Jerry Tuttle commuted to the home office on Tuesday, May 18, and the trip was about 2,000 miles one way.
Tuttle, 60, of New Jersey, is an online math teacher for GCU. He planned a stop in Phoenix as part of a business trip to Los Angeles so that he could tour GCU’s ground campus. He specifically requested that he have an opportunity for his photo to be taken with Thunder, the Antelopes’ mascot.
“I wanted to come and see if there really is a campus,” Tuttle said jokingly. “I’ve always wanted to do this. Unfortunately, I picked a time when the students aren’t here.”
Tuttle made the most of it, stopping at the campus bookstore to buy a GCU polo shirt, meeting administrators and visiting about the classes he is teaching.
“People have been amazingly friendly to me,” he said. “They’re surprised I’m here. For a big university, the campus is small and intimate.”
Tuttle grew up in New York City and works as an actuary in a building overlooking Ground Zero in Manhattan. He has a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Queens College and a master’s degree in applied mathematics from the University of Virginia. He began teaching at GCU last August.
He suspects he is one of few math teachers capable of incorporating 1 Kings 7:23 from the Old Testament into a lesson.
Let him explain:
“In the passage, someone is building an enormous cup that is 30 units in circumference and 10 units in diameter. If you remember geometry, that’s all you need to know. In those days, they thought pi was 30 divided by 10 equals three. In biblical times, that probably was fine. Three verses later, there’s more to it, and you get a much closer approximation of the cup’s measurements.
“I use the example especially when I’ve got a Christian studies major in class. If you’re merging math and the Bible, GCU is the place to do it!”
For his students in Math 100, 120 and 134, he videotaped a self-introduction that they could download. His clever explanation of insurance, aimed at elementary-school audiences, is called “The Hurricane Game” and is posted on YouTube (click here).
Tuttle said he tracks GCU campus life through Facebook and was impressed by the Antelope baseball team’s recent visit to a veterans home in Phoenix.
“I’ve seen a number of GCU videos online,” he said. “Once in a while, I’ll chime in with a comment on Facebook.”
Tuttle has three sons. One is working on his master’s degree in sociology at the University of Chicago and another graduated in political science from the University of Virginia. A third is graduating from high school and planning to enlist in the Marines.
“None of them has the slightest interest in math,” he said.