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Board of Supervisors, Faculty & Staff Focus, General Information, Honors & Awards

LSU Mathematician Named Boyd Professor

12/07/2012 05:28 PM

BATON ROUGE – James Oxley, international expert on an intricate mathematical theory, which is used by electrical engineers to help computer networks run better, on Dec. 7 was unanimously awarded the rank of Boyd Professor by the LSU Board of Supervisors.

Oxley, a member of the LSU math faculty for more than 30 years, was awarded the professorship, the university system’s highest rank, for a career marked by outstanding research, teaching and creative achievement, particularly in the field of matroid theory.  This complex area of mathematics merges geometry, graph theory and algebra, and points the way to solving everyday problems such as speeding up the Internet, monitoring product quality, implementing GPS technology, and constructing online web services for auctions and selling advertisements.

“Both in his national and international research profile, and in his contribution to the education of several generations of students at LSU, Professor Oxley has demonstrated the type of distinction necessary to achieve the stature of a Boyd Professorship,” wrote a confidential reviewer in recommending Oxley for the honor.

Another reviewer noted Oxley is “known for having an impressive stamina for thorny technical problems, and is recognized for the quality and precision of his mathematical writing.”

The author of nearly 140 peer-reviewed academic articles, Oxley, 59, last year published the second edition of “Matroid Theory,” which is widely regarded as the premier reference manual for the specialized mathematical field. One reviewer noted that “the quality and impact of his work is certified by numerous citations of his papers; Google Scholar shows 4,020 citations.” Another reviewer also highlighted the “extraordinary number of citations” – nearly 600 – for his textbook alone.

Oxley, a native of Australia, earned his doctoral degree from Oxford University and joined the LSU math faculty in 1982 where he was named the William E. “Bud” Davis Alumni Professor of Mathematics in 1999.  He also was recognized in April 2000 as an LSU Distinguished Research Master of Engineering, Science and Technology.  Over his career,  Oxley also has been the recipient of prestigious visiting fellowships by the University of Oxford (2005) and the University of Canterbury, New Zealand (2010).  

A member of the editorial boards of several premier international mathematical journals, his research has been funded for more than three decades by a series of grants from the National Science Foundation and the National Security Agency, a continuous record of federal support considered rare and impressive in the field of mathematics.  

At LSU, Oxley has been cited for his “exemplary service” to the Baton Rouge campus, including the development of multiple advanced math courses, chairing 16 Ph.D. dissertations and serving on an additional 12 Ph.D. committees.  

Guillermo Ferreyra, the former dean of the LSU College of Arts & Sciences, now known as the College of Humanities & Social Sciences, wrote in nominating Oxley for the Boyd Professorship that Oxley is “an extremely prolific researcher” and “one of the university’s most visible and respected scholars.”

Oxley is the LSU System’s 70th Boyd Professor, the 45th from the LSU main campus, and the fourth in mathematics, joining Richard Anderson (1959); Pasquale Porcelli (1965) and Jimmie Lawson (1999) as LSU faculty members awarded the distinction.

To be named a Boyd Professor, a faculty member must have attained national and international distinction and be nominated by campus administrators.  Nominations are reviewed by the LSU System Boyd Professor Review Committee, which seeks confidential evaluations from distinguished scholars in the candidate’s field of expertise.  Once endorsed by the review committee, the nomination is forward to the LSU System President and Board of Supervisors for approval.

For further information, contact Charles Zewe, LSU System Vice President for Communication, 225-578-3941 or

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