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Math Educator Alexander Tobin Dies at 84

May 12, 2011
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Alexander Tobin, 84, who oversaw a program that introduced minority students to the discipline of engineering, died of a heart attack April 26 at his home in Dresher.

Tobin was one of the founders in 1985 of the Philadelphia Regional Introduction for Minorities to Engineering, or PRIME, an organization created for the purpose of identifying, encouraging, preparing and graduating minority students into the field of engineering.

Since its inception, it has served as a model for 40 similar organizations around the country.

He began his career in education in 1950 teaching mathematics in the School District of Philadelphia. He spent his summers in administrative positions at Camp Akiba in the Poconos.

For 15 years, beginning in 1970, he was director of mathematics education in the School District of Philadelphia. During the same period, he taught graduate-level courses at Beaver (now Arcadia) college and Temple University on "Effective Teaching in Urban Schools."

The author of numerous textbooks and magazine articles, he served in World War II as a pharmacist's mate in the U.S. Coast Guard.

Tobin is survived by his wife of 32 years, the former Susan Wachtel; daughters Barbara Ilsen and Rhonda Tobin; son Jay Tobin; stepdaughter Allison Mellon; sister Annette Kellem; and eight grandchildren.

 

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