • Larson, Karen, Unwapping Rap: Classification of Drum Patterns in Rap Songs, 2012
  • Altman, Ben, Higher-Order Automatic Differentiation of Multivariate Functions in MATLAB, 2010
  • Oberst, Sarah, A Mathematical Model of Malaria, 2010
  • Daves, Rosa Katie, Skyline Augmented Fillings, 2008
  • Topaz, Adam, On the Galois Module Structure of Square Classes of Maximal Elementary Abelian 2-Extensions, 2008*
  • Compeau, Phillip E.C. III, Cycles in Pancake Graphs, 2008*
  • Dovidio, Nicholas A., Analysis and Applications of PageRank, HITS, the Vector Space Model, SALSA and Rank Correlation Techniques, 2007
  • Helms, John A., An Adventure into Applied Abstract Algebra: Exploring the Rubik's Cube, 2007
  • Cain, Nicholas, CMMI: Committee Machine Motif Identification using Artificial Neural Networks, 2006
  • Chemotti, Frank, Galois module structure for square classes of units in Klein 4-group extensions, 2005
  • McLean, Rob, Curves of constant geodesic curvature in the hyperbolic plane, 2003*
  • Schultz, Andrew C., Galois module structure of Kx / Kxp for K / F cyclic of degree pn, 2002*
  • Smith (Dunsmuir), Amy M., Basins of roots and periodicity in Newton's method for cubic polynomials, 2000
  • More' (Grant), Maria M., Two gems of complex analysis: the Riemann mapping theorem and the uniformization theorem, 1997
  • Young, Scott W., Methods for calculating Taylor polynomials easily and efficiently, 1997
  • Onkey, Richard, On the edge-transitivity of circulant graphs, 1996
  • Mubayi, Dhruv, Algorithms for Degree Sequences of Graphs and Score Sequences of Partially Oriented Graphs, 1995*
  • DeSilva, Harin, Mathematical models in inventory theory, 1992
  • Alyea, David, Queueing theory, 1988
  • Simpson, L. Taylor, Concepts of compiler construction, 1986
  • VanDeventer, Hank, Catastrophe theory for beginners, 1985
  • Morrisett (Clark), Julia L. Octads, 1985
  • Spangler, Thomas C., Some geometry and topology of geometric surfaces, 1980*
  • Wong, Fai,  Statistics: an overview, 1979
  • Gaynor, J.W., The theory of games, 1978

The Senior Computer Science Awards

The Senior Computer Science Award is given to that member of the senior class who has demonstrated the greatest promise and accomplishment in computer science during his or her Davidson career. The award is given by the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science annually, when it feels that there are qualified candidates.  This award is sponsored by the Bernard Society of Mathematics.

Senior Computer Science Award Recipients

  • 2019 Niall L. Williams
  • 2018 Andrew S. Becker
  • 2018 Haoze (Andrew) Wu

The Sophomore Computer Science Award

The Sophomore Computer Science Award recognizes unusual mastery of the field of computer science exhibited through the sophomore year, and for significant promise for further study. This award is sponsored by the Bernard Society of Mathematics.

Sophomore Computer Science Award History

  • 2018 Roxana G. Hayne

The William G. McGavock Award

The William Gillespie McGavock Mathematics Award is given to that member of the senior class who has demonstrated the greatest promise and accomplishment in mathematics during his or her Davidson career. The award is given by the Mathematics Department annually, when it feels that there are qualified candidates.

Honored by the award is Professor William Gillespie McGavock, greatly loved professor of mathematics, whose tenure on the faculty at Davidson College ranged over the period 1934 to 1975. The award is intended to reflect Professor McGavock's deep and genuine interest in the mathematical abilities and accomplishments of his students. It recognizes as well Professor McGavock's devotion to Davidson College and the superior quality of his contribution to the development of mathematical studies here.

McGavock Award History

  • 2019 Savannah E. Williams
  • 2018 Erica N. Shook
  • 2018 Nathan J. Tenpas
  • 2017 Jairui Chu
  • 2016 Chenxiao Xue
  • 2016 Courtney S. Cochrane
  • 2015 Samuel T. Castle
  • 2014 Derek J. Marsh
  • 2013 Daniel I. Bernstein
  • 2012 Karen R. Larson
  • 2011 Daniel A. Martin
  • 2010 Benjamin B. Altman
  • 2009 James O. Dixon
  • 2008 Phillip E.C. Compeau III and Adam Topaz
  • 2007 Timothy D. Rankin
  • 2006 Lesley R. Attkisson
  • 2005 Frank A. Chemotti
  • 2004 Alexander B. Sibley
  • 2003 Robert A. McLean
  • 2002 Andrew C. Schultz
  • 2001 Randall R. Skattum
  • 2000 Margaret A. Latterner
  • 1999 Jennifer A. Kazmarek
  • 1998 Dominick J. Talvacchio
  • 1997 Maria Michela Moré
  • 1996 Richard H. Onkey
  • 1995 Dhruv Mubayi
  • 1994 Andrew John Haile & Erin Elizabeth Lang
  • 1993 Harin Ananda DeSilva
  • 1992 Erik S. Moledor
  • 1991 Mark A. Pospesel
  • 1990 Mathijs H. Brentjens
  • 1989 Thomas R. Whipple
  • 1988 David H. Alyea
  • 1987 Michael A. McDonald
  • 1986 G. Griffith Elder, Jr.
  • 1985 Julia Lynn Morrisett & Hendrick W. Van Deventer
  • 1984 Eric E. Fink & Hunter K. Monroe
  • 1983 Laura G. Singleton
  • 1982 Mark B. Phillips
  • 1980 Thomas C. Spangler
  • 1979 Fai Wong
  • 1978 T.C. Pinckney
  • 1977 Cory W. Young
  • 1976 Mark A. Postove

The William D. Vinson Award

The William D. Vinson Mathematics Award is given to a rising junior and recognizes unusual mastery of the field and significant promise for further study.

The award was established by the Vinson family in memory of William Daniel Vinson, LL.D., who was Professor of Mathematics at Davidson from 1883 until 1897.

Vinson Award History

  • 2018 Man (Max) Li
  • 2017 Arthur Chen
  • 2016 Nathan J. Tenpas
  • 2015 Erica N. Shook
  • 2014 Chenxiao (Simon) Xue
  • 2013 Fangning (Richard) Yan
  • 2012 Christopher J. Gorman
  • 2011 Chang (Kyle) Yang
  • 2010 Paul P. Britton
  • 2009 Mali Zhang
  • 2008 Benjamin B. Altman
  • 2007 Kent C. Ford
  • 2006 Daniel D. Orr
  • 2005 Mary E. Hobart
  • 2004 Garrett M. Monda
  • 2003 Frank A. Chemotti
  • 2002 Martin G. Turner
  • 2001 Adriel W. Cornman
  • 2000 William L. Herring
  • 1999 Sam Steinmann
  • 1998 Sandra Joan Bishop
  • 1997 Emily Anne Katzfey
  • 1996 Dominick J. Talvacchio & Yang You
  • 1995 Chloe Ingrid Bracis
  • 1994 Richard Hugh Onkey
  • 1993 Dhruv Mubayi
  • 1992 Erin Elizabeth Lang
  • 1991 Harin Ananda DeSilva
  • 1990 Alice Catherine Hicks
  • 1989 Suresh Kumar Acharya
  • 1988 Douglas Alan Hicks
  • 1987 Anne Elizabeth Bryson

The R. Bruce Jackson Jr. Award

The R. Bruce Jackson, Jr., Mathematics Award is given to a rising junior mathematics major who has demonstrated great promise in mathematics and its application. The award is given by the Mathematics Department once every two years when it determines that there are qualified candidates.

This award honors R. Bruce Jackson, Jr., long-time member of the Mathematics Department (1956-95) and chair (1978-83). He led a strengthening of the curriculum in probability and statistics, reflecting his interest in applicable mathematics in the liberal arts setting. The award recognizes Prof. Jackson's leadership in College matters and his legendary devotion to students, from beginners to majors.

Jackson Award History

  • 2018 Chuhan (Lawrence) Guo
  • 2016 Haoze (Andrew) Wu
  • 2014 Courtney S. Cochrane
  • 2012 Phillip D. Wall
  • 2010 Shashank Suresh
  • 2008 Benjamin B. Altman
  • 2006 Phillip E.C. Compeau III