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John C. Maceli, Seaway - Meritorious Service Award

The Seaway Section is delighted to be able to express its deep gratitude to John Maceli, Professor Emeritus, Ithaca College, via this Meritorious Service Certificate. As a previous recipient of this award remarked, “John is really an unsung hero of the Section. Often it is his behind-the-scenes work and counsel that keeps the Section running smoothly.”

John served as first vice-chair and program chair of the section from 1992–1994, and again in 1995–1996. Ever since, he has been a stable presence in the governance of the section, consistently attending the executive committee meetings and offering creative ideas and wise guidance to each new group of executive committee members. Indeed, his informal role of committee member-at-large was deemed so helpful that this position was enshrined in the section bylaws in 2013. John filled this position formally from 2013 until Spring 2016. John’s assistance has ranged from suggesting and inviting outstanding speakers for section meetings, extensive informal mentoring and advising of first vice-chairs and chairs of the section, and recruiting individuals to agree to be nominated to the essential and often time-consuming positions on the executive committee of the section. Over the years, John chaired the Gehman Lecture Committee and the Nominations Committee for the section.

Here is an example that epitomizes the way John has, over the years, again and again stepped in to “save the day.” At a recent section meeting, an invited speaker had travel issues and did not arrive in time for her talk. Somehow, John had on hand dozens of decks of playing cards, distributed them to the audience, and kept everyone engaged by teaching card tricks–and the mathematics behind them–until the speaker finally arrived.

On the national level, John has served on the Committee on Sections (2015–2016), the Committee on Short Courses (2011–2014), and the Committee on Minicourses (2005–2011).


I am honored and humbled to receive this award from the MAA. I would like to thank my colleagues in the Seaway Section for their kind and thoughtful words. It is also gratifying to join the list of past winners of this Meritorious Service Award. They along with others have been great role models and mentors. Here is a brief anecdote about my work in the Section. For many years I have volunteered for a local bus service that takes seniors and disabled people to doctor’s appointments, etc. I once characterized this work as the “best fours of the week.” (family things aside!) In any case, I can say that my forty-plus year relationship has been some of the best parts of my service to the mathematical and mathematical education communities. As we all know we don’t do this kind of service to get awards but it’s nice to be recognized by one’s peers. The Seaway Section (as do all sections of the MAA) has many people that work very hard to make things run smoothly. I have been lucky to have had many such colleagues that inspired me. I only hope that I have been able to pass some of this inspiration to others.


John Maceli had a more than forty year teaching career at Ithaca College. He retired in 2012 and is now Emeritus Professor of Mathematics. While doing his graduate work at Cornell University, he developed an interest in mathematical modeling, in particular as applied to the social sciences. This interest in modeling persisted throughout his career. He developed and taught one of the first courses in the United States on fair allocation and equity, and taught Quantitative Literacy courses for many years. His interest in mathematical modeling led to his involvement in K-12 mathematics education. At the time of his retirement, John was assistant director of COMPASS, a national implementation center for high school mathematics curricula based on modeling. He is co-author, with colleagues from Ithaca College, of Calculus: An Active Approach with Projects, published by the MAA. Recently he has begun learning mathematical magic and uses this in workshops for middle and high school students and teachers.