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Former UA math professor remembered after death

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David Lomen, a former UA professor in mathematics, died on Nov. 15 after a three-year fight with cancer. In his memory, his family has established the David Lomen Endowed Memorial Fund, an endowment that seeks to benefit UA students in the department of mathematics.

Lomen joined the UA faculty as an assistant professor in 1966 where he held various positions over a 45 year career before he retired in 2011, according to a statement from his family. During his tenure, Lomen received numerous awards for his work, including University Distinguished Professor.

David Lovelock, a professor emeritus in the department of mathematics, first met Lomen when he arrived at the UA in 1974, when Lomen was deputy head of the mathematics department. The two worked on mathematics curricula development and were close during their time at the UA.

“[Lomen] was a true gentleman, a great colleague and a great friend,” Lovelock said.

Jim Cushing, a professor in mathematics, first met Lomen in 1968 and shared a small office with him and two other professors.

“Dr. Lomen was a very congenial, likeable guy,” Cushing said. “He was one of those guys where when you meet him, you can’t imagine how anybody would not like him.

“They don’t make many people like that,” he said.

Cushing said Lomen was very involved in reforming the way calculus was taught in the classroom. He was a founding member of the Calculus Consortium, a group of mathematicians who worked towards this kind of teaching reform. During his career, Lomen also co-authored several textbooks on calculus and differential equations, according to his family.

“David [Lomen] was very gifted as a teacher in the classroom,” Cushing said. “His students seemed to really like him. He really had a way of engaging them.”

Lovelock said Lomen had a big impact on his students — both undergraduate and graduate — and received an A Advising Award for his work.

“His students loved him,” Lovelock said. “When he first got cancer, it was not unusual to see some of his students visiting him in hospital.”

Nick Bielat was a student in Lomen’s vector calculus class for the fall semester in 2005. He said Lomen was helpful in the notoriously challenging subject.

“I will always appreciate his understanding smiles when I was pulling my hair out in frustration,” Bielat said.

Cushing said that Lomen always worked well with his students.

“He had a nice way of suggesting things, where other people might do it and you’d get this sting of criticism,” Cushing said, “but David was always very friendly.”

Lomen’s daughter, Catherine Lomen-Hoerth, said he was “involved for years as a mentor on a weekly basis for students at the Native American Center and also the Campus Christian Center.”
Lomen’s work at the Native American Center earned him the Outstanding Faculty Fellow Award.

A public memorial service will be held on Saturday at 10 a.m. at the Fountain of Life Lutheran Church, where Lomen served as president and taught Sunday school.

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