UTPA honors memory of former mathematics professor
Contact: Melissa Vasquez 316-7192
Posted: 11/08/2002
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Dr. Joseph Wiener left behind a world-class legacy of research in mathematics at The University of Texas-Pan American, and to honor his passion for teaching and research, the University dedicated a lecture hall in his name in the Mathematics and General Classroom (MAGC) Building Friday, Nov. 8.

A dedication ceremony of the Dr. Joseph Wiener Lecture Hall was held Nov. 8 in the MAGC building. Pictured are left to right, back row, Jose F. Alvarado, UTPA math professor and master of ceremonies; Emiliano Giudici, recipient of the Joseph Wiener Scholarship; Edward Wiener, son of Joseph Wiener; Bella Wiener, wife of Joseph Wiener; Dr. Rodolfo Arevalo, provost/vice president for Academic Affairs; Roland S. Arriola, vice president for External Affairs; and Dr. John Villarreal, interim dean for the College of Science and Engineering. Bottom row, students of Wiener and members of the Joseph Wiener Society of Mathematics.

Wiener -who passed away in August 2001 after an automobile accident - taught mathematics at UTPA for 23 years. Throughout his career he inspired hundreds of students and colleagues with his knowledge and love of the field said Bella Wiener, Wiener's wife and UTPA mathematics lecturer.

"I would describe my husband as a man who loved his family, University, and mathematics above all else, and who left behind a world-class legacy of research in mathematics, excellence in teaching, a passionate desire to improve the state of higher education in our region, and repeated success in bringing international attention to The University of Texas-Pan American," Wiener said.

Wiener said her husband would have been very proud of the hall dedication because he loved the University. Through this honor she said her husband's memory lives on for former students to remember and incoming students to learn about his contributions.

Dr. Rodolfo Arévalo, provost/vice president for Academic Affairs said dedicating the hall in memory of Wiener was an effort made by many.

"This commemoration of this lecture hall is one that everyone has supported," he said. "Dr. Wiener always made an effort to bring Mathematics to life in the lives of others."

His research interests attracted international attention and spanned the areas of differential equations, generalized functions, hybrid dynamical systems and mathematical modeling. He wrote more than 150 articles and four books, served on editorial boards of three journals and received three University Distinguished Faculty awards.

UTPA Professor Bella Wiener speaks during the dedication ceremony of her husband, Dr. Joseph Wiener.

"As his family, we are proud of his achievements, the recognition by the University, and the values that he instilled in us," said Wiener's son Edward. "We view the dedication of the 'Joseph Wiener Lecture Hall' as a noble testament to his humanity and stature as a mathematician, educator, and mentor to the thousands of people whose lives, like ours, were made better by his."

In honor of Wiener, the University has also set up an endowed mathematics scholarship for students. The scholarship has currently collected $36,000.

"We're very happy to work with the Wiener family and all the individuals who have contributed in establishing this scholarship," said Roland S. Arriola, vice president for External Affairs. "The scholarship will allow mathematics students the opportunity to grow in the field, and this will serve as a tribute to the legacy of this outstanding individual."

Wiener received a Ph.D. in mathematics at the University of Leningrad in 1964. He immigrated to the United States in November 1978 with his wife, and two children.

He was survived by his wife, Bella; children, Edward Wiener and Lilia Jolibois; son-in-law, Didier Jolibois; and granddaughter, Juliette Jolibois.

Donations to the Joseph Wiener Memorial Scholarship in Mathematics can be made online at