The University of Idaho recognized late mathematics professor Paul Joyce Tuesday night with the unveiling of the Paul J. Joyce, Ph.D. Faculty and Staff Lounge in Brink Hall.
About 60 people attended the event, which honored Joyce’s contributions to the university during his time as the dean of the College of Science.
“Paul’s vision for this room as a place for interdisciplinary collaboration and conversation came to pass in 2013 … it is fitting that the lounge be rededicated in his name,” said Director of General Education Kenton Bird.
UI President Chuck Staben opened the ceremony by recognizing the lasting impact Joyce left on many of his peers.
“Paul was a very fun person with a good sense of a humor, but he was also a wonderful colleague and a great friend,” Staben said. “He was … largely responsible for the room becoming what it is today — a place for faculty and staff to gather for senate meetings and exercise governance.”
Staben said he will always remember how Joyce described the university to prospective students visiting campus.
“It meant a lot to me when he said it at the time … ‘We as a university are big enough to matter and small enough to care,’” Staben said. “And I think that care was a hallmark of Paul as a professor and as a person.”
After taking the podium, university distinguished professor Larry Forney described how Joyce was always willing to help those around him.
“He had an insatiable appetite for problem solving — the tougher the problem the better,” Forney said. “You could bring any sort of problem to Paul and he would mentally wander off into math mode with a No. 2 pencil dangling from his mouth and a pad of paper nearby … Most of the time he would listen very carefully and then offer a drove of alternative solutions.”
Forney said the lounge will serve a vital purpose by allowing institutional personnel to seek innovation and discuss professional work.
“The creation of this space in which faculty and staff may gather is but one of a long list of ways Paul enabled the wellbeing and success of faculty, staff and students at the University of Idaho,” Forney said. “In Paul’s mind, the purpose of this lounge was to create an unpretentious and welcoming forum that fostered collegiality and the open exchange of ideas.”
Josh Grissom can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @GoshJrissom