Franzen gift establishes new professorship in applied mathematics

Ripon College has received a gift from alumni Mark and Janice Franzen ‘83 ‘83 to establish a new endowed professorship in applied mathematics.

The Franzen professorship will support a full-time, tenured or tenure-track professor in applied mathematics and provide faculty development funds, and equipment and resources to support the teaching of mathematics.

“Mark and Janice Franzen are wonderful examples of alumni who are paying it forward,” said Zach Messitte, president of Ripon College. “Generations of future Ripon College students will have a richer academic experience due to their generosity. ”

The number of students majoring and minoring in mathematics at Ripon has increased in the past decade. Each year, Ripon students in the mathematics department present research at conferences across the U.S. and graduates go on to pursue careers in a variety of STEM fields. Applied mathematics employs mathematical tools and knowledge to address problems across disciplines, or to solve practical problems, usually in ways that combine mathematics and specialized knowledge. The initial appointment will be made to a new faculty member hired following a national search.

“We have a deep love for Ripon College and remember faculty who really touched our lives,” said Janice Franzen. “Mark studied mathematics at Ripon and Northwestern and it has played a central role in his career and business. We both felt that applied mathematics is particularly important for today’s world.”

“We’re excited to continue the emphasis that Ripon places on multi-disciplinary approaches to problem solving,” added Mark Franzen. “We hope this professorship can have a lifelong impact on current and future generations of students at Ripon.”

Janice Heinz Franzen ‘83, majored in psychology at Ripon, and served as a teacher for many years in the Los Angeles and Kenosha school districts for students with special needs. She also coached volleyball, basketball and track at the high school level. Mark Franzen ‘83, double majored in physics and mathematics at Ripon, and went on to receive his Ph.D. and M.S. in mathematics from Northwestern University. Mark spent the first three years of his professional career as a math professor at the University of California — Los Angeles. He went on to found IntelRx, a software company which was acquired by Milliman in 2005. Mark is currently principal and managing director of Milliman IntelliScript and has served on the Ripon College Board of Trustees since 2010.


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