University Community

University mourns Mathematics Professor Emeritus Nick Pavel

The Ohio University community mourns Nicolai Pavel, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Mathematics in the College of Arts and Sciences, who passed away peacefully at home with his family by his side on Jan. 19.

Born in Romania, he was the son of the late Hristache and Catinca Ghiugan Pavel. He earned a Ph.D. from the University of Iasi in Romania. He came to America with his family as a visiting professor at Ohio State University in Columbus and the University of Texas at Arlington. In 1988 he obtained a position as Professor of Mathematics at Ohio University.

"He was a devoted teacher, loved his students, and helped a lot of young people. He was loved and appreciated by his students," according to his obituary. "Nick was a wonderful father and husband who leaves behind his wife of 49 years, Sandra, and his son, Dragos; one brother and two sisters. Besides his parents he was preceded in death by a brother."

"I have known Nicolai (Nick) Pavel since 1971. He was a preeminent researcher in the fields of nonlinear analysis, differential equations, and control theory," said Sergiu Aizicovici Ph.D., professor emeritus of mathematics at OHIO.

"At Ohio University, Nick and I co-organized an international conference and a special session of a sectional American Mathematical Society meeting," Aizicovici noted. "We also collaborated on many research projects. He will be remembered as a distinguished mathematician, a rigorous teacher and Ph.D. advisor, and a congenial colleague."

Pavel authored three influential monographs: "Differential equations, flow invariance and applications," Pitman, Boston, 1984; "Nonlinear evolution operators and semigroups. Applications to partial differential equations," Springer, Berlin, 1987; and “Tangency, flow invariance for differential equations, and optimization problems” (with D. Motreanu), M. Dekker, New York, 1999. He also produced numerous outstanding papers published in first-rate mathematical journals.

“Nick Pavel and I came to the Department of Mathematics at the same time. Then, as throughout his career at OHIO, he always had a smile on his face. Bringing Nick to OHIO was considered quite a coup, he had already made significant additions to his discipline, and he continued to build on his earlier work,” said Jeffrey Connor, Ph.D., professor emeritus of mathematics. 

"He was popular and generous with his students, at all levels, and helped students understand that a single problem could be understood by approaching it using a variety of approaches. On a more personal level, he always had an enthusiastic love for his family and always took pleasure in their accomplishments. His contributions to the department will continue to have impact for years to come," Connor said.

Winfried Just, Ph.D., professor of mathematics, said, "I'm deeply saddened by the news about our former colleague Nick Pavel. I will always remember him as a kind man who projected good feelings. As a member of the departmental Evaluation Committee for a number of years, I read many of his student evaluations. One quote that clearly stands out in my mind and sums up the tenor of many of them: 'He has a heart of Gold.'"

"He was fixture of our graduate program for many years, mentoring several doctoral students who have gone on to have careers as professors at other institutions. Even as health issues sapped his energy before retirement, he maintained a wry sense of humor that endeared him to colleagues. He will be missed," said Todd Eisworth, Ph.D., associate professor of mathematics.

Distinguished Professor Emeritus Surender K. Jain, Ph.D., noted, "Nick Pavel was a distinguished scholar and outstanding teacher. He was one of those who was a central force toward building the doctoral program in mathematics. He will be missed by us."

Graveside services were held on Jan. 23. Friends are encouraged to sign the online guestbook at

January 28, 2022
Staff reports