The late Stephen Bernfeld had a passion for math and for helping others study it. Now that passion is being passed on through a scholarship established by his son, Jeff.
The Stephen R. Bernfeld Memorial Scholarship will be awarded annually to an undergraduate or graduate student who demonstrates strong overall academic performance and excellence in the study of mathematics.
Jeff Bernfeld, associate marketing manager for General Mills in Minneapolis, says he wanted to do something to help students remember his father, a longtime UTA math professor who died last year at age 57.
“My father loved finding students who cared about math, and he would spend hours talking with them. He also tried to help some students financially, occasionally giving ‘informal scholarships.’ Because of my father’s passions, I felt it would be nice to continue this tradition and help others studying math.”
Dr. Bernfeld joined the UTA faculty in 1975 as an associate professor of mathematics and became a full professor in 1979. His expertise included differential equations, and he wrote numerous articles for a variety of scholarly publications. Last year, UTA’s Science and Engineering Library dedicated its Math in May exhibit in his memory.
He earned his bachelor’s degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of Maryland in 1969.
Dr. Bernfeld instilled the importance of education in Jeff, who received his bachelor’s degree in finance from The University of Texas at Austin in 1994 and his master’s in business administration from Harvard Business School in 2000.
Jeff worked in Dallas for four years, first as a consultant at McKinsey & Co. and then for a start-up telecommunications firm. He has worked at General Mills since earning his M.B.A.
“We basically manage the different brands that General Mills has, including Cheerios, Wheaties, Yoplait and Betty Crocker,” he said. “We oversee aspects of the brands such as sales, profits and new-product launches.”
The first $1,000 Bernfeld scholarship was awarded to Roger Kirby, a former doctoral student under Dr. Bernfeld.