Hall of Fame Member Biographies

William "Bus" Jaco

William “Bus” Jaco is Regents Professor and Grayce B. Kerr Chair, Department of Mathematics, Oklahoma State University and Executive Director of the Initiative for Mathematics Learning by Inquiry. He holds degrees from Fairmont State University (BA magna cum laude), Penn State University (MA), and University of Wisconsin-Madison (PhD). He held faculty positions at the University of Michigan and Rice University before joining the faculty at Oklahoma State University as Head in 1982. He has held distinguished research positions at The Institute for Advanced Study (Princeton, New Jersey), The Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (Berkeley, California), The American Institute of Mathematics (Palo Alto, California) and The University of Melbourne (Australia). He is a Fellow of the American Mathematical Society, a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, an Honorary Life Member of the American Mathematical Society, an Honorary Associate Member of the Moscow Mathematical Society and received Honorary Recognition for Service to St. Petersburg and Russian Mathematics and Mathematicians. He was recognized as the 2017 Eminent Faculty Member at Oklahoma State University and is an outstanding alumnus of Fairmont State University. He served as Head, Department of Mathematics at OSU, 198287, reinventing the Department as a distinguished research department, served as Executive Director and CEO of the American Mathematical Society (Providence, Rhode Island), 198895, transforming and modernizing the Society, returned to OSU in 1995 as the Grayce B. Kerr Endowed Chair, appointed Regents Professor in 2008, for distinguished research and scholarship, and again became Head of Mathematics at OSU, 201118, changing the ethos of the department and colleagues statewide to embrace student success. He served as Chair-elect, Chair, and Retiring Chair of the Mathematics Section of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, serves on the Advisory Board of the American Institute of Mathematics, served on the Board of Mathematical Sciences at the National Research Council/National Academy of Sciences, served on the Joint Policy Board for Mathematics, and was an elected member of the Board of Trustees of the American Mathematical Society serving as Chair of the Board of Trustees, 201415. His mathematical research is in Geometry and Topology where he studies low-dimensional manifolds, decision problems, algorithms, and complexity theory and is best known for seminal research leading to the Jaco-Shalen-Johannson (JSJ) Decomposition. Recently he has participated as co-chair and Steering Committee member of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education Mathematics Success Group and Math Task Force, recommending statewide adoption in public higher education of Math Pathways to Completion and Co-Requisite Instruction at Scale. Having over 40 years of continuous funding, he is PI on a number of funded projects, the largest, The Mathematical Inquiry Project, is a statewide five-year project organizing fundamental cultural change in the teaching and learning in all entry-level college mathematics courses at public higher education institutions across Oklahoma.