January 15, 2009
The MAA has received one of the largest donations in its history: a $400,000 bequest toward the support of Project NExT. It came from mathematician Richard A. Good, who had taught at the University of Maryland and died on Nov. 24, 2008, at the age of 91.
Started in 1994, Project NExT is an MAA professional development program for new or recent Ph.D.s in the mathematical sciences. Participants attend workshops and other events and develop a network of peers and mentors as they assume academic careers that encompass teaching, research and scholarship, and professional activities.
Prof. Good's interest in, and enthusiasm for, Project NExT grew as he learned about the program and better understood what his donations could do for new faculty members of the mathematical community. His bequest continued that support for Project NExT.
Prof. Good always communicated via handsomely typed letters and by phone calls—never email. He even typed his annual donation checks to the MAA. Prof. Good also asked that these donations be listed as "anonymous." In 2007, the MAA inducted him into the Icosahedron Society, which publicly recognizes the Association's most generous donors.
Cordial and gracious, Prof. Good grew up during the Depression. He graduated from Ashland College, Ohio, as valedictorian in 1939, and earned his Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Wisconsin in 1946. He then moved to University Park, Md., and stayed there the rest of his life.
Teaching at the University of Maryland for 43 years, Prof. Good was known for his sense of humor, his innovative teaching methods, and his interest in mathematics education. He co-authored "new math" approaches to teaching high school students. One of his graduate students won a Nobel Prize.
Reminiscences and other notes about Richard Good, provided by University of Maryland colleagues, Project NExT Director T. Chris Stevens, NExT Fellows, and others, will appear in a future issue of MAA FOCUS.