In Memoriam - David B. Surowski

In Memoriam - David B. Surowski

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David Surowski, a professor in the Department of Mathematics from 1977 to 2003, died in early March 2011 at Xi An, China, after a three-year battle with pancreatic cancer.

Surowski received his doctorate in mathematics from the University of Arizona in 1975. He joined the K-State faculty in 1977 and became a full professor in 1989. He was appointed the Math Department's director of graduate studies in 1986 and remained in that post until his retirement in 2003.

Surowski was the author of some 30 published articles on group theory, and he also directed three doctoral dissertations and three master's theses. He was a recipient of the William L. Stamey Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching from the College of Arts and Sciences and was cited several times as an outstanding faculty teacher in the graduate program. In addition, he directed both the Summer Science Institute for high-ability high school students from 1985-1987 and the Kansas Board of Regents' 1988 Regents Summer Academy for gifted students.

Surowski developed an interest in Chinese culture and was inspired to learn Mandarin, which, after years of hard work, he could speak fluently. In 1986 he founded the K-State table tennis club, serving as its faculty adviser until his retirement. He brought elite table tennis tournaments to Manhattan, and the club grew over the years. He greatly enjoyed fishing and rising before dawn, always hoping to catch a giant catfish. He took great joy in being involved with his three daughters's athletic events, particularly coaching softball.

He married Susan Zhang in 1996, and in 2003 moved to Shanghai, China, to join his wife at the Shanghai American School. During his seven years teaching at the school, he was an immensely popular teacher.

A memorial service for Surowski was held March 12, 2011, at K-State' All Faiths Chapel. The large crowd mourned his passing and celebrated his life. Former students, colleagues, friends and relatives told their favorite stories about him - all testaments to his teaching talents, enthusiasm for mathematics and Chinese culture, his warmth and gentle nature, and his love for his family.

Surowski is survived by his wife, Susan; three daughters; a stepdaughter; a brother; his father; and six grandchildren.

In his honor, the Surowski family has established the David Surowski Memorial Scholarship in Mathematics.

David Surowski's Homepage