Image of Gerry Rising looking through binoculars.

Remembering Gerald R. Rising, prominent scholar of math education


Gerald R. Rising, SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor and co-founder and director emeritus of the Graduate School of Education’s Gifted Math program, passed away on Dec. 9, 2022, at the age of 95. Rising was a prominent scholar of math education, and his contributions to the field will be remembered for years to come.

At age 17, Rising enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served as a communications officer and assistant navigator in the Atlantic and Mediterranean. Returning from World War II, he enrolled at the University of Rochester and earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English. Later, he continued his studies, earning a master’s in mathematics from the University of Notre Dame, and, in 1965, a PhD in mathematics education from New York University.

After completing his doctoral work and teaching math in high schools and colleges around the country, Rising joined the faculty at the University at Buffalo, where he spent the majority of his career teaching and researching math education.

He was the author or co-author of several influential books, including “About Mathematics,” “Letters to a Young Math Teacher,” “Program Your Calculator” and “Inside Your Calculator.” He also published several journal articles and book chapters throughout his career.

In addition to his math education research, Rising was known for his love of nature. He enjoyed hiking and camping, and was one of the most celebrated bird-watchers in the Buffalo area. As such, he wrote a weekly column, “Nature Watch,” for The Buffalo News for more than 25 years.

Rising’s death is a loss to the math education and naturalist communities, but his legacy will continue to shape the field through his work and the students he inspired. A celebration of his life was held for Rising on Jan. 23 at Tifft Nature Preserve in Buffalo.

“Gerry’s proudest accomplishment began in 1980 when he, along with Betty Krist, realized his idea to create a program with the mission ‘to deliver to exceptional mathematics students a curriculum that challenges them in the same way that standard school curricula challenges students of lesser ability.’ Gerry’s words remain the mission of GMP to this day,” said Anne E. Izydorczak, administrator of the Gifted Math Program.

"As his friends and colleagues, we will miss Gerry's sense of humor, his conversations that always took us to some new foord for thought (often a mathematical puzzle), and especially his presence as a caring mentor to all of us," Izydorczak added.