September 15, 2022

Dear Members of Our Campus Community,

It is with great sadness that I write share with you the news that Professor Emeritus Max Weiss passed away on August 22.

Professor Weiss joined our faculty in the Department of Mathematics in 1964. In 1967 he became a founding faculty member of our College of Creative Studies. He was a leader in building and advancing both the Mathematics program and CCS as whole, including serving as Associate Provost of CCS from 1971 to 1977 and again from 1983 to 1984, and as Provost of CCS from 1984 to 1989. His remarkable legacy at CCS was celebrated during the College’s 50th anniversary in 2017-2018.

Professor Weiss was known as an innovative teacher and a dedicated student mentor. He was also an outstanding researcher who published numerous journal articles and an influential text co-authored with Professor Paul Kelly, Geometry and Convexity: A Study in Mathematical Methods.

Our hearts go out to his wide circle of colleagues, former students, and friends, and especially to his wife, Karen, and family. We thank them for sharing with us the tribute below. Our campus flag is lowered today, September 15, in honor and memory of Professor Weiss.

Max Leslie Chase Weiss (1933-2022)

On August 22, 2022, Max Leslie Chase Weiss, retired mathematics professor at University of California Santa Barbara and former provost of the College of Creative Studies, died suddenly of natural causes in his home in Goleta.

Prof. Weiss was born in Salt Lake City on August 12, 1933 to Simon and Clarissa (née Chase) Weiss. He grew up in Utah and was admitted to Yale University in 1951, receiving a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and philosophy in 1955. He earned a master’s degree in mathematics at Cornell University in 1958 and went on to teach mathematics at Reed College in Portland, Oregon for two years. The University of Washington awarded him a PhD degree in mathematics in 1962. After teaching a year at the university he received a National Science Fellowship which allowed him to do research for a year at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, New Jersey.

In 1964 he joined the mathematics faculty at UCSB. In 1967 he became a member of the founding faculty for the College of Creative Studies at the university. He served as associate provost of the college 1971-77 and 1983-84 and was provost from 1984 to 1989. He enriched the college and UCSB by developing projects like the Young Scholars Program and the Prize Competition for gifted high school students. Heart disease prompted him to take early retirement in 1991.

Max was married to Patricia Friedmann in 1954 and they had three children, Karen, Karl, and Frieda. After this marriage ended, he married Karen Knudsen in 1971. To this union were born three children, Erik (died in infancy), Ellen, and Dan. Survivors are his wife Karen, Karen Miller (A.J.), Karl Weiss (Irene), Frieda Weiss (Dale White), Ellen Weiss, Dan Weiss, and his grandchildren: Andrew Miller, Brooke Miller, Alanna White, Marinda White, and Rowan Weiss.

Max took great joy in teaching, especially in the College of Creative Studies, advising his PhD students, and mentoring young mathematically talented children. He enjoyed computer programming and, in his retirement, worked for Bartz Technology in that capacity. He loved word play, music, science, crossword puzzles, and his family. He is also known for running a marathon, composing for the piano, singing, developing a profound philosophy about reality, reading fun books aloud with his wife, and goofing around with his kids. He had a caring heart, a generous spirit, and a creative sense of humor.

One of his many wise/Weiss sayings was, “I wanted to be somebody else, but I needed to be me.”

Friends who wish to honor Max’s memory are invited to donate to Common Cause, ACLU, or the Southern Poverty Law Center. 


Henry T. Yang