Department of Mathematical & Computing Sciences
Welcome to the St. John Fisher College Department of Mathematical and Computing Sciences Web Site


Rakover Award

The graduating senior in the department (either in Mathematics or in Computer Science) who shows the most promise in the field, based on a number of criteria, is awarded the Boris David Rakover Award, named in memory of our distinguished colleague, Dr. Boris Rakover. Dr. Rakover had a long and distinguished career as a professor of mathematics in the former Soviet Union at the University of Khishinev in Moldova, emigrated to the United States and served on our faculty for a decade, earning the respect and admiration of his colleagues... Read more about Boris' story.

Recent Award Winners
Class of 2011: Forrest Smith (Math) / JenAlyse Arena (Math)
Class of 2010: Jenny Mauro (Math) / Dan Wenschhoff (CS) 
Class of 2009: David Slocum (Math)

Award for Leadership and Service

The recipient of this award has been actively involved in a leadership role in the department for at least 3 years. This involvement must include taking a major role in department clubs and initiating and implementing new procedures to improve student life in the department.

Recent Award Winners
Class of 2011: Michelle Beeman (Math)

Academic Contests

CCSC CCSCNE Computing Contest

For several years, Computer Science students from SJFC have participated in the computing contest run by the CCSCNE, Consortium for Computing Sciences in Colleges — Northeastern Region.

This year the conference will be held at:
Siena College
April 12--13, 2013
Loudonville, NY

If you are enjoy coding and are interested in participating contact Dr. Harrison. Dr. Harrison will run “coaching sessions” once a week during the Spring semester. These sessions will provide an opportunity to work on interesting and challenging programming problems. Active participants in the coaching sessions may receive credit in Computer Science.

If you participate as one of the three members of the Fisher team, the college will pay all your expenses (motel, meals, entry fees). In addition to the programming contest, there are other conference activities (talks) which you can optionally attend and, usually, an opportunity to pick up some free goodies (books, software, hardware).

If you are not a programmer but think you can contribute as an algorithm designer (MATH majors, take note), your participation is most welcome and you could well end up as a team member.

The conference also includes a student poster competition. He you are working on a computing related project and would like to design and submit a poster to the conference, contact Dr. Harrison as well.


Recollections of Boris Davidovitch Rakover

by his daughter Anna Zheleznyak


Boris Davidovitch Rakover was for many years a distinguished professor of mathematics at the Pedagogical University of Khishinev (Chisinau) in Moldova, which was at the time a republic of the Soviet Union.  In 1980, he left the Soviet Union and came to Rochester by way of Israel. His knowledge of English was quite minimal. So, he put all his time and energy into studying English. His first job was at XEROX as a modeling mathematician/programmer. However, he always knew that it was temporary, since he could see himself only at the blackboard with chalk in his hand. And you know what? After about 1 year, he landed a part-time job at a Monroe Community College,  where he taught Calculus III and Calculus IV.  His genial dedication, sense of humor and never-tiring attitude to help a student understand a concept, won him tremendous respect from his students and colleagues. His goal was to be understood in a classroom and with language limitation at that time, it was quite a challenging task. Every night he was always busy in his study room with dictionaries and notes for the next day's lectures. And with every lecture, he expressed himself better and better. Hard work and constant desire to become somebody again in the new country were his main driving forces. His hard work was never a burden for him. In fact, he viewed it as a necessary tool to get to where he wanted to be - full time math professor. And it happened in 1981, where he got a full time position as an associate professor of mathematics and computer science at St. John Fisher College. Within 6 years he became full Professor.

In 1986, he received the College award for Teaching Excellence.  It was especially important to him because it came from the students, who nominated him.  There was a big party in his honor, speeches for him and his speech in return. His whole family was there, and was proud of him.

He attended several international congresses as a speaker. One of the most interesting ones was his trip to Budapest in 1988. As usual, he was giving a presentation at this conference. He met his colleagues from Moscow who represented USSR (at that time) and he represented United States of America. It was a milestone for him! He was very sociable person, he loved people and, of course, he spent a lot of time with his Russian friends, telling them about the life in the "west", the difference between  the American and Russian education system.


In 1990, he was supposed to go to International Math Symposium in Japan, but he already was sick and could not do it.


He died at the age of 59, and his colleagues named an award after him – the Boris Rakover Award for Excellence in Mathematics or Computer Science.

Department of Mathematical & Computing Sciences • St. John Fisher College • 3690 East Avenue • Rochester, NY 14618 • Phone: 585.385.8000