Department of Mathematics - College of Natural Sciences Colorado State University

The Department of Mathematics is pleased to announce the Dr. Robert A. Liebler Scholarship in Mathematics

The Department of Mathematics is pleased to announce the Dr. Robert A. Liebler Scholarship in Mathematics, established in his memory by his spouse, Linda S. Hamilton. Robert A. Liebler passed away in July of 2009, ending a 37 year career at Colorado State University. Dr. Liebler started his career at CSU in 1972 and was a long-term, dedicated professor in the Mathematics Department who achieved considerable national and international recognition.

Robert A. Liebler received BS, MA, and PhD degrees from the University of Michigan. Professor Liebler joined the Department of Mathematics at Colorado State University in the fall of 1972 as an Assistant Professor after spending two years at Dartmouth College as a Research Instructor.

Professor Liebler's research interests centered on the application of representation theory to finite geometry, combinatorics, and coding theory. He was a pioneer of the theory of difference sets in non-abelian groups (particularly in the 1990's with his student, Ken Smith). His 1982 Transactions of the American Mathematical Society paper with Kantor formed a major part of the monumental classification of rank three permutation groups. More recently, he made the first-ever contributions to the theoretical analysis of the performance of low-density parity-check codes in communications theory and, in a paper to appear posthumously in the Proceedings of the American Mathematical Society, a fundamental advance in the structural classification of projective planes. Professor Liebler was the main organizer of the Rocky Mountain Algebraic Combinatorics Seminar which is a joint venture of Colorado State University, University of Colorado at Denver and University of Wyoming. This collaboration began in 1985, building on a CSU-UWYO seminar that dates back to the mid-1970's and has been meeting discretely since then.

In 2003, Professor Liebler published a textbook entitled Basic Matrix Algebra with Algorithms and Applications which is used in MATH 229 (Matrices and Linear Equations) at CSU. He also published over 30 research publications and was an invited conference speaker nationally and internationally throughout his career. While at CSU, he mentored 11 MS graduate students and 11 PhD graduate students. Professor Liebler taught a wide range of undergraduate and graduate courses and played a vital role in the department's instructional program. Professor Liebler participated on a number of departmental committees including the curriculum, executive, graduate and undergraduate committees as well as the department review committee. From 1977-1983, he sponsored the William Lowell Putnam competition. He also coordinated the annual Math Day competition for many years. In addition, he served on the University's Faculty Council, Committees on Libraries, and Benefits Committee. In 1997, following the severe flood which devastated main campus, Dr. Liebler donated a collection of books from his personal library in hopes students' research would not be interrupted. Professor Liebler served a term on the Colorado Commission on Higher Education in 1987-1988. Robert was also a long-time member of the American Mathematical Society.

In addition to being a professor, Dr. Liebler was intrigued by any building and repair demands and challenges. During the 1980's, with support from his family and friends, Dr. Liebler designed and constructed a two-story cabin in the woods near Winter Park, Colorado. It showcased his talent and perseverance. The site continues to be enjoyed today by members of the Liebler family, including his spouse, daughter Carolyn and family, and son Rick and family.

While at CSU, Dr. Liebler appreciated extensive foreign travels that enabled him to combine new experiences with his profession and interests. Professor Liebler held interim visiting positions at University of Oregon, The Ohio State University, University of Wyoming and University of California at Berkley as well as in The University of Western Australia, Perth, University of Oxford, England, Braunschweig University of Technical University, Germany and the National Technical University, Singapore. He also enjoyed overnight train journeys throughout Europe along with bicycling adventures in Ireland and hiking achievements in New Zealand.

During the summers of 2008 and 2009, Robert was employed as an adjunct staff member at the Center for Communications Research, or SCAMP, in La Jolla, CA. There, he was able to contribute and share his insight as a respected mathematician. He believed he could, again, expand his accomplishments.

This scholarship honors Dr. Liebler's long career at CSU, his contributions to undergraduate math education, and his keen interest in life and how the world works. The purpose of the fund is to provide undergraduate scholarships to benefit students enrolled in the Mathematics Department in the College of Natural Sciences at Colorado State University. The recipients(s) of the scholarship shall: be a full-time undergraduate student majoring in mathematics; be a junior or senior; demonstrate financial need as established by the Office of Student Financial Services at Colorado State University; have a minimum GPA of 3.6; and be a citizen of the United States.

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