Letter to the Editor | Reflections on the UI

Two UI Alumni reflect on their time at the UI.


Daniel McGregor-Huyer

The Old Capitol is seen in Iowa City, Iowa on April 14, 2022.

Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.

My name is Roy Quintero, and I feel lucky and happy to have witnessed two of the most outstanding events in the recent history of the University of Iowa. 

The first occurred on Feb. 25 at Hancher Auditorium, which was the concurrence of two simultaneous facts. On one hand, the installation of the 22nd president of the UI, and on the other hand, the celebration of the 175th anniversary of the institution. 

The second, which occurred two days later at the same location, consisted of the first presidential lecture in 39 years that was delivered by a triad of notable faculty from the most renowned and traditional areas of the university: astronomy, literary writing, and medicine. The joy I feel is not only due to my physical presence but to being part of the alumni body of this illustrious academic university. 

And I say this because it was recently 30 years since I first came to Iowa City with the dream of obtaining a PhD in mathematics, which I achieved in 1997 under the advising of D. D. Anderson (†). By the way, in that year the UI was celebrating its 150th anniversary and due to life circumstances, I was also here. 

The day of the installation of Dr Barbara Wilson, when I was returning home, the first thought that came to my mind was to share this experience with the one who motivated me to come to the UI to get a PhD degree, Dr Jorge Vielma, who had obtained his PhD in mathematics here a few years earlier. 

So, we had a video call and I told him some interesting details of the first event. I remember that a few minutes later he suggested that I should write a note for the Daily Iowan. I replied that it seemed like a better idea for us both to do it and so we agreed. 

I must say that without his selfless academic motivation, I might never have come to Iowa City because I first knew nothing about the academic agreement between the UI and the Universidad de Los Andes (ULA) at that time. Second, I had another plan which was to go to the National Institute of Pure and Applied Mathematics in Brazil. I am not in the least regretful of what the course of life marked me. On the contrary, I feel proud to have come to Iowa City. 

For my part (Jorge Vielma), I would like to thank Roy Quintero for inviting me to cowrite this press article. I also remember the opportunity in which I met Dr Robert Hogg (†), who was visiting the School of Economics of the ULA in Mérida, Venezuela and I had the chance of giving him my application for admission to the PhD program in mathematics at the UI. 

I started the PhD program in the Fall semester of 1982, and I completed the program in December 1986. I wrote my thesis under the supervision of S. S. Khurana. Later in 1993, I came back to the UI under a Postdoc Fellowship. 

Moreover, I had the pleasant task of coordinating the agreement between the UI and the ULA. During that period many things were achieved: the number of ULA professors as fellows increased, many other professors enjoyed a sabbatical year in Iowa, and many UI professors presented lectures or gave workshops in Mérida. 

Coming back to UI is a dream, I hope I can make it to come true. I am hopeful that the next future of the UI under the guidance of Dr Barbara Wilson will be a great one. 

Jorge Vielma, Guayaquil, Ecuador & Roy Quintero, Iowa City, Iowa

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