November 19, 1949 --
Marie A. Vitulli is an American mathematician whose research interests are in commutative algebra and algebraic geometry: in particular, in the theories of seminormality and weak normality for commutative rings and algebraic varieties and valuation theory for commutative rings. Her early work was on deformations of monomial curves. She is a Professor Emerita of Mathematics at the University of Oregon.
Vitulli was born in Mineola, New York in 1949. She did her undergraduate work at the University of Rochester and graduated in 1971 with a B.A. degree in mathematics with highest distinction. During her undergraduate days at Rochester she studied the viola at Eastman School of Music and played with the university symphony orchestra. Marie began graduate studies in mathematics at the University of Pennsylvania in 1971. She was awarded an N.S.F. Traineeship and a Dissertation Year Fellowship at Penn. In 1976 she received a Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Pennsylvania. Her dissertation was entitled “Weierstrass points and monomial curves” and was directed by Dock Sang Rim. Upon completing her doctorate Dr. Vitulli joined the faculty at the University of Oregon and retired as Professor Emerita of Mathematics in 2011. She continued to teach part time at Oregon until 2015. In Eugene, Vitulli played viola with the Riverside Chamber Symphony and Quartetta Oliva.
Vitulli has made original and important contributions to commutative algebra and its interactions with algebraic geometry, has published numerous research articles and book chapters and has lectured on her work throughout the United States, Europe, and South Africa. After her early work in deformation theory Vitulli turned her attention to the study of seminormality and weak normality for commutative rings and algebraic varieties. In a series of papers with her colleague John V. Leahy, she developed fundamental properties of seminormality and weak normality and made connections to the theory of weakly normal complex analytic spaces. Vitulli and Leahy proved that the singularities that most frequently occur in weakly normal complex algebraic varieties are multi-crosses. Vitulli and Leahy introduced the notion of the weak subintegral closure of an ideal and connected it to the weak normalization of a projective variety. In 2011 wrote an invited survey article on seminormal rings and weakly normal varieties in which she presented a new element-wise criterion for weak subintegrality. Along with her colleague David K. Harrison, she developed a unified valuation theory for rings with zero divisors that generalized both Krull and Archimedean valuations.
Prof. Vitulli directed the Ph.D. dissertations of Kenneth Valente, Laurie Burton, and Heather Coughlin at Oregon. She mentored many graduate students during her tenure at Oregon. She directed Honors College theses of Amy Hill and Joseph Vandehey.
Service to the Profession
While at Oregon, Dr. Vitulli worked in various ways to improve opportunities for women in mathematics. She was involved in the creation and administration of a scholarship program for undergraduate women in mathematics and the physical sciences. She created Women in Math Web Project in 1997 and continues to maintain and expand the site. The website features an extensive collection of biographies; a categorized and searchable bibliography of publications on gender and mathematics and gender and science; a section on events including upcoming conferences, college and beyond programs, K-12 programs, workshops, and research collaboration conferences for women; a section on opportunities including information on grants, scholarships, fellowships, and summer intern programs; and a section containing miscellaneous links including links to associations of interest to women in the mathematical sciences in the U.S. and abroad. The site was chosen as a Site of the Day by New Scientist Planet Science and by the Eisenhower National Clearinghouse for Mathematics and Science Education as one of its Digital Dozen sites in mathematics. Vitulli was a founding member of a senior women’s faculty group called Advocates for Women Faculty that advised the University of Oregon administration on issues of concern to women faculty. That group was responsible for creating and advancing many policies at Oregon, including the first consensual relations policy governing intimate relationships between faculty and staff and their subordinates.
Vitulli started the movement to form a union for tenure-related and non tenure-track faculty and librarians at the University of Oregon. A small band of faculty interested in unionization began meeting in 2007. By the end of 2009 it was clear that the faculty could not form a union without outside help so Vitulli and colleague Gordon Lafer invited the American Federation of Teachers and the Association of University Professors to campus to help organize the faculty. The first collective bargaining agreement for United Academics of the University of Oregon was ratified in October of 2013.
Professor Vitulli has served on many local, statewide, and national committees including the University of Oregon Center for the Study of Women in Society Executive Committee, the Association of Oregon Faculties (President, 2007 - 2009), the Joint Committee on Women in the Mathematical Sciences (1995 - 1997), and the AMS-ASA-IMS-MAA Joint Data Committee. She and Mary E. Flahive (Oregon State University) conducted studies of first jobs for new Ph.D.s in mathematics with an eye towards gender differences in 1997 and 2010; summaries of these studies appeared in the Notices of the American Mathematical Society. In 2017 Vitulli conducted a twenty-five year study of first jobs for new Ph.D.s in mathematics with an eye towards gender and citizenships differences; this study covered the period from 1990 to 2015. The full study was posted on the ArXiv and a summary appeared in the March 2018 issue of the Notices of the American Mathematical Society.
Vitulli has been involved increasing the representative of women in mathematics on Wikipedia. She has created several Wikipedia pages on prominent women mathematicians and has edited many more pages. She wrote a paper about her experiences in writing Wikipedia articles which was posted on the ArXiv; a summary of the paper appeared in the March 2018 issue of the Notices of the American Mathematical Society.
Vitulli has been an active member of the Association for Women in Mathematics (AWM) for decades through membership on a variety of committees that oversee and run the programs of the AWM. She served on the Noether Lecture Committee, as well as organized and co-organized various AWM Workshops and Panels. She chaired the AWM Advocacy and Policy Portfolio (2012-2106) and was elected to and served on the AWM Executive Committee (2010-2016). She is a principal administrator of the AWM Facebook page. She served on the AWM Financial Oversight and Investment and Media Committees for several years.
Vitulli received the Stoddard Prize in Mathematics at the University of Rochester in 1969. She was one of seven students elected to Phi Beta Kappa in her junior year at the Rochester. In 2005, Vitulli was awarded an Educational Technology Grant to reform the business calculus sequence at University of Oregon, chiefly by introducing interactive Excel workbooks into the sequence. Professor Vitulli was named the 2014 AWM/MAA Falconer Lecturer. The AWM and Mathematical Association of America annually present the lecture “to honor women who have made distinguished contributions to the mathematical sciences or mathematics education.These one-hour expository lectures are presented at MAA MathFest each summer.” Vitulli’s lecture was entitled “From Algebraic to Weak Subintegral Extensions in Algebra and Geometry.” In 2017, Vitulli was awarded an AWM Service Award in recognition for her many years of varied service to the association. She was elected a Fellow of the Association for Women in Mathematics in the 2019 Class “for her exceptional efforts to promote women in mathematics through her active participation in AWM, on Facebook, in Wikipedia, and in writing AMS Notice articles; for her contributions to commutative algebra and algebraic geometry”. She was elected a Fellow of the American Mathematical Society in the Class of 2020 “for contributions to commutative algebra, and for service to the mathematical community particularly in support of women in mathematics”.