Two longtime members of the Department of Applied Mathematics who passed away in 2016 were honored during the 2017 Karl Menger Lecture and Awards—Edwin (Ed) F. Stueben, alumnus and professor emeritus, and H. Lennart (Len) Pearson, alumnus and associate professor emeritus.
Stueben received his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Illinois Tech in 1958, master’s degree in 1960, and Ph.D. in 1963. He held the positions of associate chairman for what was then the Department of Computer Science and Applied Mathematics; interim chairman for the Department of Applied Mathematics; and vice president of admissions, financial aid, and student affairs.
In the 1970s and early 1980s, he was responsible for seminal projects like IIT/V, a telecast of Illinois Tech credit courses, and actively involved from a mathematics perspective in E3, a precursor to the IPRO program, and the Minorities in Engineering Program. He was awarded the Illinois Tech Excellence in Teaching Award for the first time in 1972. In the late 1980s, Stueben was responsible for the development of Illinois Tech’s Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Campus and served as its first vice president from 1989 to 1993. He returned to Illinois Tech’s Mies (Main) Campus in 1993. He was presented the Illinois Tech Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award for the second time in 2005, his final year before retirement. Stueben was honored with the Illinois Tech Alumni Service Award in 2008.
Peggy Stueben shared the photo of her husband, Ed, and Len. Peggy and Ed met at Illinois Tech in 1970. At the Menger event, she talked about her and Ed’s love of travel and their son, Bill, who was born after almost 20 years of marriage.
Pearson completed his B.A. and M.A. at the University of British Columbia and a Ph.D. in mathematics at Illinois Tech in 1957. He spent his entire academic career at the university before retiring in 1994. He was acting dean of the Graduate School from 1975–77 and dean of graduate studies from 1988–1994. Pearson’s students selected him for the Excellence in Teaching Award in both 1969 and 1986, making him the first double-recipient of this honor. From 1969–1973 he also served on the Northbrook School District 27 Board of Education.
John Wenger (Ph.D. MATH ‘79) spoke briefly about Pearson. Wenger knew Pearson on a personal as well as professional level. He remembered Pearson as being very concerned about his students, as reflected by his being the first Illinois Tech faculty member to be awarded the Excellence in Teaching award twice.
Fred Hickernell, professor and chair of applied mathematics, said “Ed and Len touched the lives of thousands of students, which had a huge impact on our department and university. They are missed.”