Retired Interlochen Arts Academy math faculty member, Jerry Murdock, passed away on March 20 after a courageous battle with pulmonary fibrosis. Jerry joined the Academy faculty in 1978 and retired in 2001. As a member of the math department, he was the first to introduce computers into the Interlochen classroom and continued to incorporate new technology, including graphing calculators, into the teaching of mathematics.
Jerry believed there were two kinds of people in the world, the ones that loved math and the ones that were going to learn to love math. He spent his forty years in the high school classroom encouraging students to share his enthusiasm for exploring, discovering and understanding the world with mathematics. At Interlochen he wove the study of mathematics into the study of art, music and nature. His classroom and home were filled with problem-solving games and puzzles; as well as reminders of his experiences around the world, and of the Northern Michigan woods and beaches that inspired his family and his creativity.
A Woodrow Wilson Foundation Functions 2 Team Teacher during the summers of 1989-1993, Jerry was selected to receive a Presidential Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Science and Mathematics. He received the Michigan Presidential Award for Teaching the same year. A National Science Foundation grant in 1991 allowed Jerry and two colleagues, Eric and Ellen Kamischke, to create the Graphing Calculator Enhanced Algebra Project. In 1998 they co-authored, Discovering Algebra II and in 2002, Discovering Algebra I. Jerry retired from the Academy in 2001. He continued his commitment to improving mathematics in the classroom by teaching math workshops nationally for Key Curriculum Press and the Teachers Teaching Technology program from 2001-2010.
There were many years at Interlochen when all the Murdocks - Jerry, Carol, Kate, Libby and Tom - were on campus and sporting their uniform blues together. A memorial service will be held at Central United Methodist Church in Traverse City, Michigan at 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 6.