A Newsletter of the Seaway Section of the Mathematical Association of  America


Volume 29,  Number 2                                                   Spring, 2006


Fall Meeting:   Ithaca College,  April 28-29

 Ithaca College will host this Spring’s meeting on Friday, April 28 and Saturday, April 29.  

Ithaca College is a four-year private liberal arts college.   In 1892, William Grant Egbert founded the Ithaca Conservatory of Music.  Over the years, a number of other schools clustered around the Conservatory and, in 1931, the Ithaca College charter was created.  Ithaca College strives to become the standard of excellence for residential comprehensive colleges, fostering intellect, creativity, and character in an active, student-centered learning community.” (Ithaca College Vision Statement).   Ithaca College currently enrolls about 6200 students, about half of which are from New York State.   Currently there are students from 70 countries and 47 states and the College has an endowment of over 180 million dollars.   

Both the Friday evening and Saturday programs will take place on campus.  Friday evening’s activities will take place in Phillips Hall (9B on map) starting with the ever-popular social hour at 6:00 pm, followed by the banquet.  

After dinner,  Philip Krasicky of Cornell University will speak on “Learning from Each Other.. and Having Fun Doing It”. 


The meeting resumes Saturday morning at 8:40 am in Textor Hall (5 on map) with a welcoming statement by Peter Bardaglio, Provost of Ithaca College.   This will be followed by a talk by James Conklin of Ithaca College.   The talk is titled “Sudo Latin Squares”.  Jim received his undergraduate degrees in physics and mathematics from Miami University (in Ohio, not that upstart in Florida!), his masters degree from Cornell University and his Ph.D. from the University of Rochester in probability under the direction of Michael Cranston.  Prior to coming to Ithaca College, Jim taught at Allegheny College as well as the Rochester and Cornell; at Cornell he received the Clark Award for Distinguished Teaching.  At Ithaca College he has served as department chair and interim associate dean.  Jim is also the 2005 recipient of Clarence F. Stephens Distinguished Teaching Award within the Seaway Section. His current major mathematical interests are in probability, mathematical biology and mathematical economics.  His favorite escape from e-mail and voice-mail is going off camping and hiking with his family.


After a short break, the talks resume at 9:45 with this year’s Harry M. Gehman Lecture “The Geometry of Relaxation Oscillations” by John Guckenheimer of Cornell University.  John earned his PhD from Berkeley in 1970, as a student of Stephen Smale. He has held long term positions at University of California, Santa Cruz (1973-85) and Cornell (1985-present). He served as president of SIAM 1997-98. He is currently Associate Dean of Computing and Information Sciences at Cornell University and Director of Cornell IGERT Program in Nonlinear Systems.  His research interests focus on dynamical systems and their applications. 


This will be followed, at 10:35 by a Business Meeting. 


The morning program ends with the Polya lecture.  The Polya lectureship was established by the MAA in 1990 to embody the high standards of exposition exemplified by George Polya. Each year the MAA appoints two outstanding speakers to be Polya lecturers and the MAA sponsors a Polya lecture for each section every five years.  Our Polya lecturer is Steven Rudich of Carnegie-Mellon University who will speak on “A Bird’s Eye View of the P vs. NP Problem”.   Steven has been a Professor of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University since 1990. He received his PhD. in Computer Science from the University of California at Berkeley under the advisor ship of Manuel Blum. Professor Rudich's research expertise is in computational complexity theory, the mathematical foundations of cryptography, and in the often surprising interplay between the two areas. He has a special interest in the history, status, and resolution of the P vs NP question. Professor Rudich is the recipient of Carnegie Mellon's departmental and university-wide awards for teaching excellence, and was chosen by the Mathematical Association of America as Polya Lecturer (2004-2006). He is the director of Andrew's Leap, which is a summer program for gifted high school aged students to gain exposure to all aspects of computer science. Steven Rudich is also a gourmet cook and a professional close-up magician.


After lunch at noon in the Phillips Hall (9B on map),  the conference resumes in Williams Hall (7 on map).  Starting at  1:30, there will be several parallel sessions of contributed talks.   Of special note is a panel discussion “Activities and Manipulatives in Proof Intensive Classes” from 2:30-3:55,  a collection of “Teachers’ Masters Capstone Projects in Secondary and College Mathematics”, and a session of student talks. 


Some links to details:






On-line Registration Form:




Maps and Local Information:


Just for Students: 


The Whole Darn Thing:



And Thanks very much to our Local Organizer:

Tom Pfaff,, (607) 274-7066


The MAAthematical Tourist

In its earliest years during frontier days, what is now Ithaca was briefly known by the names "The Flats" and "Sodom”, the name of the Biblical city of sin, due to its reputation as a town of readily-available loose pleasures. The inhabitants of the Ithaca area at the time of European expansion were the Sapony and Tutelo Indians, dependent tribes of the Cayuga Indians who formed part of the Iroquois confederation. These names did not last long; Simeon Dewitt renamed the town Ithaca in the early 1800s named for the Greek island of Ithaca in Homer's Odyssey

The City of Ithaca sits on the southern shore of Cayuga Lake, in Central New York State and is the center of the Ithaca metropolitan area and county seat of Tompkins County, New York. As of 2000, the city had a population of 29,287, and the metropolitan area had a population of 100,135. Ithaca is the smallest metropolitan statistical area in New York State.  Ithaca became a city in 1888 and remained a small manufacturing and retail center until the recent education boom.

Ithaca was nationally known for the Ithaca Gun Company, makers of highly-valued shotguns, and Ithaca Calendar Clocks. The largest industry was the Morse Chain company, still active in Lansing as BorgWarner Morse. In the post-war decades National Cash Register and the Langmuir research labs of General Electric were also major employers.

Cornell University was founded by Ezra Cornell in 1865. It was coeducational from its inception, which was extremely unusual at the time. Ezra Cornell also established a public library for the city. Ithaca College was founded as the Ithaca Conservatory of Music in 1892.

During the early 20th century, Ithaca was an important center in the silent film industry. The most common type of film produced was the cliffhanger serial, and the films often featured the local natural scenery. Many of these films were the work of Leopold Wharton and his brother Theodore Wharton in their studio on the site of what is now Stewart Park. Eventually the film industry centralized in Hollywood, which offered the possibility of year-round filming, and film production in Ithaca effectively ceased. Few of the silent films made in Ithaca are preserved today.

Books set (at least partially) in Ithaca

Notable residents and natives

Points of interest

Nearby Parks, Major Trails, and Outdoor Recreation

The Ithaca area is home to beautiful outdoor recreation, including an extensive system of pedestrian, hiking, skiing, snowmobile, and bicycling trails. See Trails in Ithaca, New York.


Source:  Wikepedia- The Free Encylopedia (



Future File


The Fall meeting for 2006 will be a joint meeting with the Metro section at Marist

College in Poughkeepsie on October 13-14.


Chairman’s Report

        Gary Towsley


      The Spring Meeting is less than a month away and I am looking forward to the

springtime drive from Geneseo to Ithaca. I am also looking forward to the excellent group

of speakers we have for Saturday morning.

      I would like to congratulate Morris Orzech of Queens University on being chosen as

this year's recipient of the Clarence Stephens Award for Distinguished Teaching. Morris

will be presented with the award at the banquet on Friday night (April 28)

     The Fall meeting for 2006 will be a joint meeting with the Metro section at Marist

College on October 13-14. This brings up the fact that we have not settled the sites for

the meetings of 2007. This means that you are all welcome to host either of those

meetings. We have some preliminary discussions with possible hosts but at the moment if

you would like to be the host the dates are open. Let me know if you are interested and

have questions about the duties of the host institution. My e-mail is


Governor’s Report

             Luise-Charlotte Kappe

Greetings from San Antonio, my favorite place for Winter meetings:
sunshine, no coats, sitting outside in a restaurant on the Riverwalk
in good company watching the world go by, and last but not least, the
Hotel Menger. (In case you don't know, Menger is my maiden name which
I chose as my log-in, but so far no discounts at the hotel.)  I agree
with  Ann Watkins that we long for that direct human interaction
in this age of saturation with instant electronic communication,
and that is why the annual meetings have gotten bigger instead of
smaller over the last couple of years.  Professors see their former
students and vice versa.  We meet old friends and make new ones.
Come to New Orleans next January for the Joint Meetings, in particular
if you missed out on San Antonio!  We have been told that New Orleans
would be up and running by then and ready for the onslaught of
several thousands of mathematicians.

San Antonio was also the last of my six meetings of the Board
of Governors I attended.  My term as Governor of the Seaway Section
will end by June 30.  Elections for my successor are under way. 
They will be held by mail with an option to cast your vote over
the internet.  I urge you to cast your vote. When I started on the
Board of Governors, I asked myself how I would survive those eight
hours of meeting time.  It went better than I thought.  A good lunch
with interesting conversation in the middle helped in breaking up
the long hours.  From my days on the Faculty Senate in Binghamton
I came with some misconceptions on what my role would be on the board.
It was much more passive than I had expected.  We were read to and talked
to a lot and voting was for the most part approval voting.  The role
of debates was usually for generating input for a proposal the
executive committee was preparing.  The next time around this proposal
reflecting the input would come before the board for approval.  As
usual, some of the things which happened on the sidelines of the board
meeting were of primary importance to me, such as exchange of ideas and
information between the governors of the different sections.

There are plenty of things left to do for my successor together with the
executive committee of our section:  Our section's input to the MAA
for the centennial celebration in 2015 and a formal review of our
bylaws which should happen about every ten years, and lastly a
territorial adjustment of the Seaway Section.  For a long time
those people in our section living around Windsor, ON, across the
border from Detroit have been involved in the activities of the
Michigan Section.  Looking at the map, it is clear that geography is
the reason for this.  Making an adjustment has nothing to do with giving
up territorial rights but with better serving these members.  So far
I found out how this adjustment can be done:  The three governors
involved (Michigan, Seaway, governor-at-large for Canada) have to get
together and submit a proposal to that effect to the MAA.

In the twelve years since I became an officer of the Seaway Section,
many things have changed, in particular how we communicate with each
other.  There was no website, no e-mail list for liaisons and the
Seaway Current was strictly on paper.  What I said at the beginning
about the annual meetings providing us with the human interaction we
need holds likewise for the section meetings and you can get it there
for a fraction of the cost.  So I hope to see you at our Spring
meeting, April 28 and 29, at Ithaca College and mark your calendar
for the Fall meeting which will be joint with the Metro Section at
Marist College in Poughkeepsie, October 13 and 14. 


Report of the Nomination Committee

        John Maceli

Bob Rogers has been elected Section Governor to replace Luise-Charlotte Kappe.  Thanks to both Bob Rogers (Fredonia)and Jack Narayan (Oswego)for their willingness to run and serve.

        At the meeting at Ithaca College we will have two elections-- one for first vice -chair and one for chair-elect--Gary Towsley will ask for nominees from the floor but we have one candidate for each position. Margaret Morrow (Plattsburgh)will run for chair-elect and Dawn Jones (Brockport) will run for Vice-Chair.  We thank them for their willingness to serve.

Report of the Clarence Stephens Award Committee

            Olympia Nicodemi


The Seaway Section of the MAA is proud to announce that Morris Orzech of Queen's

University is the winner of The Clarence Stephens Award for Distinguished College or

University Teaching of Mathematics for 2006. Morris's complete and passionate dedication

to fine teaching has affected all who have encountered him professionally: the

undergraduate in his creatively taught linear algebra class; the graduate student

learning to teach under his supervision; the hesitant technology user; all of us in the

MAA who have been inspired by his eloquently shared insights on teaching; all of us who

have benefited from his years of service to the MAA. Our deepest thanks go with this




Treasurer’s Report




Beginning Balance: (June 30, 2005)                                                                 $10,770.10




                MAA subvention                                1400.00

Project NExT Reimbursement                             602.00

MAA spring booksale commission                  64.57

Fall MAA Book Sale                                           172.50

                Fall Meeting Receipts                                         4835.00


                Total                                                                                                                       $7,074.07




Fall MAA Book Sale                                           172.50

Speakers’ Expenses                                             320.65

Honorariums                                                         200.00

Meeting expenses                                                4301.50

Total                                                                                                       $4,994.65


Ending Balance (Dec. 31, 2005)                                                         $12,849.52


Minutes of Business Meeting


MAA Fall 2005 Business Meeting at SUNY at Geneseo

By Leonard T. Malinowski


Gary Towsley opened the meeting. The minutes of the Spring 2005 business meeting were presented and approved. Gary thanked the local organizing committee comprised of Jeff Johannes, Melissa Sutherland, and other members of Geneseo’s mathematics department.


Luise-Charlotte Kappe informed the section that her term as governor ends on June 30th of 2006 and that there will be elections for a new governor this spring. Her full report is on the section Website and in the electronic version of the newsletter, the Seaway Current. She informed the section of China being the on the list of tours by MAA for this coming year. Last but not least, she told the section of discussions taking place for a new dues structure.


The treasurer’s report was presented both at this meeting and in the section newsletter. The treasurer’s report was approved as presented. It appears the section is in a good position to eventually take over the funding of the section’s Project NExT activities in the future.


The First-Vice Chair for the section announced that the Spring 2006 meeting will be at Ithaca College on April 28th and 29th with Steven Rudich as the Polya Lecturer. The Fall 2006 meeting is being planned as a joint meeting with the MAA Metropolitan Section at Marist College for October 13th and 14th. A planning committee from both sections is being formed for this meeting.


Gary Towsley gave the Executive Committee report. Sam Northshield is the new editor of the Seaway Current and Jeff Johannes is the new Liaison Coordinator for the section. The Seaway Current is going to be an electronic newsletter. Post cards will be sent to members of the section before the section meeting with information about the meeting and a notice that the section newsletter will be available in electronic form. If need be, members without access to the electronic version of the newsletter may request a printed hardcopy version. Luise-Charlotte Kappe and Margaret Morrow will be serving as members of our section on the planning committee for the joint meeting with the MAA metropolitan section for the Fall 2006 meeting.


The nominees for the section governor are Bob Rogers and Jack Narayan. The nominations committee is seeking nominees for the positions of First-Vice Chair and Chair Elect. Having no other old or new business, Gary Towsley adjourned the meeting.



Departmental News


               Buffalo State

Valentin Brimkov, who joined our department in Fall 05, has been named a recipient of The Wilkes Award for the best paper published in a volume of The Computer Journal. The paper was published jointly with Renata P. Barneva. It’s  'Analytical honeycomb geometry for raster and volume graphics' in Volume 48(2),180-199.


               Colgate University

We have hired Brian Wynne (B.A. Colgate,Ph.D. Wesleyan) for an additional two years.


               Erie Community College- City Campus

Mr. Adrian Ranic just got promoted In January 2006 from NTTP (Non-Teaching Technical Professional) in the Math Lab at ECC City Campus to Mathematics Instructor at ECC North Campus.  Go Adrian!


               Houghton College

We have just hired Kristin Camenga, who will receive her Ph.D. in

Mathematics at Cornell University this August. Her email address is:, in case you would like to ask her a few

questions. You can also reply to me and I can tell you what I know! In

any case, we're excited that she is coming to join us.


               Nazareth College

The Chair of the Math department Susan Riegle has been promoted to Associate



               St. John Fisher College

The Department of Mathematical and Computing Sciences will welcome two new faculty members in September 2006.  The first is Dr. Ryan Gantner from the Univ of Minnesota in Mathematics, and Dr. Scott Harrison from the Univ of Idaho in Computer Science.


               Schenectady County Community College

Department liaison Laurie Lacey will be promoted to full professor.


               Skidmore College

The Mathematics and Computer Science Department at Skidmore College has

hired Rachel Roe-Dale, who received her Ph. D. from RPI in December

2005, for a tenure-track position beginning in fall 2006.  Rachel joined

us last fall in a one-year visiting position; we are very pleased that

she has chosen to extend her stay!



We at SUNY Fredonia are happy to have Dr. Lan Cheng as a new assistant

professor this year.  She started here in August and defended her

dissertation at the University of Pittsburgh and officially became Dr.

Cheng in October!  She is in financial mathematics and partial

differential equations.  Next August we will be welcoming Dr. Jonathan

Cox and Teadora Cox.  Jonathan's Ph.D. is from Oklahoma State University

in  algebraic geometry.  Tedi is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of

Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in mathematics education.  They will be

moving here with their young son from the University of Louisiana at Monroe.

Dr. James McKenna retired in May 2005 after 39 years of teaching at SUNY

Fredonia.  Thank you Jim for many years of wonderful service!



Melissa Sutherland was selected to receive the

chancellor's award for excellence in teaching.




Joanne Kossegi, our Seaway Section liaison, retired at the end of the year



               Tompkins-Cortland Community College

Dr. Joseph Meeks, Nancy Siemon, and Carol Janik

are all retiring at the end of this spring 2006.  Two new faculty

members are currently being searched for.


               University of Rochester

There's been a lot of hiring:  see
There's also a page about departing postdocs:
That's the main news around here, except that Steve Gonek has been the new
chairman for about 9 months.  Oh, also, there will be a summer school and
conference here on random matrices and number theory:




Program Committee (P)


Margaret Morrow, SUNY Plattsburgh (Chair)




Julie Held, Corning CC (ex-officio)




Sam Northshield, SUNY Plattsburgh




Student Program Committee (SP)


Jeff Johannes, SUNY Geneseo (Chair)




Daniel Birmajer, Nazareth College




Erica Johnson, St. John Fisher College




Margaret Morrow, SUNY Plattsburgh




Educational Policies Committee (EPC)


Stephen West, SUNY Geneseo (Chair)




Joe Straight, SUNY Fredonia




Carol Bell, SUNY Cortland




Ken Mead, Genesee CC




Luise-Charlotte Kappe (ex-officio)




Gehman Lecture Committee (GL)


Bill Hooper, Clarkson University (Chair)




Hossein Shahmohamad, RIT




Cheri Boyd, Nazareth College (ex-officio)




Randolph Lecture Committee (RL)


Maureen Cox, St. Bonaventure University (Chair)




Jack Narayan, SUNY Oswego




Melissa Sutherland, SUNY Geneseo




Julie Held, Corning CC (ex-officio)




Distinguished Teaching Award Committee (DTA)


Olympia Nicodemi, SUNY Geneseo (Chair)




Robert Rogers, SUNY at Fredonia




Jim Conklin, Ithaca College




Len Malinowski, Finger Lakes CC (ex-officio)




Seaway NExT/PFF Advisory Committee


Carol Bell, SUNY Cortland (Chair)




Olympia Nicodemi, SUNY Geneseo




Blair Madore, SUNY Potsdam




Cristina Bacuta




Joel Foisy, SUNY Potsdam




Michael Gage, University of Rochester




Luise Kappe, SUNY Binghamton




Bill Hooper, Clarkson University




Nominations Committee


John Maceli, Ithaca College (Chair)




Mark McKinzie, Monroe CC




Grace Orzech, Queen's University















The Seaway Current


The Seaway Current is published twice per year by the Seaway Section of the Mathematical Association of America for the benefit of its members.  Its pages are open to all members of the MAA and, by invitation to others, for the exchange of information and opinion.  Contributed announcements, articles, and editorials are welcome and should be sent to the editor. 


Material may be submitted on paper, by e-mail, on 3.5” computer diskette, or on CD.  Presently, this newsletter is produced using Microsoft Word, which can import plain text files or files produced by most standard word-processing software.  The deadline for submission for the Spring 2006 meeting is Friday, April 14, 2006. 


Opinions expressed in this newsletter are those of the editor or of individual contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of the MAA or of the Seaway Section.




Sam Northshield

Dept. of Mathematics

SUNY Plattsburgh

Plattsburgh, NY 12901

Tel:  518-564-4135

Fax:  518-564-4124