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Robert "Rob" Campbell

July 19, 2020 5:53 PM
Robert "Rob" Campbell, who had been an Adjunct Faculty in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics since at least 1997, passed away on July 14, 2020 after a few years of struggle with cancer.

Rob was most interested in teaching courses on subjects he was passionate about—abstract algebra, number theory, group representation, and geometry— and he drew some of the brightest and most talented students to his classes. He was also quite open to teaching more common lower-level courses such as calculus and linear algebra whenever there was a need to fill a vacancy created by faculty on leave, or to staff a newly added section to catch enrollment overflow.  In all cases, he was quite proactive and did not hesitiate to contribute with his ideas and insights.  He played a significant part in the latest redesign of MATH 407, 408, and 413.

In the Academic year 2009–10, when Alen Alexanderian (now on the faculty of North Carolina State University,) then working on his doctoral dissertation under Drs. Muruhan Rathinam and Rouben Rostamian, needed to learn about group representation theory, Rob stepped in and organized a mini-seminar series where he lectured on the subject and had Alen, and sometimes Muruhan and Rouben, read and present the relevant segments of the books he recommended. Later on, he served as an instructor (without monetary compensation) for an independent study course for Alen, with a focus on Lie groups.

Rob also served as a mentor and an inspiring role model for some of our more ambitious undergraduate students. For instance, the research carried out by Catherine Cannizzo under his supervision was published in UMBC Review in 2008 as "Carmichael's Totient Conjecture and Fermat Primes". Catherine went on to obtain a Master's degree in mathematics from Cambridge University, and a PhD degree in mathematics from UC Berkeley. She is currently on the faculty of SUNY Stony Brook.

In the recent years, although Rob was on and off of cancer therapy, he managed to maintain his high spirits even when the chips were down, and between treatments he dropped by to touch base with the department he cared so much for.

Although he is gone now, he has left indelible marks on the lives of the students and colleagues who have been fortunate to interact with him.

You will find his obituary in The Frederick News-Post.

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