In Memoriam: Kent Merryfield

Published December 5, 2018

Kent Merryfield

It is with a heavy heart that the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics tells of Dr. Kent Merryfield's unexpected passing after sudden cardiac arrest on campus. Dr. Merryfield was a prolific professor of mathematics at CSULB for 30 years and beloved by students, faculty and staff alike. However, he was so much more than a professor—he was an advisor, a coach to both high school and college students, and a leader in the department.

We mourn the loss of an extraordinary human being. Students, faculty, staff, and friends alike have been scrambling to fill the impossible void left by Dr. Merryfield's passing.

"This is a tremendous loss to the department and it will be felt at every corner of the campus, and in many high schools in Southern California," said Tangan Gao, chair of the department.

Among countless other accomplishments, Dr. Merryfield was involved with the American Regions Mathematics League. He established the southern California chapter of ARML and coached monthly meetings here at CSULB and many of his students went on to study in prestigious programs and universities. Dr. Merryfield also created the Honors Seminar in Problem Solving, a course instituted to immerse CSULB students in competition-level mathematical problem solving and to prepare them for the William Lowell Putnam Mathematics Competition. He routinely coached the CSULB team to place in the top 150 out of the more than 400 schools participating, with the team placing 97th in 2016 and 134th in 2017.

Beyond the university, Dr. Merryfield has headed-up Math Day at the Beach since it started in 2000. Math Day at the Beach is a one-of-a-kind opportunity where more than 300 southern California high school students get together annually and compete to solve math problems.

Dr. Merryfield is survived by his wife Margaret and their two children, James and Laura.

The College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics has established the Dr. Merryfield Memorial Fund in Support of Mathematics. If he made a difference in your life as he has in ours, and you are so moved, please consider making your own contribution in tribute to a great man.

Merryfield Memorial Fund