Recent Obituaries
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Jorge M. López ’67

December 30, 2021, in Aguas Buenas, Puerto Rico.

Contributed by Peter Greenfield ’67

Jorge came to Reed from Puerto Rico, where he was born. He returned to Puerto Rico after receiving his PhD in mathematics from the University of Oregon. At Reed, he focused on both mathematics and physics, but ultimately wrote a mathematics thesis, “Integration over Locally Compact Spaces and Haar Measure,” advised by Prof. Larry Edison [math 1964–70]. He was active in student opposition to the Vietnam War.  And he was an encouraging classmate and supportive friend to many who had the good fortune to know him.

After returning to Puerto Rico, Jorge played a key role in the mathematics program at the University of Puerto Rico from 1975 to 2016. He was instrumental in the creation of a doctoral program in mathematics, and he chaired the department for eight years. He was also a visiting professor or scholar at Harvard, UC Berkeley, Utrecht University in the Netherlands, and the Instituto Superior Politécnico José Antonio Echeverría in Cuba.

Jorge was passionate about mathematics and also about mathematics education, responding in part to challenges faced by students who arrived at UPR with less than excellent preparation.  In collaboration with UPR colleagues and others, he published widely about curriculum development and pedagogy, applying a “math in context” or “realistic mathematics” approach, and he conducted workshops for teachers in Puerto Rico, Mexico, Cuba, and elsewhere.  In Puerto Rico, he founded and directed the Centros Regionales de Adiestramiento en Instrucción Matemática (Regional Centers for Training in Mathematics Instruction), an ongoing program that provides in-service training for teachers of all grade levels, and that develops instructional materials for local use and enrichment activities for talented students. Colleagues who had been involved in the program and many others who knew him as a mentor and a friend gathered at the University of Puerto Rico in March to pay tribute to his inspirational leadership. 

Jorge is survived by his wife, Aileen Velazquez, and his sons, Jorge F. López, Carlos Lezama, Victor M. López, and Leonardo L. López. 

Appeared in Reed magazine: June 2022

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