Our colleague and friend Richard Duke passed away early in the morning of February 19th after an 18-month battle with lung cancer.
Richard Alter Duke was born in Geneva, Ohio in 1937, earned a bachelor's degree at Kenyon College, a master's degree at Dartmouth, and a doctorate at the University of Virginia in 1965.
After seven years at the University of Washington, Richard joined the faculty of Georgia Tech in 1972 as assistant director of the School of Mathematics. He served as interim director of the school from 1998 to 2002.
Richard published 28 mathematical papers in graph theory and combinatorics, many of them joint with Vojtech Rodl and Paul Erdos. He lectured widely in the US and Europe and held a visiting position in Bielefeld, Germany in 1991.
Richard supervised two Ph.D. dissertations, one each at Washington and Georgia Tech. He was active in national and state organizations supporting the teaching of mathematics, and he consulted for the College Board and academic publishers.
One of Richard's most important and lasting contributions to research and education in mathematics was his founding of the Institute's interdisciplinary doctoral program in Algorithms, Combinatorics, and Optimization (ACO) in 1992. He served as the chair of its coordinating committee until 2006.
This list of Richard's mathematical and academic achievements only begins to convey his contribution to the Georgia Tech community. Richard was warm, generous and inspiring.
Richard compiled a history of the first 100 years of Mathematics at Georgia Tech, 1888-1987, which is available on the school web site.
The Richard A. Duke Faculty Endowment was established In November, 2014, by a generous donation from Richard with the purpose of supporting faculty chairs in Mathematics, especially for mid-career faculty members. Those wishing to make a gift in Richard's honor are invited to add to this endowment. Please contact the School of Mathematics or the College of Sciences development office for details.