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Tekla Lewin

Biography

Tekla Lewin earned her BA from Antioch College in 1956, earned her Ph.D. from NYU in 1962 with a dissertation written under Gilbert Baumslag; Tekla and Jacques were Baumslag's first and second Ph.D. students, respectively. She then held postdoctoral positions at Australian National University, NYU and CUNY. She joined the SU faculty in 1965 and was promoted to associate professor in 1972 and to professor in 1978.

She wrote 10 papers, generally in groups, between 1963 and 1980, 5 of them joint with Jacques Lewin. She had an NSF grant 1968-1971 and gave an invited 20-minute talk at an AMS meeting in Washington, DC in 1979. Tekla served on the Executive Committee 1976-1978 and1979-1981, and on the Graduate Committee 1982-1983, was a member of one reappointment committee, and served on the Arts and Sciences Promotion Committee 1980-1982. Her January 1983 vitae listed membership in AMS, Australian Mathematical Society and Association of Women in Mathematics.

Erik Hemmingsen remembers that Tekla used the blackboard outside his office in Carnegie for an hour once a week to exercise her graduate students, and did a very fine job of it. She sat and listened to algebraists talk about their research problems and she read what Jacques had written in his research papers, and in both cases she made significant suggestions.

She and Jacques were married in 1965 before coming to Syracuse and were divorced in 1980 or 1981. Their son Max is a counselor at a halfway house in California. Tekla resigned from SU in 1987. Subsequently Tekla worked in a peace organization in Nicaragua, then worked in Chicago giving health care in disadvantaged neighborhoods, and finally returned to college teaching. Jacques said that she had been a political science major, had been inspired by a mathematics professor, and switched her major to mathematics. She had always had political interests.

Sources: Tekla's last CV at SU, Erik Hemmingsen's remarks and an interview with Jacques on 9/24/02. Phil Church 9/25/02