Judy and John McInerney both arrived in the early 1970s to teach math at Sandhills Community College and recently they both retired. In between was more than 40 years of teaching, of changing lives, of sharing their love of math and learning.
“So many students were afraid of math so I loved showing them how math can be understood,” says Mrs. McInerney, who admits she spent as much time working with students during office hours as she did in the classrooms. “Teaching here enabled me to make a difference in lives.”
The couple had both earned their master’s degree in math at UNC-Chapel Hill. Mr. McInerney accepted a position at Sandhills right away and two years later his new bride moved to Southern Pines and joined the faculty.
The McInerneys’ students have been a diverse group. “We’ve taught students ranging from those taking developmental math classes to those who needed a strong math background to earn a four-year degree in engineering,” reports Mr. McInerney, whose classes included Calculus III.
“I always told students they could go on to earn the same four-year degree as others but their first two years were at a bargain price,” Mrs. McInerney points out.
When the couple started teaching, there were just three buildings on campus. They’ve enjoyed watching Sandhills grow. “We were lucky to have just two presidents at Sandhills: Dr. Raymond Stone and Dr. John Dempsey,” points out Mr. McInerney. “These two have different styles but both are excellent leaders.”
Did the McInerneys enjoy being on the same faculty? “We always got the same vacation,” Mr. McInerney says with a chuckle. His wife adds, “When you want to talk math, the other one is interested in what you are saying.”
The McInerneys are still seen around campus. “We’re frequently back here, to visit friends, enjoy the library and walk in the beautiful gardens,” Mrs. McInerney says.
Original source, “50/50” 2012