UVic Torch -- Fall 2004
Autumn 2004,
Volume 25, Number 2

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Doing the Math, for 41 Years Doing the Math, for 41 Years
Walking history: David Leeming's retirement ends a career that began with the university's inception.
By MIKE MCNENEY


DAVID LEEMING HAS BEEN AROUND UVIC LONGER THAN RING ROAD. He was there when the McPherson Library opened its doors the first time. His first office was in one of those old army huts. And so after more than 40 years, it’s somehow hard to equate the mathematician, someone who is so much part of the fabric of the place, with the word “retirement.”

In late summer he was still deconstructing his office in the Clearihue building, working through the stacks of books and papers that kind of accumulate over the time it takes to teach three generations of students and witness three of your own kids cross the convocation stage.

For him, it’s not like a big retirement switch suddenly clicks and what you’ve been doing all your life suddenly disappears. He loved—make that, loves—his job. Especially when it comes to the elusive challenge of channeling young people toward the abstract but technologically vital world of math. “It’s as important to be numerate as literate” these days, he’ll say.

With the Pacific Institute for Mathematical Sciences, he remains heavily involved with “Math Mania”—the elementary school outreach effort that makes math fun. He’s also working on a new math magazine for teenagers.

Leeming—a Victoria College graduate from the late ’50s—leaves the lecture room at the top of his game. In his final year, he earned the science faculty’s honour for those who exemplify teaching at its finest.

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