Verhey family gifts will support math education programs

October 1, 2007

Professor Emeritus Roger Verhey (left), director of the Center for Mathematics Education, receives assistance from Prof. John Gillespie (middle), chair of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, during a ribbon-cutting ceremony last month to rename the department’s library to the Roger F. Verhey Mathematics Library, as Verhey’s wife, Norma (right), and two of his grandchildren look on.

DEARBORN / Oct. 1, 2007---For years, Prof. Emeritus Roger Verhey, director of the Center for Mathematics Education at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, has been a state leader in programs to improve math education in schools at the elementary and secondary levels.

So it was no surprise when Verhey’s wife, Norma, and his four daughters--Beth, Kristen, Karen and Ann--recently gave $30,000 to UM-Dearborn to establish two endowed funds to support the campus’s Department of Mathematics and Statistics and the Center for Mathematics Education in the years to come.

A ceremony to rename the mathematics library to the Roger F. Verhey Mathematics Library, as well as celebrate Verhey’s retirement, was held in the atrium of the campus's College of Arts, Sciences, and Letters building last month.

“The Roger Verhey family was very generous in creating these funds and providing a great deal of flexibility in how they may be used,” according to Prof. John Gillespie, chair of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics. “These endowed funds will produce income that will support mathematics and mathematics education at UM-Dearborn for years. This may include bringing speakers to campus, sponsoring workshops in mathematics, statistics or mathematics education, and upgrading the mathematics library, now named in honor of Roger.”

The first endowment, the Roger F. and Norma J. Verhey Mathematics Strategic Initiatives Fund, will support high priority needs within the Department of Mathematics and Statistics.

The second endowment, the Roger F. and Norma J. Verhey Center for Math Education Fund, will support the campus’s Center for Mathematics Education, an initiative Roger Verhey established in 2001 to develop and deliver professional development courses for classroom teachers that deepen teachers’ understanding of the mathematics they teach and enhance their teaching practices to better reach all students.

Among other projects, the Center has had a strong focus on working with middle-school math teachers in southeastern Michigan working directly with Detroit Public Schools, Taylor Public Schools and with school districts in Wayne, Oakland and Washtenaw counties through their intermediate school districts.

Over the course of his career, Verhey helped generations of students prepare to teach mathematics at the elementary and secondary levels, and he wrote numerous articles and presented papers at state and national conferences.

He was active in the Michigan Council of Teachers of Mathematics and served as president in 2002. He received the group’s service award in 2000 and the Award for Outstanding Achievement in Mathematics Education in 2004.

Verhey joined the UM-Dearborn mathematics faculty in 1965, was appointed to associate professor with tenure in 1968 and professor in 1972. He also was appointed professor of education in 1987.

At UM-Dearborn, he served as chair of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics from 1971 to 1977, and was director of the computer and information science program from 1983 to 1987. He also served as chair of the Dearborn graduate studies board and was a member of the executive board of the Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies from 1990 to 1999.

Verhey received his bachelor’s degree from Calvin College in 1960, and his master’s and doctoral degrees at the U-M Ann Arbor campus in 1961 and 1966. He was a Fulbright Lecturer in mathematics in Sri Lanka in 1969-1970.

 

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