The Kenyon Ten: Bob Milnikel

Faculty Chair Bob Milnikel shares his appreciation for Kenyon, the arts and dental hygiene.


Since coming to the Hill 22 years ago, Professor of Mathematics Bob Milnikel has made his impact in the classroom — where his work is focused on the mathematical analysis of logic as used in computer science — and with College governance, where he is currently serving as chair of the faculty. 

Outside of his teaching and shared governance responsibilities, he enjoys being involved in a number of local music groups, including the Kenyon Symphonic Wind Ensemble and the Knox County Symphony. (Want to see him in action? Milnikel will play saxophone, clarinet and bass clarinet on Feb. 29 as part of a faculty recital.)

Besides Gambier, where is your favorite place in the world to be?

New York City.

Why did you come to Kenyon?

It was exactly the sort of school I'd hoped to work at since I first heard about the existence of small liberal arts colleges.

Fill in the blank: My experience at Kenyon would not be the same without ______.

My colleagues, particularly those in the Math & Statistics Department.

What is your favorite Kenyon tradition?

I love the optional First-Year/Senior Sing. It's not really my tradition since I was never a student here, but I still love the bookending nature of it and the music connection.

What Kenyon class would you love to take — again or for the first time?

Assistant Professor of Religious Studies Krista Dalton and Associate Professor of Religious Studies David Maldonado Rívera team teach a course on early rabbinic Judaism and early Christianity called "Parting of the Ways" (RLST 255) that sounds amazing, not least because those are two awesome instructors.

If there was a soundtrack to your Kenyon experience, what song would be on repeat? 

I don't know how long I'd last listening to it on repeat, but of course no song is more Kenyon than “Kokosing Farewell.”

Where do you find satisfaction outside of your work?

Making music, especially with friends.

What is something interesting that you have read recently?

I'm currently just a couple of chapters into “Apollo's Angels: A History of Ballet.” I can't dance my way out of a paper bag — just ask anyone who saw me at Dancing with the Kenyon Stars a few years ago — but I appreciate those who can!

What new skill would you like to learn?

Some sort of strength/flexibility workout that I can stick with as I get older would be good.

What is the best piece of advice that you've ever been given?

1) Just as I was finishing grad school and heading off to my first job, I was told that, yes, knowing about evidence-based pedagogical techniques was good, but not even the best techniques would engage students without your excitement and enthusiasm for the material behind them. 2) Floss every day.

The Kenyon Ten is an occasional question-and-answer feature that highlights students, faculty and staff.