University of Victoria
The Ring - The University of Victoria's Community Newspaper

June 5, 2003 · Vol 29 · No 9

Spring Convocation 2003


Governor General's Silver Medal
Perfect GPA leads to the top of the class


Kang"Determination and focus. He has both in spades."


Those are the words UVic mathematician Bill Pfaffenberger uses to describe Ross Kang, who graduates this month with a BSc in math and computer science, and the Governor General's silver medal as the university's top undergraduate.


"It's just a matter of discipline and putting in the time," says Kang, who leaves UVic with a perfect grade point average of 9.0. His academic record is a sea of A-pluses, blemished only by one A-minus. "I also got an A in one graduate course," he admits somewhat apologetically, "but it didn't count toward my program."


Kang's accomplishments fulfil the promise he showed at Mt. Douglas Sr. Secondary when math teacher Dave Barker urged him to enter math competitions and take math courses at UVic. He did both, graduated from high school with straight A's, and won a $10,000 UVic Excellence Scholarship.
While at university, Kang competed several times in the Putnam math competition, the premier math event for North American undergraduates. His personal best was 164th place, putting him in the top six per cent of participants.


Earlier this year, Kang won a UVic Blue and Gold Circle award for combining scholastic achievement with community involvement. He volunteered at Victoria General Hospital, helped organize the annual Terry Fox Run, and served on the executives of the UVic badminton club, and the math and statistics course union.


For his part, Kang remains low-key about his mathematical abilities. "When I say I study math, the other person usually says 'Oh, I was bad at math' and wants to end the discussion there," he says. "I guess math isn't easy for everyone. It's not easy for me either."


His interests lie at the intersection of math and computer science, known as discrete mathematics. "It has to do with counting things," says Kang, who is currently working as a research assistant in the University of Waterloo's department of combinatorics and optimization. This fall he heads to graduate school for a PhD.


No doubt there he'll use the same time management principles to guide him. "Figure out how to get everything done, and allocate the right amount of time to each thing," he says. "That's the key."






Lasting legacy

Lou-Poy takes oath as ninth chancellor

Honorary degrees

Class of '64 caps convocation

Major medal winners

Grad stories

Ben Blackmore

Leigh Cormier

Ken Cryderman

Ross Kang

Lehna Malmkvist

Sheri Molnar

Tamara Rozeck-Allen

Julia Shinaba

Alice Tyrrell

Dr. Brigitte Vachon

Daniel Vanderster

Andrés Vidal Gadea

Trev Williams