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MAA Announces 2023 Meritorious Service Award Recipients

The Mathematical Association of America (MAA) is excited to announce this year’s Meritorious Service Award winners: Timothy Comar, Tom Richmond, Lori McCune, Gary Towsley, and Benjamin Collins.

Meritorious Service Awards

Meritorious Services certificates are presented based on the Association’s Sections’ recommendation for service at the national level, or for service to a Section of the Association. The first Meritorious Service awards were made in 1984. Each year, honorees from several Sections are recognized.

Timothy Comar

Dr. Timothy D. Comar has been a professor of mathematics at Benedictine University in Lisle, IL since 2001. He earned his undergraduate degree in mathematics from Brown University in 1991 and his PhD in mathematics from the University of Michigan in 1996. He is a 1997 Project NExT Fellow (Peach Dot). Even though he still has a passion for his original research area of low-dimensional topology and hyperbolic geometry, he has devoted most of his career to research and undergraduate education in mathematical biology. He has had many undergraduate research students in mathematical biology, several of whom have earned awards for their work. Dr. Comar has been involved with the Illinois Section of the MAA (ISMAA) since 2005.

“I am honored to receive this Award,” Comar shares. “The MAA has been the main professional organization through which I have been able to grow professionally and establish meaningful relationships throughout my career.”

Tom Richmond

Tom Richmond has been on the faculty at Western Kentucky University since 1986. He received the Kentucky Section of the MAA (KYMAA) teaching award in 2014. His main areas of research are topology and order. He has published two books and approximately 50 articles, including 15 with student coauthors and nine in MAA journals. He’s held the honor of being a University Distinguished Professor since 2016 and received the WKU Ogden College of Science and Engineering Award for Advising for 2009 - 2010. He served as Chair-Elect in 2006 – 2007, Chair in 2008 – 2009, and Representative to the national MAA in 2017- 2019.

“It has been a pleasure to be associated with the Kentucky Section for one third of its 106-year history. It is always a joy to work with students and colleagues from the section,” Richmond shares. “I am honored and humbled to be selected for this award.”

Lori McCune

Lori McCune is an associate professor of mathematics at Missouri Western State University, where she has been since 2012. She earned a BS in mathematics from the University of Akron and both an MS and PhD in mathematics from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She is currently Chair of the Missouri Section of the MAA and her current research interests include recreational mathematics and the mathematics of voting. She regularly presents talks at Section Meetings. She was elected as Section Chair Elect in 2014, serving 2014 - 15. Then, she served as Section Chair 2015 – 2016, then as Past Chair 2016 – 2017. She organized the 2016 Missouri Section Meeting at Missouri Western and has served as Liaison Coordinator from 2019 to 2021, and was elected Section Chair in April 2021, a position she still holds.

“Thank you, Missouri Section, for this nomination! I am thankful to be a part of such a wonderful group of colleagues from around the state,” she adds.

Gary Towsley

Gary Towsley is Distinguished Teaching Professor Emeritus at SUNY Geneseo. He retired in June 2020 after teaching at Geneseo for 45 years. He earned a B.S. in Mathematics from Case Institute of Technology, an M.S. and a PhD in Mathematics from the University of Rochester. His dissertation was in the area of Compact Riemann Surfaces. While at Geneseo he taught a range of courses in mathematics. He also taught many interdisciplinary courses with faculty from other departments at the college. The most notable of these courses was Poetry and Cosmology in the Middle Ages, he taught with Professor Ronald Herzman of the English department. This course was offered 17 times. He received the Seaway Sections Clarence Stephens Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Deborah and Franklin Tepper Haimo Award from the MAA. He has been a member of the Seaway Section for a long time and has enjoyed, (except for rewriting the by-laws), working in and for the section in many different roles.

“I am deeply honored to receive this award knowing what the past recipients have brought to the Seaway Section. The section has been one of the centers of my mathematical career and service to the section has never really felt like work, Towsley says.”

Benjamin Collins

Benjamin V.C. Collins has been a member of the MAA since his days as an undergraduate student at Central College in Iowa, where he received his bachelor’s degree in 1986. He earned a master’s degree from the University of Michigan in 1988 and received his PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1996, under the direction of Paul Terwilliger. He has taught at St. John’s University/The College of St. Benedict (MN) and Midland Lutheran College (now Midland University, NE). He served for 20 years on the faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, before retiring in 2020. He is now a Technical Solutions Engineer for Epic Systems in Verona, Wisconsin. He has served the MAA as Director of Project NExT-Wisconsin (now Section NExT-Wisconsin), Public Information Officer for the Wisconsin Section, a member of the Association’s Committee on Sections, and as Vice Chair for Services for the Special Interest Group on Business, Industry, and Government (BIG-SIGMAA).

“I am honored to receive the Meritorious Service Award from the MAA,” Collins says. “In my years working with the MAA, both in the Wisconsin Section, and on Association-level committees, I have served with many wonderful and dedicated individuals, far too numerous to thank individually. I believe that the strength of the MAA is in its members, and I hope to be able to continue to serve for years to come.”