Alumni Honorees

William R. SpeerWilliam R. Speer

B.S. Mathematics, 1969
M.S.Ed. Secondary Education, 1971


DeKalb-born William Speer is the classic tale of a home-town boy who does well.  The proximity of his childhood home on Locust Street to the NIU campus served to make Bill feel a part of the Northern family from an early age.  He attended McMurry School on the NIU campus for grades K-5 before moving to the campus laboratory school for junior high when it first opened. He attended DeKalb High and went on to earn his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at NIU.

Currently, Dr. Speer is Dean of the College of Education, the Director of the College of Science/College of Education Center for Mathematics and Science Education, and Professor of Mathematics Education at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV).  He is also an Emeritus Professor of Mathematics and Computer Education at Bowling Green State University.

Speer is a past-president of six professional organizations and was a member of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Commission that released the landmark Professional Standards for Teaching Mathematics.  He is a major author of the new teaching standards that NCTM released in 2007, the editor of the NCTM 2011-2013 yearbooks, and is the primary author of Today’s Mathematics: Concepts, Classroom Methods and Instructional Activities, now in its 12th edition.

He has received the highest teaching, research and service awards at both Bowling Green State University and UNLV.  Perhaps most importantly, Speer enjoys sharing the many ways that NIU has shaped his career in mathematics and mathematics education.