Celebratio Mathematica

Richard Allen Askey

Foreword to second edition

by Howard S.Cohl and Mourad E. H. Ismail

Photo of original table of contributions for the Liber Amicorum, a Friendship Book for Dick Askey.
Photo taken by Howard Cohl.

The ori­gin­al idea for giv­ing a friend­ship book to Dick As­key dur­ing the Fall Sec­tion­al AMS Meet­ing in Madis­on, Wis­con­sin on Septem­ber 14–15, 2019, oc­curred on Septem­ber 4, 2019 in an email dis­cus­sion between Mourad Is­mail and Howard Cohl. After that, Howard and Mourad sent a bulk email to Dick’s col­leagues, in­form­ing them of Dick’s grave situ­ation.1 Hence­forth, there was a great out­pour­ing of warmth and grat­it­ude for Dick, and many con­tri­bu­tions were re­ceived. Over the course of 10 days, these con­tri­bu­tions were care­fully as­sembled in­to a PDF doc­u­ment.

After at­tend­ing the last af­ter­noon talk in the Spe­cial Ses­sion on Spe­cial Func­tions and Or­tho­gon­al Poly­no­mi­als on Sat­urday, Septem­ber 14 (or­gan­ized by Sarah Post, Uni­versity of Hawai’i at Mānoa, and Paul Ter­wil­li­ger, Uni­versity of Wis­con­sin–Madis­on), Dick As­key’s son, Jim Zurlo, drove Mourad Is­mail and Howard Cohl to a Fe­d­Ex store in Madis­on, Wis­con­sin. It was then ar­ranged to print what ended up be­ing a beau­ti­fully craf­ted edi­tion of the Liber Ami­cor­um, a Friend­ship Book for Dick As­key. This edi­tion was 106 pages long and con­tained 63 sep­ar­ate con­tri­bu­tions.

On Sunday Septem­ber 15, 2019, after driv­ing to the Chapel at Oak­wood Vil­lage Prair­ie Ridge (East) in Madis­on (Dick’s cur­rent res­id­ence), all present signed the front page of the Friend­ship Book. The prin­ted edi­tion was presen­ted to Dick in a beau­ti­ful ce­re­mony led and or­gan­ized by Dick’s fam­ily, and in par­tic­u­lar by Dick’s daugh­ter Su­z­anne As­key. Diego Domin­ici presen­ted the OPSFA Life­time Achieve­ment Award to Dick (see Con­tri­bu­tion 58 be­low). All present had a chance to speak and share their thoughts and feel­ings with Dick, and in re­sponse, Dick softly shared some stor­ies with us.

This fi­nal up­dated Friend­ship Book now in­cludes some ex­tra con­tri­bu­tions. It is a col­lec­tion of 81 heart­felt an­ec­dotes2 in 133 pages mark­ing Dick’s long ser­vice to our com­munity. It is giv­en from those of us who wanted to ex­press our ap­pre­ci­ation and grat­it­ude to the friendly, gen­er­ous, en­cour­aging, en­thu­si­ast­ic, in­spir­ing, in­sight­ful, in­flu­en­tial, ir­re­place­able, gi­ant, lead­er, math­em­atician and per­son, Dick As­key.