UNC Charlotte Professor Emeritus Nickolas (Nick) M. Stavrakas, 74, passed away on March 24, 2021 at Atrium Health University City following a sudden illness. Stavrakas was a professor and administrator in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics for 43 years before retiring in 2015. He served as associate chair for the department in the early 1990s.
Stavrakas was dedicated to UNC Charlotte throughout his career and was also a university alumnus and Charlotte native. He earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from UNC Charlotte and played on the men’s basketball team in the 1960s before earning master’s and doctoral degrees in mathematics from Clemson University.
He made clever contributions to mathematics, including convexity theory, throughout his career, which continued after his retirement. Some of his geometric insights made contributions, in collaboration with other colleagues, to other areas such as infinite dimensional topology and general topology.
Colleagues describe Stavrakas as a kind and creative person who worked efficiently, running all things smoothly and with a smile. He saw the best in the department and was a tireless supporter of the faculty and its mission. Some of his most important contributions were connected with the department’s effort to develop and launch the Ph.D. program in mathematics. That program was one of the initial three Ph.D. programs UNC Charlotte was authorized to offer.
His roots in Charlotte and his life-changing experience as an undergraduate at UNC Charlotte fostered a special commitment to the university – his university – shaped his contributions over 40 years on the faculty, colleagues say.
His obituary is available through McEwen Funeral Service at Sharon Memorial Park.