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Jan. 15, 2012
Friday, Jan. 20, 2012
Donald Bushaw, 85, a WSU faculty member and professor of mathematics for forty-one years, passed away Jan. 15, 2012. He was a strong proponent of the fledgling Honors Program that began in 1960 and served on its Honors Council for several years, first in 1964.
Donald Bushaw was born in Anacortes, graduated from Bremerton High School, and attached Washington State College. Following service in the Navy, he returned to Pullman and earned his B.A. in mathematics in 1949. He married Sylvia Lybecker, whom he had met at WSC. He earned his Ph.D. in mathematics in 1952 from Princeton University, authoring a doctoral thesis that is often cited as the starting point for the modern development of optimal control theory.
That same year, the Bushaw’s returned to Washington State University where he began a teaching career that spanned 41 years. He also served as chair of the mathematics department, director of libraries and vice provost for instruction. In 1983 he became the first recipient of the WSU Faculty Excellence Award for Instruction. In 1987, he received the Distinguished Service Award from the College of Arts and Sciences. In 1993, he retired from WSU but continued to live in Pullman and perform service functions for the university. In 2008, he received the College of Sciences Legacy Award. In 2010, the Bushaw’s moved to Portland.
In addition to his devotion to family and professional activities, he had a passion and lifelong interest in learning languages and in travel. The Bushaw’s spent a year on an exchange between the National Academy of Sciences and the Polish Academy of Sciences at Jagiellonian University in Krakow in 1972-73; in the early 1990s, he spent one month each of three years in Switzerland studying the Romansch language.
He is survived by his wife; sister Shirley Hansen; daughters Amy Bushaw and Margaret Parker, of Portland; sons Bruce of Richland, Gordon of Silverdale, and Tom of Kennewick; five grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. Grandson Andy preceded him in death in 1988.
A family memorial gathering will be held in Portland.
Read more about Bushaw here. For addition information about his career at WSU, please click the following link to the WSU math department website.