The Ron Sellke Math and Citizenship Lecture Series

  • ETHS is proud to establish The Ron Sellke Math and Citizenship Lecture Series in honor of Ron Sellke's long career at ETHS and commitment to math education for all students.

    Imagine a world where everyone was good at math: no one misunderstood subprime mortgages, driving across town to save a penny a gallon on gas was unheard of, and playing the lottery was just a fun way to contribute to schools. Anyone with a marketable idea could write a business plan or grant proposal. Complex tax codes and gerrymandered voting districts would vanish.

    How do we make a world where math is relevant, appreciated, and practiced? In addition to effective teaching, we tell good math stories — about real problems and real solutions.

    Imagine a sports agent teaching the art of negotiation; a community activist showing how statistical analysis saves lives; a data artist exploring what gossip, encouragement, or bullying look like online; or a political operative explaining how elections are won and lost.

    These stories aren’t hard to understand, and they can serve as a bridge of meaning between common sense, logic, and the more formal aspects of math. That’s a critical link for every consumer and citizen, empowering them to think rationally not just about prom tickets or summer jobs, but about the big stuff: saving for college, government policy, the planet.

    The Ron Sellke Math and Citizenship Lecture Series aims to bring engaging speakers to Evanston Township High School to share their math stories with students and the surrounding community. Mr. Sellke inspired his ETHS students with stories like these — in classes from algebra to calculus — from 1987 until his retirement in 2006. He also brought them to his work as a math team coach, to summer math classes for gifted high school students at Northwestern University’s Center for Talent Development, and to Project EXCITE, a long-term multi-institution collaboration to boost minority student achievement in science and math.

    While Mr. Sellke is no longer with us, this lecture series hopes to honor him and his love for math and its relevance to real life. As he did, we hope to engage and entertain while making it obvious how math empowers individuals to see and seize the opportunities in their lives.

    If you would like to make a donation to support the lecture series, visit the ETHS webstore online, or send a check to

    ETHS Educational Foundation

    1600 Dodge Ave

    Evanston, IL 60201

    Please mention "Ron Sellke Lecture Series"