Math professor's service went beyond the classroom

Folio Staff

The University of Alberta is mourning the death of Ron Bercov, a long-serving math professor known for service to the university and the community beyond the classroom walls.

Bercov graduated from the U of A in 1959 with a bachelor of science degree before undertaking graduate studies, graduating with a PhD from Caltech in 1962. That same year he returned to his alma mater, where he started on a career in the Department of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences that ran for an astonishing 41 years.

Along the way, he served as department chair for four years, sat as acting dean of science for one year, was the associate vice-president (academic) for five years and served a term on the U of A Board of Governors.

A passionate teacher, Bercov put in time as the president of the Canadian Association of University Teachers, vice-president of the Canadian Mathematics Society and editor of the Canadian Mathematical Bulletin. He also served on the staff association for many years and was chair of the Alberta Universities Pension Board. 

In 2004, Bercov received the U of A Alumni Association's Honour Award.

Away from academia, Bercov was a basketball official for university, college, high school and wheelchair leagues. He refereed three national championship tournaments and four wheelchair basketball nationals. In 2002, he received the Canadian Association of Basketball Officials Wink Willox Award for improving officiating in Alberta. He was also an honorary life member of the Edmonton Basketball Officials Association and the Alberta Basketball Officials Association.

He was also active in the Edmonton Hebrew Association and the Jewish Senior Citizens Centre.

“Ron was a wonderful colleague whose wise counsel was always generously at our disposal,” remembered Arturo Pianzola, chair of the Department of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences. “He was a vigorous champion of our discipline at all levels in the university.

“We will miss him.”