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Mathematics Department Receives Alumni Gift BENEDIKTSSON-KARWA FACULTY CHAIR AWARDED TO FRANCIS SU


own work the central role that mathematics plays in any scientific or technical field. Teir generosity will leave a lasting impact on the mathematics program and many generations of Mudders.” Su’s work has been recognized by the Math-


John Benediktsson ’01 and Rajashree Karwa


During his early years of employment, John Benediktsson ’01 said that he realized some of his success was due to his “Mudd education, the fantastic professors and the close friendships with classmates.” He decided to reconnect with the College and, in 2008, accepted the offer to join the board of trustees where he could contribute to the management of the College. He serves on the Investment and Board Affairs committees. His involvement has grown, and recently, Benediktsson and


his wife, Rajashree Karwa, established the Benediktsson-Karwa Endowed Faculty Chair. Mathematics Professor Francis Su is the first to be named to the chair. “At Harvey Mudd College, math forms an essential part


of the Core curriculum and is a critical component to the curriculums of every major offered,” said Benediktsson. “Rajashree and I believe that sup- porting the math department supports every department to the benefit of all students.” “I’m very honored to hold the Benediktsson-


Karwa professorship,” said Su, a member of the HMC faculty since 1996 and acting chair of the Department of Mathematics. “I’m especially pleased because I know John and Rajashree to be wonderful people. Tey greatly value the work of the College in the lives of students, and they have exhibited in their


4 Har vey Mudd College FALL/WINTER 2012


ematical Association of America with the Hen- ry L. Alder Award for Distinguished Teaching by a Beginning College or University Mathe- matics Faculty Member (2004) and the Merten M. Hasse Prize for outstanding mathematical exposition (2001). He has been awarded three National Science Foundation grants that utilize methods from combinatorics, topology and geometry to study problems in mathematical economics and the social sciences; in particular, problems related to voting and fair allocation. In addition to his teaching and research activi- ties, Su served as vice-president of the Mathe- matical Association of America and is the creator of the award-winning Math Fun Facts website.


Benediktsson and Karwa are both engineers and have pro-


ductive careers in the financial industry. Benediktsson graduated from HMC with an engineering degree and an interest in computers and economics. Karwa holds a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering with honors from Cummins College of Engineering, India. “Mathematics is a foundation for success in science and


Francis Su


technology fields,” said Benediktsson. “I’ve found math to be useful for understanding data and gaining a competitive edge in mastering its implications. I’ve seen repeatedly the professional advantages that a solid math background can provide, particu- larly in the field of finance.” Benediktsson has been involved in running several electron- ic trading firms, managing their technical growth from small startups to mature, successful enterprises. Prior to working in finance, he spent several years as a senior engineer for a media technology firm. Tese days, he describes himself as an “engineer, entrepreneur, trader, technologist and angel investor.” “I’m delighted that John and Rajashree’s generosity will support Francis’ work specifically and our Depart- ment of Mathematics generally,” said Jeffrey Groves, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty.


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