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Faculty Endowment Opportunities

Your gift will help the Department of Mathematics support outstanding faculty by enabling them to do what they do best: generate exciting activity, support young scholars, and solve tomorrow's problems today.

The activities supported by faculty endowments contribute profoundly to all aspects of the department's mission by putting resources directly in the hands of faculty so they can focus on the research and teaching that they do best.

There are many opportunities to invest in outstanding faculty:

What does it cost to create a position?

Gifts in smaller amounts are also welcome, as they will earn interest until the balance grows to the level needed to create an endowment.


If you would like more information about giving to the Department of Mathematics, please contact:
Evan Tammen
Assistant Director of Development
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
(217) 300-5114

Why become a donor?

The Lackner Professorship was made possible by the generosity of Lois M. Lackner who earned her BS and MS degrees in the teaching of mathematics, and a PhD in education, all at Illinois. She is associate professor emerita at Loyola University of Chicago. She authored articles on mathematics teaching and wrote 4th and 5th grade teachers’ editions for a Harper and Rowe mathematics series.

“Some of the most rewarding times in my life were spent at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, which prepared me well for my professional career and led to my financial success. With gratitude, I was happy to provide a professorship in mathematics so that the University can continue its journey of academic excellence.” — Lois M. Lackner

The Fine Professorship was made possible by the generosity of Ken and Rebecca Fine, who established the professorship in memory of Ken’s parents, Morris and Gertrude Fine. Dr. Fine received his BS, MS, and PhD degrees in mathematics from Illinois. His career included 30 years of executive, management and engineering experience in the semiconductor and computer industries.

“Rebecca and I are fortunate to be able to endow a professorship, to a large extent because of the quality of my education and the support and encouragement I received during my student days. Our way to say “thank you” is to provide funds so that the preeminence of the math department will endure through adding outstanding faculty, ensuring that the opportunity for a superior education is available to students today and into the future. I can’t think of a more appropriate means to express our gratitude.“ — Ken Fine

Our current endowed professorships

The department currently has two endowed professors, Rui Loja Fernandes and Philippe Di Francesco, who joined the faculty in 2014.

Rui Loja FernandesRui Loja Fernandes is the Lois M. Lackner Distinguished Professor in Mathematics. Fernandes’s recent research on Poisson geometry, integrable systems and Lie theory has led to ground-breaking publications in Inventiones Mathematicae and the Annals of Mathematics. “Funding from the Lackner Professorship has made it possible for me to interact in various modes for collaboration and research which are critical for success and leadership in my field,” says Professor Fernandes.

Philiippe Di FrancescoPhilippe Di Francesco is the Morris and Gertrude Fine Distinguished Professor of Mathematics. He has published over 100 papers in enumerative and algebraic combinatorics, integrable models of statistical physics and, more broadly, physical mathematics. Professor Di Francesco says that “Funding from the Fine Professorship has enabled me to focus on pressing problems in my field, make timely contributions, and help set the agenda for developing my field by making it possible for me travel to meet with leading researchers around the world.”