Thomas J. Pfaff

Thomas J. Pfaff

Professor, Department of Mathematics
Faculty, Graduate Study in Education
Faculty, School of Humanities and Sciences
Faculty, Honors Program

Specialty:Applied Math, Probabilty & Statistics, Sustainability
Phone:(607) 274-7066
Office:205 Williams Hall
Ithaca, NY 14850

Brief History & Bio: I graduated from Ithaca College in 1990, with a B.S. in Exercise Science. After continuing my undergraduate education at SUNY Cortland, I completed a second B.S. in 1992, this time in Mathematics. In the Fall of 1992, I moved to Syracuse to pursue graduate work in Mathematics and completed an M.S. in mathematics, in 1994, at Syracuse University. Continuing at SU, I finished a Ph.D. in Mathematics in the area of probability theory (stochastic processes) and a second M.S. in Applied Statistics, in May of 1999. In August of 1999 we, which at the time included my wife Janice and our son Liam (born April 1998), moved to the Twin Ports (Duluth, MN and Superior, WI), and I started a position as an assistant professor of mathematics at  University of Wisconsin Superior. The following June (2000) our family expanded to include Pierce. After two fun years in the Twin Ports, our family moved "back east" to Ithaca, NY  where I am now a professor of mathematics and director of the Ithaca College Honors Program, returning me back to where I started. We added to our family again in March 2002, with the addition of Owen, and just as things were starting to settle down, our fourth child, Hugh was born in June 2004.

As an undergraduate at Ithaca College I was a three year varsity oarsmen and raced in eights and occasionally fours, during the semesters. In the summers, I've competed in singles, doubles, and quads. Since then I've done various activities to stay in shape. While in graduate school I picked up short track speed skating and then followed that up with inline skating. I also played a lot of squash and did some canoeing. During my two years in Wisconsin, I did a lot of running and inline skating. While there, I ran a marathon,  Grandma's Marathon in Duluth MN in June 2001 (3:34:58, 799 out of 4271 men, 932 out of 6699 overall), and skated an inline marathon (26 miles), Northshore Inline Marathon in Duluth MN in Sept 1999 (1:29:16). I've also competed in a canoe marathon (Whitney Point Canoe Marathon, June 1998) and was on a top 5 team in the Winter Great Race in Auburn in Feb 1998. These days you will find me biking (having biked to work even in the winter for many years and rowing in the summer, and in the winter running and downhill skiing. Other hobbies of mine include making homebrew beer, gardening, and making my own pizza. And, of course, most of my "spare" time is spent with my family (Janice, Liam, Pierce, Owen, & Hugh).


"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects."

        -- Lazarus Long, main character in Robert A. Heinlein's book Time Enough for Love



School of Humanities and Sciences  ·  201 Muller Center  ·  Ithaca College  ·  Ithaca, NY 14850  ·  (607) 274-3102  ·  Full Directory Listing