Mathematics began with roots in the basic concepts of space and number and has flowered into many wonderful forms. The creation and discovery of new mathematics have never been more active or vital than they are today. Mathematics is sometimes called the science of pattern and order. It relies on logic as a standard of truth, but uses observation and even experimentation as means of discovering truth. Mathematicians think of their work as a blend of science and art, sometimes elegant and beautiful, describing deep and useful creations. In addition to theorems and theories, mathematics offers distinct modes of thought which are both versatile and powerful for understanding the world.

Courses serve those who wish to make mathematics a part of a liberal arts education, those who desire a mathematics background for other disciplines, such as Computer Science, Economics or the natural sciences, those who wish to minor in Mathematics, and those who wish to major in Mathematics.

Mathematics majors choose careers in education, industry, business, banking and insurance serving as teachers, statisticians, industrial mathematicians, computer programmers or analysts, actuaries and research workers in the biological, management or social sciences. Their training can also serve as a stepping stone to professional training or graduate work in a variety of fields.

News and Events

  • Mathematics majors Andrew Bishop, Yumi Li, Max Lipton, Rachel Robinson, and Jeff Schreiner-McGraw, all presented on Student Scholarship Recognition Day held Wednesday, April 16, 2014.
  • Willamette students Andrew Bishop, Sean Fogerty, Jeff Schreiner-McGraw, Georgia Mayfield, Katie Tucker, and Theresa Barosh all participated in the 6th Annual Northwest Undergraduate Mathematics Symposium held on Saturday, April 12, 2014 at Oregon State University.  Andrew, Jeff, and Georgia all presented at the conference and Georgia earned the 2nd prize of the AWM Award.
  • The Student Awards Ceremony was held on April 8, 2014.  The following students were awarded the Mathematics Department awards: Luther Award: Andrew Bishop and Katie Tucker, Luther Scholarship: David Livingston, Jeff Schreiner-McGraw, and Katherine Lacy, Jory-Hafferkamp Award: Will Nickerson, Becca Harper, and Eric Samelson, Hall Award: Max Lipton.
  • On April 1, 2014, it was announced that the following mathematics majors were invited to join the Delta Chapter of Oregon as new members of the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society: Yumi Li (inducted last year), Katherine Lacy, Lexi Parsagian, Kai Yoshioka, William Agnew-Svoboda, and Katie Tucker. Congratulations to all the new members on their academic achievements!
  • On April 1, 2014, it was announced that senior major Andrew Bishop earned a score of 9 on last year's Putnam Exam.  This placed Andrew at 1659 out of 4113 students who took the exam. Other Willamette students who participated in the Putnam last year were Katie Tucker, Georgia Mayfield, Jessica Kawana, Sawyer Rogers, Taylor Matsurmura, and Shelbi Jenkins.  Congratulations to Andrew and all the other participants.
  • On February 25, 2014, Willamette University announced that Professor Colin Starr had been promted to full professor.  Congratulations Colin!!!
  • We received news from Steve Lester (WU 2007) that he recently earned his PhD in mathematics from the University of Rochester last May and currently holds a postdoctoral position at Tel Aviv University.  Steve shared with us that he is enjoying the "opportunity to work with and learn from very strong mathematicians. There are also many opportunities for me to travel. Last October I went to Oberwolfach and next week I will be going to Gottingen."  Congratulations Steve on completing the PhD and best of luck at Tel Aviv!
  • Seniors Yumi Li and Katie Tucker recently presented at the Joint Mathematics Meetings in Baltimore, MD held January 15-18, 2014.  Yumi co-presented a talk in the AMS Special Session on Research in Mathematics by Undergraduates titled "Finite Geometry in the Card Game SET", based on work she completed at the REU at Lafayette College last summer.  Yumi also co-presented a poster in the JMM Student Poster Session with the same title and it received the Outstanding Presentation Award.  Katie co-presented a poster titled "Enumeration and Projection Dependence of 1-Singular Knots" based on her work at the Knot Theory REU at James Madison University last summer.  
  • The paper titled "Graph Invertibility" co-authored by Associate Professor Erin McNicholas and Cam McLeman, University of Michigan, Flint has been accepted for publication in the journal Graphs and Combinatorics.
  • On December 3, 2013, Associate Professor Peter Otto gave a talk titled "Rapid mixing of Glauber dynamics of Gibbs ensembles via aggregate path coupling and large deviations methods" in the Probability Seminar in the Department of Mathematics at Oregon State University.
  • More news from alumni - Ally Stacey (WU 2012) shared with us that she recently passed the qualifying exams for the PhD program in the Department of Mathematics at Oregon State University.  Congratulations Ally!
  • News from alumni - Paul Hoard (WU 2013) recently notified us that he was accepted to the Master's Program in Economics at Duke University.  Paul will start the program in January 2014.  Congratulations Paul and Good Luck!
  • As part of the International Year of Statistics, Statistics 2013 - Oregon is a Bernoulli Society sponsored public event held Saturday, October 12, 2013 at Portland State University. The event features a lecture by Tim Hesterberg of Google titled "Apps, Earthquakes, and Survival: some statistical stories from Google and beyond".  Stat 2013 - Oregon is organized by a committee of faculty members from seven Oregon universities and is co-chaired by Associate Professor Peter Otto.
  • News from alumni - Ian McGahan (WU 2013) has began working on his M.S. degree in Applied and Computational Mathematics at the University of Minnesota, Duluth.  Ian reports that the semester has been going very well.  Thanks Ian for the update and keep us posted!
  • On September 25, 2013, Associate Professor Kathyrn Nyman was awarded the Lawrence D. Cress Award for excellence in faculty scholarship.
  • The Willamette University Math Circle runs from September 24 through November 12, 2013. The Math Circle is led by Associate Professors Peter Otto and Mark Janeba with mathematics majors as student assistants.
  • The Mathematics Department welcomes two new visiting members to the faculty this year: Peter Banwarth and Jordan Purdy.
  • Mathematics professors Inga Johnson and Erin McNicholas, along with faculty members in Biology, Computer Science, Chemistry and Physics, received a 2012-2013 Hewlett Grant Award for their proposal titled STEM Colloquium Series: Promoting Interdisciplinary Communication & Collaboration.

News and events archive