News and updates for UIUC Department of Mathematics alumni and friends
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[ Alumni + Friends Math Monthly | May 2021 ]

Image of a podium decorated for an Illinois commencement ceremony with Commencement 2021 text.

Pomp & Circumstance


After a week-long celebration that included both individual in-person Stage Crossing experiences and an online celebration featuring a virtual conferral of degrees, we welcome the newest members of the alumni family.

More than 7,000 graduates from the classes of 2020 and 2021 participated in individual Stage Crossing experiences. Additionally, more than 900 graduates from the Departments of Mathematics and Statistics were honored during this year's virtual convocation program.
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Machine learning helps spot gait problems in individuals with multiple sclerosis

Researchers Manuel Hernandez, left, Rachneet Kaur and Richard Sowers | Photo by L. Brian Stauffer. 

Monitoring the progression of multiple sclerosis-related gait issues can be challenging in adults over 50 years old, requiring a clinician to differentiate between problems related to MS and other age-related issues. To address this problem, researchers are integrating gait data and machine learning to advance the tools used to monitor and predict disease progression.

A new study of this approach led by University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign graduate student Rachneet Kaur, kinesiology and community health professor Manuel Hernandez and industrial and enterprise engineering and mathematics professor Richard Sowers is published in the journal Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Transactions on Biomedical Engineering.
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Mathematics undergraduates named to the Bronze Tablet list

Image of the main quad. 

Fourteen Department of Mathematics graduates are among those named as 2021 Bronze Tablet scholars. To achieve this honor, undergraduate students must rank at the top three percent of each college’s graduating class and must have a cumulative grade-point average of at least 3.5.

Each year, the Bronze Tablet is inscribed with the names of new graduates and placed in the Main Library. The first Bronze Tablet was created in 1925, with 14 names.   
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IME registration now open

United as One: Virtual 24th International Congress on Insurance: Mathematics and Economics, July 5-9, 2021 

Registration is now open for the virtual 24th International Congress on Insurance Mathematics and Economics (IME). The first major international insurance research conference hosted by the Department of Mathematics and the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, this innovative virtual event is a first for IME and jointly hosted by the University of Illinois and the Pennsylvania State University in the United States; Ulm University in Germany; and the University of New South Wales (UNSW Sydney) in Australia.

Early bird registration ends on June 10 and all registrations close on June 30.
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Mathematics faculty, staff, and students recognized with LAS Impact Award

LAS Impact Award logo 

More than 500 recipients, including math faculty, staff, and students, were recognized by the College of Liberal Arts & Science (LAS) with the LAS Impact Award, recognizing individuals and teams in the College of LAS that demonstrated a spirit of service and sacrifice that went beyond expectations to serve our community during the COVID-19 crisis.
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Susan Tolman, IGL director 

Starting in August 2021, Professor Susan Tolman will serve as the director of the Illinois Geometry Lab (IGL). She brings to the position substantial experience in departmental administration, familiarity with the IGL, and a commitment to innovative approaches to the instruction, training, and mentoring of undergraduate students in mathematics. Tolman served as interim director of Undergraduate Studies in Spring 2020 and was part of the organizing committee for the 2019 Graduate Research Opportunities for Women conference hosted by the department. She also previously mentored IGL projects in Spring 2017 and Fall 2018. She will step into the role following Professor Philipp Hieronymi, who has served as director since 2018.

The Illinois Geometry Lab celebrates its 10 year anniversary in Fall 2021. From modest beginnings, it has grown into one of the premiere organizations in the U.S. providing high-level, in-semester mathematical research experiences for undergraduate students.
Learn more about IGL →




Purvy releases new novel


Robert Purvy (BS ’72) wrote “Inventing the Future,” a novel about the revolutionary development of the Xerox Star. His second post-UIUC job, Purvy worked as an engineer for the Xerox Star, which has been created as the first commercial personal computer to incorporate technologies that have since become standard in PCs.
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Share your alumni news!

Have news you would like to share with your fellow alums in an upcoming issue of Math Monthly? Submit your items using our online form.
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Semester-end Chimes Concert

Last week, chimesmaster Tina Horton rang in the sweet sounds of summer with a special chimes concert celebrating the end of the semester.
Watch the recording →

LAS Dean’s Distinguished Lecture

Last month, Rana Hogarth of the Department of History presented "Slavery, Science, and the Eugenic Impulse: Re-Examining Charles B. Davenport’s Race-Crossing Studies" as the 2021 LAS Dean’s Distinguished Lecture.
Learn more →



Math Times, Spring 1991 

Has it really been 30 years since the first issue of Math Times went to press? The department’s flagship publication made its debut in spring 1991 and it has since been a staple for delivering news, updates, and more to students, alumni, friends, faculty, and staff of the Department of Mathematics. Although the look has changed quite a bit over the years, it has become a beloved and important historical archive of the department. In honor of the publication’s 30th anniversary, let’s take a closer look at the first issue of Math Times for this month's trivia.
Test your knowledge →



“The College Tour” Watch Party | May 23, 2021

Join us at 7 p.m. CT for “The College Tour” U of I watch party. Eleven UIUC students star in a new episode of “The College Tour,” sharing what they love about the university through their own stories.
Join the party →

SIM Camp 2021 | June 7-25, 2021

This year's Summer Illinois Math (SIM) Camp, a virtual week-long math day camp for middle and high school students, aims to provide 8th-12th grade campers with a creative and hands-on online learning experience in fun and engaging mathematics.
Learn more →

24th International Congress on Insurance: Mathematics and Economics

The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with partner universities, the Pennsylvania State UniversityUlm University, and the University of New South Wales (UNSW Sydney) will host the the 24th International Congress on Insurance: Mathematics and Economics (IME), the largest international meeting dedicated to exploring current trends and research in actuarial science and the insurance and finance industries, July 5-9, 2021.
Learn more →

Seminar & Event Calendar

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

LAS Alumni Events

View the upcoming alumni events hosted by the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences at

University of Illinois Alumni Association Calendar

View all University of Illinois-sponsored alumni events and activities, including clubs, colleges, and departments at

University of Illinois Calendars

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


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