Name that Mathematician: On George Mackiw, Ph.D.

Matthew McMullen, ’99, on George Mackiw, Ph.D.

By Magazine Staff

Matthew McMullen, ’99, wasn’t sure how he would use his mathematics degree. Then he took
Discrete Mathematics with George Mackiw, Ph.D., then-professor of mathematical sciences.

“Dr. Mackiw really made me want to teach math to others,” McMullen said. “He was entertaining. ”

Although McMullen had always enjoyed math, he found a new appreciation for it at Loyola. “Math is different when you get to college, and it was different in a way that was perfect for me, more philosophical. Dr. Mackiw made it fun,” he said. “You don’t expect math to be fun and exciting.”

Mackiw had a dry sense of humor and a special way of engaging students. “He would show us a picture of a mathematician, and say, ‘Name that mathematician.’” McMullen—and his classmates—never had any idea who the mathematician was.

Today, McMullen might have an answer. He is an instructor of mathematical sciences at Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio.

“His teaching serves as an inspiration for me in my classes. He could explain complex mathematics in a clear and entertaining fashion, something that I always try to do with my students,” he said. “I am very animated in the classroom, definitely his style too.”

McMullen stayed in touch with Mackiw until the professor’s death in 2003. “His memory lives on every day in my classroom,” said McMullen.

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