PROFESSOR JOSEPH W. ANDRUSHKIW (1906 – 1984)
BY Dr. John J. Saccoman (1939-2019)
The advent of Sputnik in 1957 and the ensuing space race saw an expansion of mathematics and science departments at all universities and colleges in the U. S. Seton Hall University was fortunate to have the guiding hand of Joseph W. Andrushkiw during this period. Under his guidance the Mathematics Department modernized its curriculum, increased its enrollment, and instituted a graduate program.
Born in Ukraine (1906), Professor Andrushkiw studied Mathematics there receiving a Master’s degree attending some classes taught by Stefan Banach who is sometimes referred to as the Father of Functional Analysis. Although he wanted to go on to study for his doctorate, WWII intervened and interrupted his studies. After the war, which included some time in a POW camp, he completed his doctoral studies under Oskar Perron in Germany. He then emigrated to the
- S. with his family in 1949 and began teaching at Seton Hall in 1955.
Professor Andrushkiw was well known for the breadth and depth of his knowledge of Mathematics and his penchant for solving mathematical problems at the drop of a hat. Students would think nothing of approaching him as he walked across campus to ask him for help on a mathematical problem and invariably he would stop and help them. Because of his mentorship and guidance, many of his students went on to graduate study and received their doctorates. While some came back to teach at Seton Hall, there are quite a few of his former students who are teaching at high schools, colleges and universities across the country. Obviously Professor Andrushkiw has had an impact on the mathematics teaching community.
He was also a far-sighted individual. Professor Andrushkiw was ahead of his time, by about 40 years, by having some of his students work on undergraduate research problems in mathematics. Only recently has this become common practice at most universities. When he became chair of the Mathematics Department in 1961, not only did he strengthen the Mathematics curriculum, but also initiated some courses in Computer Science; again before it was common practice to have such courses for undergraduates.
In 1986, a few years after his death, several members of the department thought it would be fitting to honor his memory by having a high school mathematics competition in his name. The fact that this competition is still being held is not only a tribute to the thousands of students who participated in it but also to the memory of Professor Joseph Andrushkiw.