News and updates for the Department of Mathematics faculty and staff
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[ Faculty + Staff E-News | September 2021 ]

First-year students explore their majors at this year's LAS Liftoff event on the Main Quad. | Photo by Melissa Kuhl, LAS Communications and Marketing

University of Illinois welcomes record-breaking incoming class


With a first-year student enrollment of 8,303, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign has welcomed a record-breaking incoming class for the 2021-22 academic year. The new class brings total student enrollment to 56,299, the largest in university history.

The trend is mirrored in the College of LAS, where first-year enrollment this fall stands at 2,678. It’s the highest since 2008, when the Division of General Studies, home for thousands of undeclared students, moved out of LAS to become a campus-wide unit. Total student enrollment in the College of LAS is 14,712, which includes 12,160 undergraduates and 2,552 graduate students, according to the Division of Management Information.

“We're thrilled and proud to welcome the class of 2025,” said Venetria K. Patton, Harry E. Preble Dean of the College of LAS Designate. “This year's strong LAS enrollment is testament to both the value of the liberal arts and sciences and the resilience of faculty, staff, and students during this challenging time. We continue to work together toward a brighter future.”
Learn more →



Math and Statistics Student Support Center

The Math and Statistics Student Support Center (SSC) provides walk-in academic support and tutoring for students enrolled in introductory mathematics and statistics courses. Located in 24 Illini Hall, the center is staffed by qualified teaching assistants and course assistants. Access to the Student Support Center is restricted to students enrolled in designated Math and Statistics courses. There is no charge for these services. Courses covered in the SSC include the following: Math 112, Math 115, Math 220, Math 221, Math 231, Stat 212, Stat 400.

For more information, please visit the SSC website at
View the website →

DPI Science Team awards

Two of our math faculty members earned Discovery Partners Institute (DPI) Science Team awards. Professor Yuliy Baryshnikov is a co-PI of the project titled "Hearing Health Institute," led by Professor Fatima Husain in the Department of Speech and Hearing Science and the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology. Department chair Vera Hur is a co-PI of the project titled "Risk-Based Approaches to Midwestern Climate and Weather Prediction," led by Professor Ryan Sriver in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences

Mathematics faculty, alumnus receive ASTIN Best Paper Award

A paper by Professor Runhuan Feng, alumnus Chongda Liu (MS, ’16, financial engineering; PhD, ’21, mathematics), and Stephen Taylor, assistant professor of finance in the Martin Tuchman School of Management at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, was one of two winners of this year's ASTIN Colloquium Best Paper Award. The paper, “Peer-to-Peer Risk Sharing with an Application to Flood Risk Pooling,” was commended for introducing a novel algorithmic approach to the construction of decentralized risk pooling mechanisms, a method that could inspire innovation in financial services. ASTIN is the Non-Life Section of the International Actuarial Association.
View the paper →

COVID-19 update

Earlier this month, the university provided reminders about upcoming vaccine mandate deadlines and protocols, in addition to an update on the university's vaccination rate.
Read the massmail →

As always, for the latest news and updates regarding the university's response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, please visit the university's COVID-19 website.

LAS Staff Spotlight

Hundreds of staff members support units throughout LAS. Their work drives forward the mission of the college and its units through dedication and excellence — and each has a story of their own. The College of LAS is seeking nominations of outstanding staff for their latest news series — LAS Staff Spotlight. Please consider nominating staff from our department who are an integral piece of LAS success.
Submit a nomination →

One big week for students

Make your gift to help transform Illinois students’ lives as we partner with our Big Ten peers in #OneBigWeek for students, Sept. 12-18! From the start, serving students has been at the forefront of the Big Ten universities’ missions. We believe students deserve access to a quality education, positive campus experiences, and fulfilling opportunities to equip them to become the next generation of leaders.
Learn more →



Message from the ACF

I encourage faculty members and postdocs to take advantage of these upcoming opportunities:

Program links and more can be found at the new ACF website. Please consider bookmarking that site for future reference or else find it from my homepage.

Good luck with your applications,
Richard Laugesen



Undergrad RSO update

The first joint meeting of MATRIX, the math club, and the Undergraduate Association for Women in Mathematics (uAWM) on Aug. 30 was very successful, with higher-than-anticipated attendance. Faculty, postdocs, or grad students who would like to be involved with one of these groups can contact or to get connected with them.



Graduate Papers & Publications webpage

Graduate students are invited to submit a request to have their publicationsjournal pubs, conferences, ArXivadded to our department's Graduate Papers & Publications web page. This page was created to showcase and celebrate graduate student papers, publications, and research.
Submit a request → 



Regular Fall 2021 hours

Beginning Monday, Sept. 20, the Math Library will be open for all library services during the following walk-in hours:

  • Monday to Thursdays: 9 a.m.– 8 p.m.
  • Fridays: 9 a.m.–5 p.m.
  • Saturdays: 1 p.m.– 5 p.m.
  • Sundays: 1 p.m.–8 p.m.

Per campus guidelines, as of July 30, 2021, all faculty, students, staff, and visitors are required to wear a face covering inside all University of Illinois facilities.



Past and present MDAB members gather for virtual reunion

The Department of Mathematics held a reunion of current and former members of the Mathematics Development Advisory Board (MDAB) over Zoom on Aug. 6. The board was formed in 2010 and now has more than 45 current and former members, almost all of whom are alumni of the Department of Mathematics. 

Nearly 20 current and former members of MDAB in attendance, in addition to seven participants from campus. Participants were able to catch up with each other and engage in lively conversation on a wide range of topics. The reunion also included an update about the renovation and replacement of Altgeld and Illini Halls

The idea of the reunion developed from the work of the Alumni Engagement Committee of the MDAB, which has been identifying alumni cohorts for similar reunions to be held in the future.  

The Alumni Engagement Committee welcomes suggestions for alumni cohorts for future reunions. Please send your ideas and suggestions to Professor Sheldon Katz, MDAB chair, at
Share your ideas and suggestions →



R. Ranga Rao

Professor Emeritus R. Ranga Rao passed away Aug. 27, 2021, in Chennai, India. A prominent mathematician from India, Rao joined the Department of Mathematics faculty in 1961. He was recognized for his contributions to statistics, Lie groups, and Lie algebras. After 40 years of service, he retired in 2001 and moved back to India in 2015.
View the obituary →



COVID-19 Briefing Series: Our Response to the Delta Variant

Earlier this month, the university provided a COVID-19 briefing discussing the university's response to the delta variant and addressing top questions from the community.
Watch the recording →

Dean Patton kicks off a new academic year

The Harry E. Preble Dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences Venetria K. Patton welcomed in the fall semester with a visit to Altgeld Hall.
Watch the recording →



Fall Statistics & Mathematics Career Forum

Undergraduate and graduate students are invited to attend the fall career forum on Sept. 21 to meet and network with various companies who may be hiring for full-time, part-time, or internship work. Be on the lookout for more details.

Homecoming 2021

Save the date for this year's homecoming, "Close or Apart, We’re Illini at Heart," Oct. 4–9. Learn more about this year’s plans, events, and updates on the university’s Homecoming website.

2021 MDAB Annual Meeting

Members of the Mathematics Development Advisory Board (MDAB) will gather for the 2021 MDAB annual meeting on Friday, Oct. 22.

Graduate Student Appreciation Week

Celebrate our amazing UIUC graduate students during the annual Graduate Student Appreciation Week, Oct. 25-29. Be on the lookout for more details on the university's Graduate Student Appreciation Week website.

2022 Alumni Awards Nomination Deadline

Each year, the Department of Mathematics recognizes exceptional alumni who have made significant contributions through outstanding professional achievement in academia, research, and industry. The deadline for nominations for our 2022 awards is Monday, Nov. 15.
Learn more and nominate today →

Seminar & Event Calendar

View all the upcoming seminars, colloquia, and events hosted by the department at

University of Illinois Calendars

View a variety of Illinois event, academic, and programming calendars at

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