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College of Arts and Sciences Newsroom

Mathematics Gift

High regard for a pair of University of Dayton mathematics professors + a generous donation in their honor = more opportunities for mathematics majors to attend conferences and organize student activities.

The Department of Mathematics received a $25,000 gift from Donna Koler in memory of her late husband Alex Koler ’64, an accomplished alumnus who died in January 2017. As an undergraduate mathematics major, Alex worked at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, where he did analysis for the first moon walk.

In 1972, Alex and his wife co-founded the Koler Financial Group in Parma, Ohio. He retired in 2016 as chairman and CEO emeritus.

Donna Koler said her husband thought highly of former mathematics professors Kenneth C. Schraut and Harry Mushenheim and made the gift in their honor.

“We are deeply grateful to Mrs. Koler for this gift and are pleased to know the impact our faculty had on her late husband,” said Wiebke Diestelkamp, professor and department chair.

Schraut taught mathematics at the University for more than 50 years. His legacy continues with the 19th annual Kenneth C. Schraut Memorial Lecture at 12:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 3, in the Science Center Auditorium on campus.

Diestelkamp plans to use Koler’s donation to support student activities, mathematics department events, and faculty activities the department might not otherwise be able to fund within its budget.

For students, the gift also will support conference travel, the Math Club and the costs associated with participating in the Mathematical Association of America’s annual William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition.

“Last year, Dr. Ying-Ju Tessa Chen took a team of students to DataFest, a weekend data modelling competition hosted by Miami University,” Diestelkamp said. “Dr. Muhammad Usman sponsored a team to participate in SCUDEM, a week-long modelling competition using differential equations. We also sent a student to the Nebraska Conference for Undergraduate Women in Mathematics last January, and we are sending two more to the upcoming conference in January 2019.”

For faculty, the gift might fund conference attendance, bringing a collaborator to campus or a professional development opportunity, she said.

More than a dozen mathematics alumni will return to campus Saturday, Nov. 3, for the Schraut Memorial Lecture and a related event, the 28th Biennial Alumni Career Seminar. Both events are free and open to the public, but registration is requested.

Kennon Copeland ’75 will give the Schraut Lecture, Measuring Flu Vaccination Rates.

Copeland is senior vice president and director of statistics and methodology at the National Opinion and Research Center at the University of Chicago. He developed the weighting methodology, collaborated on the sample design, and guided implementation and delivery for the 2009-2010 National H1N1 Flu Survey.

He will discuss national immunization survey methodology and detail the estimation methodology used to generate weekly, monthly and end-of-season flu vaccination rate estimates.

Copeland holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of Dayton, a master’s in statistics from the University of Kentucky and a doctorate in survey methodology from the University of Maryland.

“With three exceptions, the Schraut lecturer has been a UD alum,” said Paul Eloe, professor of mathematics, who organized this year’s event with assistant professor Jon Brown. “This illustrates one of Dr. Schraut’s legacies, which is the success our non-Ph.D.-granting department has had in preparing young mathematicians for doctoral programs.”

The Alumni Career Seminar follows Copeland’s lecture at 1:45 p.m. in the Science Center Auditorium. The seminar features a panel and breakout sessions with Department of Mathematics alumni, who will discuss their careers with students interested in mathematics.

“The seminar strives to give students some idea of the diversity of careers that are attainable,” Eloe said. “Mathematics is the discipline of focus, but we strive to appeal to a broad range of math-heavy majors.”

This year’s panelists include:

  • Craig Birkemeier ’11, associate professor, Sinclair Community College
  • Christopher Cabanski ’07, biostatistician, Parker Institute
  • Katherine Campbell ’15, actuary, Aon Hewitt
  • Kennon Copeland ’75, senior vice president, NORC
  • Matthew DeVilbiss ’16, graduate student, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Marla Gross ’90, statistician, Procter and Gamble (retired)
  • Kaitlyn Jones ’17, analyst, The Perduco Group
  • Matthew Keck ’08, director of IT architecture. Nationwide Insurance
  • Catherine Kublik, assistant professor, University of Dayton
  • Nicholas Kuprowicz ’96, senior engineer, U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory
  • Scott Mitter ’01, mathematics teachers, Fairmont High School
  • Maura Moran ’77, partner, Cambridge Technology Law
  • Martin Morris ’15, analyst, Arch Capital Group
  • Zi Ouyang ’13, medical physics resident, Cleveland Clinic
  • Robert Phipps ’01, actuary, Westfield Insurance

- Dave Larsen, communication coordinator, College of Arts and Sciences

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