LU News Archive

Joseph Adam Baj II Memorial Scholarship in Math established

A new scholarship in the Lamar University Foundation honors the late Joseph Adam Baj II, who served 33 years on the Lamar University faculty. The Joseph Adam Baj II Memorial Scholarship will provide funding for outstanding students majoring in mathematics.

Baj’s wife, Catherine, established the scholarship with a gift to the Lamar Foundation.

Baj, who died in 2009, moved to Beaumont in 1964 to accept a position in the mathematics department at Lamar. He served as a faculty advisor to Pi Mu Epsilon mathematics honor society and the mathematics club before his retirement in 1997.

He had many fond memories of his students and colleagues and enjoyed watching Lamar change and grow over the years. “He especially liked to show students how to use logic and prove theorems. He was always available to students and encouraged them to join the mathematics fraternity, Pi Mu Epsilon, which he sponsored,” said Michael Laidacker, associate professor of mathematics.

Baj served his country during World War II, joining the Army Air Force in 1942. He was accepted into Officer Candidate School and was commissioned a second lieutenant after graduating. At the time of his honorable discharge in November 1945, he was serving as a flight officer and bombardier-navigator. Baj studied commercial art before attending Geneva College in Beaver Falls, Pa., where he met his wife, Catherine. He attended Heidelberg College in Ohio for one year. In 2001, he represented the college at Southwestern University’s 14th presidential inauguration. Subsequently, Baj earned his bachelor’s degree in mathematics and physics in 1955 from Kent State University in Ohio.

After teaching high school math and physics to various schools in Ohio, Baj earned a National Science Foundation grant to the University of Texas at Austin and other grants to continue his education at Hiram College and Purdue University. He graduated with his master’s degree in mathematics from the University of Texas and completed graduate work toward his Ph.D. at the University of Houston.

For more information about establishing an endowed scholarship, contact the Lamar University Foundation at (409) 880-2117.