PSU math professor continues teaching, despite cancer battle


A Penn State professor diagnosed with terminal cancer is using his personal experience to make a difference in the classroom. 

John Roe announced to his K-Theory math class of about 15 graduate students that he has cancer and the Spring 2017 semester would likely be his last one teaching. 

Students in the class were shocked by Roe’s decision to continue teaching. 

For those who know Roe, they said doing so is an example of his work ethic, despite personal hardships. 

“John is one of the toughest, most resilient human beings I’ve ever known,” Nate Brown, a faculty member in the math department said.

Roe said its harder to get around and requires more rest than usual. 

He shared his diagnosis with students to inspire them.

“I challenge them to focus on the skill and the joy of teaching in their future careers,” Roe said. 
Roe’s teaching career spans more than 35 years, with 18 of them at Penn State. 
He said he wants to continue teaching as long as he can. 

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