100 Years of Math
Jan 20, 2012
The mathematics department celebrated 100 years at Concordia with lectures and panel discussions.
Department chair Dr. Douglas Anderson says the first notice of the math curriculum appeared in the 1911-12 catalog.
Anderson traced the development of the modern department to Mae Anderson, a 1920 graduate who became one of Concordia’s first female graduates to earn a Ph.D., which she completed at the University of Chicago. By 1940, she was one of only two female department heads at Concordia.
Anderson’s mentor was T.C. Wollan, who came to Concordia in 1917 with the merger of Park Region Academy. Upon Anderson's unexpected death in 1948, one of her students, Ordean Oen ’49 took over teaching her class, which included freshmen Gerald Heuer, who continues today as a department adjunct.
“Mae Anderson was a much beloved professor here,” says Anderson. “And her legacy of outstanding teaching continues to this day through this chain of people. She was a big influence on the history of our math department.”
Oen, who went on to a distinguished career at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and is an Alumni Achievement Award recipient, established a fund in Mae Anderson’s honor for annual guest lectures in mathematics and related fields.
Alumni lectures at the centennial anniversary on Jan. 20 reflected the variety of career options in mathematics:
* Dr. Lisa (Johnson) Rezac '92, math faculty at the University of St. Thomas
* Grant Weller '08, a Ph.D. candidate in statistics at Colorado State University
* Randy Boushek '79, chief financial officer at Thrivent Financial
* Lisa Conzemius Larson '89, secondary math teacher
* Brian Mancini '92, computer scientist at Microsoft
Photo: Grant Weller, Dr. Lisa Rezac and Dr. Doug Anderson