The Department of Mathematics strives to provide its students with the best possible educational experiences and opportunities. There is never enough funding to be able to do all the things that we would like to do, and the gap between what the State pays for and what we would like to be able to fund remains large.
Student scholarships and tuition waivers are critical to meeting the needs of our most disadvantaged students, as well as helping us to attract and retain the most highly capable ones. Donations provided through our three scholarship funds go a good way towards meeting some of these needs. The Math Memorial Scholarship, established in memory of former Math Department colleagues, and the Math Scholarship fund, support students with declared majors in the Department of Mathematics. The William Wade Haggard Scholarship Fund, named for Western’s longest serving president, supports students majoring in mathematics education. In the last financial year, students received a total of $4200 in scholarships through these funds.
Donations to the Mathematics Department General Fund are used for multiple purposes, one of which is to augment the number and value of student scholarships provided by the scholarship funds. We are also experiencing rapid growth in the number of students participating in mathematical conferences and contests; the travel and other participation costs of these students are also largely met by funds from this source. Certain faculty professional travel and recruitment costs are also supported by this means. Even rather mundane but critical expenses, such as emergency computer hardware replacements, and the recent purchase of 24 chairs to replace decrepit furniture in the Math Center and in our computer lab, come from this source. In short, these funds give us an invaluable cushion to use to meet excess and unanticipated emergent needs that we cannot meet from our very limited standard operating funds.
Donations to the WWU Great Puzzle Hunt fund support an exciting new annual competition that is the brainchild of Mathematics Professor Millie Johnson. Millie and her team create a new, ingenious set of puzzles each year for a scavenger hunt adventure. In its third year, this competition has quickly become a popular event for Western students, and with the addition of community and alumni divisions, it draws puzzlers from Seattle and beyond.
While our funding needs are extensive, it is gratifying to report that the financial support of our friends and alumni remains strong and continues to grow. During the most recent financial year a total of 96 donors provided a total of $31,965, which represents substantial growth from the levels of giving we experienced 5 years ago. Your contributions make a significant difference to our students and programs, and are very much appreciated.