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Richard Tapia Richard A. Tapia
Noah Harding Professor of Computational and Applied Mathematics, Rice University

The symposium honors the significant contributions of Dr. Richard A. Tapia, a mathematician and professor in the Department of Computational and Applied Mathematics at Rice University in Houston, Texas. He is internationally known for his research in computational and mathematical sciences and is a national leader in education and outreach programs. Dr. Tapia has authored or co-authored two books and more than 80 mathematical research papers. His current positions at Rice are Noah Harding Professor of Computational and Applied Mathematics; Associate Director of Graduate Studies, Office of Graduate Studies; and Director of the Center for Excellence and Equity in Education.

Richard Tapia was born in Los Angeles to parents who separately emigrated from Mexico as young teenagers in search of educational opportunities for themselves and for future generations. Richard was the first in his family to attend college, earning his BA, MA, and PhD degrees in mathematics from the University of California, Los Angeles. Due to his efforts, Rice University has received national recognition for its educational outreach programs and the Rice Computational and Applied Mathematics Department has become a national leader in producing women and underrepresented minority PhDs in the mathematical sciences. Some of Dr. Tapia’s honors include: election to the National Academy of Engineering (1992) for his seminal work in interior point methods; the first recipient of the A. Nico Habermann Award from the Computing Research Association (1994) for outstanding contribution to aiding members of underrepresented groups within the computing community; the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring from President Clinton (1996); appointment by President Clinton to the National Science Board (1996), the governing body of the National Science Foundation; and the establishment of a lecture series to honor Dr. Tapia and African American mathematician David Blackwell at Cornell University (2000). Tapia also received the Hispanic Engineer of the Year Award from Hispanic Engineer Magazine in 1996, and was inducted into the Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Awards Conference Hall of Fame in 1997

"I feel a deep sense of gratitude that a symposium addressing a matter of such national importance carries my name. I want this symposium to serve as a symbol, and also as proof that we, as members of underrepresented groups, can and must contribute to science and technology at the highest levels." - Richard Tapia

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