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News from the Mathematics Department

Former Math Professor Patricia Hickey Honored at Baylor Luncheon

March 23, 2010

Jim Hickey Patricia Hickey
Jim and Patricia Hickey

On March 16, 2010 Baylor University hosted a special luncheon for Dr. Patricia Hickey in the McMullen-Connally Faculty Center to celebrate the establishment of two scholarships at Baylor that she, and her late husband Jim, endowed. One of these scholarships, the Jim and Pat Hickey Endowed Scholarship Fund in Mathematics, was started in 1997 and the Jim and Pat Hickey Endowed Athletic Scholarship Fund in Women's Basketball was established in 2002.

Hickey Family
The Hickey Family
(L-R) Christopher Alexander (nephew), Paula Alexander (Pat's sister-in-law), Randy and Brenda Penn (son-in-law and daughter), Patricia Hickey, James and Celeste Hickey (son and daughter-in-law)

Hickey-Math
(L-R) Kim Woodsum, Geraldine Boyd, Robert Piziak, Patricia Hickey, Baxter Johns

Larry Smith, Assistant Vice President for Gift Planning in University Development, welcomed everyone to the luncheon. "Pat Hickey and I started our friendship approximately 40 years ago when I had the privilege to be in her math class as a Baylor student", Larry said; furthermore Larry continued, "Pat and Jim have been loyal supporters of our great university in so many ways. It has been a blessing to assist them in making a difference in the lives of our students through their financial support. The Hickey's endowed scholarships in math and women's basketball are a lasting legacy to these two loyal Baylor Bears."

Bill Dube, Director of the Endowed Scholarship Program at Baylor University, was also at the luncheon. "We are grateful for the generosity of Pat and Jim Hickey," Bill said, "through this endowed scholarship fund, Jim and Pat Hickey are investing in the lives of Baylor students and providing opportunities for students to obtain an excellent academic education. Their legacy of love and loyalty to Baylor will live on through the Jim and Pat Hickey Endowed Scholarship Fund in Mathematics. This is truly a gift that keeps on giving and changing lives that will change the world."

Baxter Johns, a member of the mathematics department at Baylor, spoke at the luncheon expressing his feelings on how helpful the Hickeys have been for future generations of students. Professor Johns said "Pat's students thought she was a great teacher. Several of them told me that a course she introduced into the curriculum, Teaching Problems in Mathematics, was the best and most helpful course they took while at Baylor. Pat introduced this course to give students experience in reading about a topic in mathematics that they had not seen in their classes and in presenting the material to a class. Many of the students who enrolled in the class had never had either of these experiences before, so the course was very valuable to them." Baxter also related a humorous story on how Pat's students got the best of her one time. "Pat, Jim and my wife Dena and I were sitting in the stands at a football game with about 40,000 in attendance. During a lull in the action, the announcer suddenly said "Dr. Pat Hickey's Business Calculus class will meet in the end zone at halftime for a review for Monday's test." This was the only time I recall seeing her speechless!", said Baxter.

Robert Piziak, recently retired from the mathematics department, also attended the luncheon. He remarked that "Pat and Jim Hickey were among the first to welcome me into the Mathematics Department. I will never forget the times we shared and the discussions we had on everything from the stock market to how we could help Baylor students by setting up endowed scholarships. They represent the best of Baylor University."

Words of appreciation during the luncheon were spoken by Kim Woodsum, a sophomore mathematics major from Arlington Heights, Illinois who is a recipient of the Hickey Scholarship in Mathematics. Kim is not only grateful for the financial assistance but was thrilled to meet Pat. Kim said "This was my first time meeting Dr. Hickey. I am so thankful for everything she has contributed. This scholarship means a lot to me and my family, it helps to take the burden off of my parents and it has also inspired me. Receiving this math scholarship makes me realize why I work so hard and that there are other people that have a passion for math. Dr. Hickey truly has a passion for math and I could tell the moment she started to talk to me. I hope to follow in her footsteps by teaching at Baylor and being able to give back to the Baylor community."

Both Jim and Pat Hickey were long-time faculty members at Baylor and each taught in the mathematics department for more than thirty years before retiring together in 1992. Jim received his M.S. degree in mathematics from Baylor in 1959 before earning his Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Texas in 1971. Pat received both her Bachelor of Arts degree (1955) and her M.A. degree (1960) from Baylor before receiving her Ph.D. degree from the University of Texas in 1965.

During their tenure at Baylor University, both were fans of all Baylor University sports teams and especially of women's teams. From 1986-1991, Pat served as a member of the Faculty Athletic Council. Supporting the young women student athletes who represent Baylor University became an important goal for the Hickeys. After Jim passed away in March 2005, Pat kept up her avid support of women's athletics, in particular women's basketball, at Baylor.