Gary Cunningham and Botong Wang awarded in the 2022 Distinguished Science Alumni Awards.
Two Purdue Mathematics Alums were recognized in the 2022 Distinguished Science Alumni Awards.
Gary Cunningham was honored as a Distinguished Science Alumni, which honors those who provide significant leadership within her/his chosen field. The honoree has noteworthy professional accomplishments that reflect favorably on her/his profession, the College of Science, Purdue University and society.
Gary Cunningham graduated with a BS degree in Mathematics from Purdue University. While at Purdue, Gary was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa. He was also active in Theatre at Purdue. After undergraduate school, Gary earned his law degree from the University of Illinois College of Law magna cum laude and was a member of the Order of the Coif. After practicing briefly in Chicago and Atlanta, Gary practiced law as a civil litigator for the Minnesota Attorney General's office for 27 years. A tenor, Gary was for years a member of the Minnesota Chorale, the chorus for the Minnesota Orchestra.
In 2014, Gary was appointed General Counsel for Minnesota State Colleges and Universities ("Minnesota State"), the third largest system of state colleges and universities in the United States and the largest in state with 30 colleges, 7 universities and 54 campuses. Minnesota State serves 340,000 students each year, with more Black and indigenous, as well as students of color, attending the college and universities than all other higher education providers in Minnesota combined. As General Counsel, he leads and coordinates the legal affairs of the system, advises the Board of Trustees, the Chancellor and Presidents and provides legal counsel and litigation coordination.
Botong Wang was honored with the Early Career Scientist Award, which honors an alumnae/alumnus who has graduated within the last 10 years. This individual illustrates the promise of becoming a leader among his or her peers.
Botong Wang is an Associate Professor in the Department of Mathematics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He received his PhD from Purdue University in 2012 and BS from Beijing University in 2006. He was postdoctoral fellow at University of Notre Dame and KU Leuven before coming to University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has a broad interest in several different subjects in mathematics, including combinatorics, algebraic geometry and topology.
Dr. Wang's research has been acknowledged by several awards from the National Science Foundation and the Sloan Foundation. In 2002, Dr. Wang received an International Mathematics Olympiad Gold Medal with a perfect score. During his time at Purdue, Dr. Wang earned the Ross Fellowship and a Purdue Research Foundation Research Grant.
While publishing in numerous academic publications, Dr. Wang is a well-traveled speaker, mentor, and advisor. numerous and advisor. Of notable achievements, Dr. Wang was in a joint paper with June Huh, where they used methods of algebraic geometry to solve conjecture of Dowling and Wilson in combinatorics that had been open since the 1970s.