Carnegie Mellon University
December 18, 2023

Math Professor, Alumnus Retires after 20 Years at CMU-Q

Heidi Opdyke
  • Interim Director of Communications

One of the original faculty members at Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar (CMU-Q), Marion Oliver, is retiring after two decades at the Qatar campus. Oliver is a teaching professor of mathematics, and has taught or advised the majority of CMU-Q’s 1,221 graduates. CMU-Q is a Qatar Foundation partner university.

Oliver has a long history with Carnegie Mellon University. He was a graduate student at the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania campus, earning a PhD in mathematics in 1971. He continued to work at CMU until 1979, when he left for other teaching opportunities.

“When the opportunity came in 2003 to help start the Carnegie Mellon campus in Qatar, it felt like it was meant to be,” Oliver said. “Carnegie Mellon has bookended my teaching career.”

Oliver has served the campus in advisory roles, including several years as the first-year advisor for all new students.

“When students start university, they are inexperienced, used to being taught in a way that just stifles their creativity,” Oliver said. “They go through a transformation. When they leave, they think independently, and it’s a privilege to be part of that.” 

Michael Trick, dean of CMU-Q, recognized Oliver’s contribution at a farewell event that brought together hundreds of people from the CMU-Q community, including many of Oliver’s former students. 

Trick mentioned how Oliver was inspired to pursue a teaching career by a high school math teacher.

“I would suggest that over the course of his 50-year career, Marion has himself become the inspiring force for thousands of students," Trick said. "I’m sure a few of them turned out to be math professors. For all of Marion’s students, his thoughtful approach to teaching and problem solving was an important step in their career paths.”

Trick offered his deepest appreciation for the contribution Oliver has made to education, particularly during his 20 years in Qatar.

“On behalf of all of us at CMU-Q who have had the privilege of working with you and learning from you, thank you for your kindness, your good humor, and your thoughtful guidance over these many years," he said.

Oliver will retire to his home in Atlanta.