Remembering Alfonso Gracia-Saz

It is with great sorrow that we announce that Alfonso Gracia-Saz passed away on May 6, 2021 in Toronto, ON, from complications of Covid-19.

Alfonso was a long-time Mathcamp staff member (MC’04 - MC’17), an incredible teacher and mathematician, a mentor and friend to countless campers and staff. He was warm, generous, endlessly creative, brilliant, and funny. His contributions to Mathcamp were incalculable, from leading a staff workshop on inquiry-based learning to improving our system for running Relays to orchestrating the best April Fool’s prank in Mathcamp’s history. Even those who did not know Alfonso personally almost certainly benefited from some idea or innovation of his that made Mathcamp better. He was truly an inspiration to us all.

The outside world also recognized that Alfonso was special. He was a beloved teacher at the University of Toronto who helped transform their mathematics curriculum. Earlier this year, the Canadian Mathematical Society awarded Alfonso their 2021 Excellence in Teaching Award. (You can see a brief bio of his on the award webpage.)

During Mathcamp 2021, we honored Alfonso with a memorial colloquium by Cornell professor Tara Holm, speaking about her joint work with Alfonso on the mathematics of square dancing. We also told shared stories, photos, and videos of our memories of Alfonso at a ``Mathcamp's Storied Past'' event. We are continuing to think about how we can honor Alfonso’s memory in the future, and we will keep our community updated. If you have suggestions for how Mathcamp might honor Alfonso, feel free to contact us.

Alfonso’s passing is an enormous loss for Mathcamp and for the entire mathematical community. He will be greatly missed.