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Wayne State celebrates National Pi Day March 14
The Campus Diner on Cass was abuzz with conversations and laughter, typical for the busy lunch crowd.
Seated at the front counter, a young man raised his finger to signal the waitress and asked a simple question: "Do you have some pie?"
What followed would have made a great Twilight Zone episode.
Seated immediately to the right and left of the lunch patron were Wayne Raskind, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences dean, and mathematician extraordinaire; and WSU junior Stephanie Godden.
Upon hearing "pie," they turned their heads toward the customer and began to recite pi - a familiar recitation for them.
In 1974, Raskind, then 14 years old, shattered the world record for reciting, by memory, 1,120 places of pi. As a high school student, Godden captured the attention of media outlets around the country when she recited 2,300 places of pi.
In observance of National Pi Day, held annually on March 14, both record-holders appeared in front of the camera, demonstrating their command of the constant number - pi.
Godden, a chemistry and English major, was surprised to receive a call from the Office of Marketing and Communications inviting her to appear in a video produced through WSU University Television. But the surprise entered a whole new dimension when she was contacted by Dean Raskind.
"It was neat talking with the dean," Godden said. "I kind of laughed...it was really great."
Asked why he would schedule time out of his busy schedule leading the university's largest college to recite pi in a diner - in front of a camera - for the social media world to see, Raskind said it was fun and significant.
"When I recited pi as a high school freshman, I realized that I could do something at a world-class level. This was empowering for me, and a confidence builder."
Raskind added that many young people do not realize the talent that they have, the things that they can achieve. "The pi video is a fun tool to reach out and demonstrate that we're a first-class university that enjoys learning."
The video may be viewed at WSU's YouTube channel.