Established in 1999 by the estate of Paul Erling Hardy’37, the purpose of this endowed chair is “to enhance the understanding and appreciation of science among St. Olaf students.” A Minnesota native, Paul Hardy retired in 1969 after a career as a research chemist and petroleum engineer at the Exxon Corporation. Deeply committed to his alma mater, Dr. Hardy felt that St. Olaf represented well the values he most appreciated of free inquiry, free expression, and moral sensitivity. Chemistry professor Wesley Pearson ’54 was the first holder of this chair; he used it to help create an annual Science Symposium where St. Olaf students display the results of their research. Previous Hardy chairs include Ted Johnson (Biology), Anne Walter (Biology) and Charles E. Umbanhowar Jr. (Biology and Environmental Studies).
Matthew Richey is Professor of Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science at St. Olaf College. He joined the faculty in 1986 and has taught courses in pure and applied mathematics, computer science and statistics. At St. Olaf, Richey has served as department chair and is currently Associate Dean for Natural Sciences and Mathematics.
His areas of research are applied mathematics, mathematical computing, and Bayesian computational statistics. Richey has published 13 papers in journals such as American Mathematical Monthly, The American Statistician, Journal of Mathematical Physics, Nuclear Physics, and Journal of Statistical Physics. He has also supervised undergraduate research in a variety of areas including neural networks, statistical modeling, and the mathematics of baseball.
Since 2005 he has been a member of SciMathMN, coalition advocating for quality K-12 science, mathematics and technology education. Richey also has designed and implemented software for several industries, and the college’s student information system. Richey earned a Ph.D. in Mathematics from Dartmouth College .