The Story of a True ‘Renaissance Man’

How Tue Rust fell in love with teaching

Ray Kopf, Staff Writer

Teaching wasn’t the first choice of profession that Professor Tue Rust thought of when he went to UC Berkeley for a degree in astrophysics. He happened upon his love for teaching after some self reflection following graduation, feeling emaciated from the amount of work he was doing in his classes. It was when he was allowed to teach a class at the Jose Valdes Summer Math Institute that he discovered what he wanted to do.

He took time to heal himself after graduation in 2000 and he had the idea to try teaching. He began searching for tutoring jobs and he happened upon Jose Valdes Summer Math Institute. He applied and got the job. 

“I remember teaching a class how to do sign-waves just from out of my ass,” said Rust. “They just loved it and everyone was applauding and all of that. And at that point I knew this was what I wanted to do.” 

From there he went on to pursue his masters in math all while pursuing a career in teaching and tutoring in various places. He now has 24 years of experience under his belt and has had a massive impact on college curriculum across the country. Thanks to his efforts alongside the Academy for College Excellence (ACE) and Myra Snell, students today are now able to jump straight into college-level math. 

“Now everyone can just take statistics right away. You wouldn’t have been able had you come to this college in 2000,” said Rust, “Before, if you had tested into remedial math, you would never get a degree.”

These changes were made after Rust attended a three-week conference about ACE in 2007, the year before he was hired at LMC, and he incorporated the program’s curriculum into his own classes at LMC. 

“When they tried to take this [accelerated] Math and English together they had a 95% failure rate,” said Rust. 

But when Rust incorporated the ACE program’s curriculum into his own courses, he found the success rate began to shoot up. 

“My success rate with those students was like 300% better than everyone else and I was like: ‘Oh shoot I’m onto something’,” said Rust.

From there, with the help of Snell and her work in trying to open up remedial math classes to all, they combined their data and shared it with the world. Rust went across the United States and presented their findings to various colleges and had aspects of the ACE program implemented in many colleges across the country. 

Since then, the ACE program has shrunk in size, but its impact is still felt at many colleges across the country. Students are now offered more tools and tricks to help them succeed in their math and english courses. All of this is thanks to the work Rust and Snell put in alongside the ACE program. 

But his accomplishments don’t stop there. He is also an alumni of the Blue Devils Drum and Bugle Corps in Concord, one of the most decorated drum corps on the planet with an astonishing 20 world championships. It is here where we gain a glimpse into just who Rust is. 

He is a man of many talents and accomplishments, and he isn’t exclusively interested in one single thing. Rust puts it best himself.

“When I was a kid I remember saying I want on my tombstone: ‘Here lies a renaissance man.’ And I’ve always believed that,” said Rust.

Rust has been a musician before he even started kindergarten and is able to play multiple instruments. He even runs his own marching band, “The Spirit of Sunnyvale” which performs for thousands of people at a time. 

“I’ve done marching band and music since I was 4 years old and I play the saxophone, tenor sax. I currently play the baritone, but I’ve played five or six other instruments,” said Rust.

Not only is he an avid musician, he is also petitioning to be a knight for the Twilight Renaissance Guild where he performs under his stage name: “Toffey Spenderson.” 

“We have fun and we train kids. Our goal is the reenactment and the engagement of 16th century martial arts,” said Rust, the goal is to, “share this to the public to educate them. So that these skills and knowledge will be passed onto future generations.” 

On top of all his interests, Rust is also an avid gamer and has been playing games such as Dungeons and Dragons for many years.

“For about 35 years I have been Gm’ing and roleplaying,” said Rust, adding with enthusiasm, “We are just about to finish an epic 4-20 level adventure where I created a 10th layer of Hell.”

Rust is always branching out and discovering new hobbies and interests. He is also avid in finances and stocks. Rust is simply a multi-talented person and he loves to engage in new hobbies constantly. 

“I love surfing, snowboarding. If I wasn’t color blind I would love to do art,” said Rust

It’s clear that whether it be his love for role playing, music, sword fighting, or his accomplishments in his teaching career, Professor Tue Rust truly is a ‘renaissance man.’