Instructor says goodbye after 28 years at MSU

Chris Marten

Timothy Donovan, professor of computer science, is retiring this August after 28 years with the Department of Computer Science. The department will host a retirement reception for Donovan on April 23.

Ranette Halverson, chair of the computer science department, coordinated the event and said the reception will begin with a presentation about Donovan’s career, after which he will be able to talk with the visitors who have come to wish him well.

I am still sorry to see him go. Ranette Halverson

“I knew his retirement was coming but I am still sorry to see him go,” Halverson said. ‘He knows the program so well, so I get the ‘why fix what’s not broken’ feeling. On top of everything else though he’s nice and professional, and has done a great job.”

Donovan made the decision to retire last semester, but said he still isn’t sure if he’s ready even now.

“I’ve been putting it off for a while, but I’ll be 73 soon so maybe it’s time,” Donovan said. “Many people retire in their 60s, and there are other faculty members that have decided to retire as well. I’m going to miss interacting with the students and my colleagues though.”

Donovan’s dedication to being present for his classes is also noteworthy. During his tenure he never missed a day from being sick.

“There was a time that I came close this semester,” Donovan said. “I had shoulder surgery on March 3, but March 5 was a snow day so I got lucky. I was able to maintain my record.”

Brian McCray, mathematics senior, had Donovan for Discrete Mathematics and said he misses his teaching style.

“I really like the way he gave examples to the concepts during lecture,” McCray said. “For a global learner like me, it made the lessons easier. I think he was the only Discrete Mathematics professor at the time that I took the class, and maybe that was for a reason.”

Shweta Zutshi, computer science graduate, is being taught by Donovan for the first time this semester, and said his class is pushing her to excel more than ever before.

“He’s really specific about his instructions,” Zutshi said. “The other side of that is that I’ve never had to talk to him outside of class because he teaches the material so well. It’s disappointing that he won’t be here next semester.”

The reception starts at 2:30 p.m. Thursday, April 23, in Dillard Room 189.



What was your favorite class to teach?

“Well Artificial Intelligence comes to mind, but I also like Discrete Mathematics. I suppose the answer is a combination of those two.”

What will you miss most about MSU?

“Probably all of my colleagues. I would say the Wellness Center, but I still get to use its services even after I retire.”

What will you miss the least?

“Paperwork and meetings, because I’m not a big meetings guy. Politics at MSU are a lot of responsibility and when I was on the Student Grievance Committee it took a lot of time out of my schedule.”

How has MSU changed since you began your tenure?

“A lot more bureaucracy during my later years, although there’s only so much you can do about that. Our university has significantly less than the bigger Division I schools.

What are your plans after retirement?

“I want to keep active with the faculty. There’s other hobbies I have outside of MSU, such as refurbishing old cars and being a certified pilot. I also will continue to cycle and maybe do some volunteer work.”