Rudolph Michael Najar was born June 11, 1931 in San Fernando, California, the eldest of eight children born to Juan and Dolores (Jimenez) Najar. Juan had migrated from Mexico to California at age 17 and settled in the San Fernando Valley. Successively, he worked in the citrus orchards, became a self-employed electrician, and worked for Lockheed during World War II. At the time of his death, he was an electrical inspector. The family of Dolores Jimenez migrated to California when she was an infant. They settled in San Fernando where she met Juan. Juan and Dolores sent all their children to Catholic schools.
Rudolph graduated from St. Mary's College with a bachelor's degree in physics. He started his career as a high school science and mathematics teacher. In the early 1960s, he went to the University of Notre Dame to participate in summer session and academic year institutes for high school science and mathematics teachers supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF). After earning a master's degree in mathematics, he continued in the doctoral program. In 1967, he went ABD to teach at St. Mary's College. His Ph.D. was awarded in 1970. He was chair of the mathematics department 1969-70.
In 1970 Rudolph married Margaret Louise Smith of Pittsfield, IL whom he had met at Notre Dame. Also in 1970 he accepted a position at Wisconsin State University, Whitewater, shortly to become University of Wisconsin, Whitewater (UWW). In 1979, Rudolph was appointed Associate Dean of the College of Letters and Sciences at UWW, a position he held for eleven years under three deans. The family, now including four children, moved in 1990 when Rudolph accepted a faculty position at the California State University, Fresno. He served a three-year term, 1993-96, as chair of the department of mathematics.
In addition to teaching, Rudolph has a research interest in elementary number theory. He has directed in the last ten years two Conference Board for the Mathematical Sciences conferences and two Undergraduate Faculty Enhancement workshops, all four with NSF support. He and a colleague, Dr. Peter Tannenbaum, have just finished conducting the San Joaquin Young Scholars Mathematics Institute also with NSF support in the summer of 1998.[Dr. Najar]