Each year, Rappahannock Community College chooses a member of the faculty to carry the mace in the commencement ceremony. The mace, for RCC, is not a weapon but an ornamental symbol of authority carried by an honored member the staff. For commencement this year, that honored faculty member is Professor Bob Parker.
Parker, who has worked at RCC since 2002, is beloved by many students past and present for his wry wit and excellent abilities to explain and break down complex mathematics. Through this 16-year tenure, Parker has amassed a huge list of awards and accolades, both from within RCC and from outside organizations.
He moved to the Northern Neck from Virginia Beach in 1996, when he started teaching math and coaching golf at Northumberland High School. Since that time, he has also become a significant force in scouting throughout the region.
“I am currently a unit leader in Northumberland and the District Chair for the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula Boy Scouts,” says Parker. “I also will be serving on the National STEM scouting subcommittee starting this June and have worked at the last two Boy Scout National Jamborees in the STEM Area.”
STEM stands for “Science, Technology, Engineering and Math,” which is a major push among many educators across the country. So, it is fitting that Parker works within the scouting ranks to make STEM learning an emphasis.
Parker says that the most rewarding part of his job at the College is helping to make sense of math to his students who would not otherwise “get it.”
“Working with students to overcome struggles with math both inside the class and outside the classroom,” says Parker, is what motivates him each day.
While he’s the respected go-to guy for math at RCC, his wife, Patricia, serves nearly the same type of role at Germanna Community College. You can bet that the subject of “math” is a common one during dinner at the Parker house.
“Patricia and I have served on many state committees together,” he says. “We are very similar in our teaching style, so we are able to bounce ideas off of each other.”
The Parkers have two sons, who are both Eagle Scouts and graduates of Northumberland High, and both took dual enrollment classes at RCC. Their eldest son Ryan is an Occupational Therapist in Harrisonburg, while their younger, Adam, is a junior at the University of Utah.
In his free time, Parker enjoys camping, restoring a family home that has been in his family for 150 years and “occasionally playing golf.”