A History of Rev. Stanley J. Bezuszka, S.J. and Margaret J. (Peg) Kenney
From an initial relationship of devoted teacher and earnest student, a strong and powerful professional collaboration and friendship between Stanley J. Bezuszka, S.J. (Fr. B) and Margaret J. (Peg) Kenney emerged. In 1957, the Boston College Mathematics Institute (BCMI) was established with Fr. B as the director. He selected Peg as his assistant. Together they developed the BCMI into an influential professional development organization for mathematics educators. Teachers from around the United States and other countries valued their time at Boston College (BC) to strengthen their mathematics background. Fr. B and Peg received and accepted invitations to provide on-site professional development nationally and internationally, thus serving thousands of additional educators.
While each had individual strengths, passions, and personalities, both Fr. B and Peg were dedicated mathematicians and educators whose individual careers each spanned over 60 years. They were professors of mathematics at BC and, in addition to managing BCMI, they co-wrote such classic resources as: Number Treasury (the final edition, Number Treasury3: Investigations, Facts and Conjectures about More Than 100 Number Families, was published in 2015); Tessellations: The Geometry of Patterns; Designs from Mathematical Patterns; and Informal Geometry Explorations: An Activity-Based Approach. They contributed numerous articles to National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) publications and those of NCTM affiliates. Fr. B gave more than 1,000 presentations, workshops, and mini-courses; Peg’s accomplishments in those areas were only slightly fewer. Each contributed to textbooks, monographs, and research papers of highly-regarded authors.
Peg and Fr. B respected classroom teachers and were highly respected teachers themselves. Both enjoyed working with teachers and with students in classrooms. They were deeply involved in organizations devoted to mathematics education. They served on the Boards of Directors of ATMIM, the Association of Teachers of Mathematics in New England, and NCTM. Both were honored with lifetime achievement awards by professional mathematics education organizations. They were initial inductees to the Association of Teachers of Mathematics in Massachusetts (ATMIM) Hall of Fame.
Fr. B and Peg knew how to make geometric explorations intriguing and number theory topics engaging. In addition, Fr. B had an insatiable appetite for scientific and mathematical interests with a particular penchant for the history of mathematics and calculus. Peg’s varied studies and works also included her special interest in discrete mathematics.
After Fr. B’s death in 2008, Peg described three characteristic traits of Fr. B’s personality: energy, enthusiasm, and curiosity. Peg passed away in 2016. Three words that capture Peg’s spirit could be: vitality, inspiration, and insight. As standards and practices in mathematics education evolved, Fr. B and Peg stayed involved in the process, continuing to improve their own practice and inspire others to do likewise. They worked as a team for nearly fifty years, sharing a deep belief in effective mathematics instruction, service to others, and devotion to Boston College. They received many grants, instituted programs for in-service and pre-service teachers, and supported them with worthwhile resources.
A Tribute to Father Stan Bezuszka narrated by M. Peg Kenney at the National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics (NCSM) 41st Annual Conference in Washington D.C. on April 22, 2009. "Fr. B" had a long and distinguished career in mathematics education and passed away on December 27, 2008 just one month shy of his 95th birthday. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IV5bZwSq-Qg&feature=relmfu