In Memory of Gary Seitz

headshot of Gary Seitz

Professor Emeritus Gary Seitz passed away on Oct. 30, 2023. For 35 years, Seitz was a faculty member of the Department of Mathematics, serving as the department head at times and later as associate dean of the Division of Natural Sciences and publishing research.

Born in Santa Monica, California, in 1943, Seitz received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mathematics from the University of California, Berkeley. He received his PhD from the University of Oregon in 1968 under the direction of Charles Curtis. He returned to the UO two years later in 1970 as an assistant professor. He was promoted to associate professor in 1972 and to professor in 1977.

During his tenure at the UO, Seitz held various high posts. He served as head of the Department of Mathematics from 1994 to 1997 and 1998 to 2001. In 2000, he was named a CAS Distinguished Professor, and later he served as Associate Dean of Natural Sciences. Seitz retired in 2005 but continued to publish research papers throughout the rest of his life. He was named a Fellow of the American Mathematical Society in 2013.

Seitz was an internationally recognized researcher in group theory and representation theory, specializing in algebraic and finite groups. He published more than 90 journal articles and books on the subject, from 1968 through 2022. He was an important contributor to the classification of finite simple groups, one of the major results of 20th-century mathematics. He supervised 10 PhD students at UO and held visiting faculty positions at Cal Tech, IHES, Cambridge, Aarhus, Technion and many other universities. Seitz was known in the department for his dedication to mathematics and UO, his positive spirit, and as a model for being a mathematician and a faculty member.

Seitz is remembered in the department not only for his mathematical accomplishments and impact but for his work leading the department and recruiting and mentoring students and faculty. He was invested in the success of every member of the department and worked to create an environment that would foster that success.