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

Welcome, Venetria K. Patton, Harry E. Preble Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Designate

Patton named College of Liberal Arts and Sciences dean


Venetria K. Patton has been named the Harry E. Preble Dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. She assumed her new role on Aug. 2, following approval by the University of Illinois Board of Trustees.

Patton recently served as the head of the School of Interdisciplinary Studies at Purdue University and has served in faculty and administrative roles at Purdue and the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, since 1996. Gene Robinson, Swanlund Chair in Entomology who served as interim dean since 2020, resumed his duties as director of the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology.

“I am immensely honored to join the University of Illinois as the next dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences,” said Patton. “Throughout my career I’ve developed a strong belief in the vast potential of education and research in the liberal arts and sciences, and no place pursues these principles more passionately than the University of Illinois. The College of Liberal Arts & Sciences is perfectly suited to create and inform leaders in our dramatically changing world. I look forward to helping grow the tremendous efforts that are happening here.”
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UIUC featured in Celebratio Mathematica series

Image of Celebratio Mathematica website  

Thanks to generous funding by Professor Emeritus Philippe Tondeur, several distiguished members of the Department of Mathematics were featured in a five-volume series of Celebratio Mathematica, an open-access scholarly web publication by Mathematical Sciences Publishers that celebrates mathematics and related fields, and their people. Four of the five volumes in the series are published online and feature Kenneth Appel, Donald Burkholder, Joseph Doob, and Wolfgang Haken.
Learn more →

The fifth volume, which will feature Lou van den Dries, is currently in production. 
View a preview interview →


Spring semester graduates, Dean's List and Bronze Tablet honorees named

Students on the Main Quad with the Block I structure.  

The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign has announced 9,289 Dean’s List students, 245 Bronze Tablet honorees and more than 9,000 graduates for the 2021 spring semester. 

Dean’s List eligibility is limited to approximately the top 20% of a student’s college class or curriculum. To be eligible, students must complete at least 12 academic semester hours taken for a letter grade.

University Honors and inclusion on the Bronze Tablet are the university’s highest honors for graduating students. Honorees, who are the top 3% from each college’s graduating class, must have a total grade-point average of at least 3.5 (out of a possible 4.0), although in recent years an average as high as 3.9 was needed to make the list in some colleges at Illinois.
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Inaugural Blackwell Summer Scholars Program held virtually this summer

Screenshot of a group session of the inaugural Blackwell Summer Scholars Program, which was held remotely due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.  

Cohosted by the UIUC Departments of Statistics and Mathematics, the David H. Blackwell Summer Scholars Program concluded its inaugural session with 14 scholars presenting their culminating research on a wide variety of topics.

The six-week summer program is named in honor of alumnus David Blackwell (BA ’38, MA ’39, Ph.D. ’41), the first African American to receive a Ph.D. in mathematics from University of Illinois and the seventh to complete a doctorate in mathematics in the U.S. 
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Next issue of IJM available in September, other issues available online

Image of the main entrance doorway of Altgeld Hall, highlighting the decorative glass with "mathematics."  

The next issue of the Illinois Journal of Mathematics (IJM) will be published in September. The first two issues of Volume 65 (April 2021 and June 2021) are available online at Project Euclid. With the assistance of its publishing partner, Duke University Press, IJM articles are now published online and available an average of two months in advance of printed issues. Print-plus-online subscriptions are available to institutions and to individuals. For prices or to subscribe, please contact Duke University Press

IJM welcomed Professor Felix Leditzky to its editorial board. Leditzky joined the UIUC Department of Mathematics in January 2021 and had previously been on the faculty at the University of Waterloo. His research interests are mathematical and computational aspects of quantum information theory. 
Learn more about IJM →


Now hiring: Math seeks actuarial science academic advisor

Join our team: Academic Advisor, Actuarial Science Program. Learn more and apply today at  

The academic advisor for the UIUC Actuarial Science Program serves as the primary advisor to undergraduate students in the program, provides counsel to undergraduate students regarding professional and career options, and assists with recruitment to the program. 
Learn more and apply today →



Image of Professor Runhuan Feng, a featured faculty member for the LAS Experts series  

In a country where people outlive their savings by 8-10 years, Professor Runhuan Feng’s goal is to advance innovation and technology so that financial stability and security is the norm.

Feng—director of the Actuarial Science Program and a faculty lead with U of I's Discovery Partnership Institute—discusses his research and more in the latest profile in the LAS Experts series.
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Norton publishes novel

Karl Norton (PhD ’66) has published his novel, "Betrayal 101: A College Saga," a book about a young mathematician's college teaching career that he says is loosely based on his own experience.
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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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Ellacombe Chimes Bicentennial Celebration

Earlier this summer, the Altgeld chimesplayers participated in the worldwide Ellacombe Chimes Bicentennial Celebration. The online celebration honored the 200th anniversary of Rev. Henry Thomas Ellacombe’s invention of a mechanism that allowed a single person to ring a set of tower bells. 
Watch the recording →



A student moving a cart of college necessities into his residence hall with a line of cars in the background.  

It's move-in week at UIUC! We are thrilled to see campus buzzing with new and returning students, and we look forward to welcoming them into our halls when classes start next week. While you're reminiscing about your own first week experience, why not take a guess at this month's UIUC history-related trivia.
Test your knowledge →



Fall Statistics & Mathematics Career Forum | Sept. 21, 2021

Undergraduate and graduate students are invited to attend the career forum to meet and network with various companies who may be hiring for full-time, part-time, or internship work. Interested in learning how your company can participate? Contact AJ Schmidt, academic program coordinator for the Office of Undergraduate Studies, at

Homecoming 2021 | Oct. 4–9, 2021

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

Alumni Awards Nomination Deadline | Nov. 15, 2021

Each year, the Department of Mathematics recognizes exceptional alumni who have made significant contributions through outstanding professional achievement in academia, research, and industry. 
Learn more and nominate today →

LAS Alumni Events

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

Seminar & Event Calendar

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University of Illinois Alumni Association Calendar

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University of Illinois Calendars

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