Ron Buckmire: A Leader in Higher Education and Queer Activism

Math professor? Been there, done that.

Worldwide chess star? Child’s play– literally.

Internet pioneer? Call him an OG.

Meet Ron Buckmire, a lifelong LGBTQ activist and mathematician.


Ron Buckmire is known around the world for a large array of achievements. Since becoming a national chess master in his teens, he’s gone on to become a leader in mathematics, paving the way for other queer and diverse mathematicians. He is widely known as the founder of the Queer Resources Directory.


Photo courtesy of Ron Buckmire.

Passion for Education

Born in Grenada, an island country in the Caribbean, Buckmire spent the majority of his childhood in the United States until his family moved to Barbados when he was 11. After completing high school in the Caribbean, he chose to move back to the US to attend college.


Buckmire earned his Bachelor’s, Master’s, and PhD degrees in mathematics, all within eight years at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York. During his time at RPI, he created a weekly LGBT radio show called “Homo Radio,” a local program sharing LGBTQ+ news, interviews, and music that still airs every week. He also co-founded the Women Students Association for feminist STEM students, worked as a senior reporter for the university’s newspaper, and was elected by the student body as an openly gay Graduate Student Senator while earning his degrees.


A Groundbreaking Professional Career

Since completing his higher education in 1994, Buckmire has researched and taught at Occidental College (Oxy) in Los Angeles, California. During his tenure at Oxy so far, he has served as the Mathematics Department chair, the Associate Dean for Curricular Affairs and Director of the Core Programs, and a mathematics professor.


Throughout his career, Buckmire has been an involved member of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM), a community of over 14,500 mathematicians around the world dedicated to sharing applications for mathematics across the STEM industry and promoting research. He was named SIAM’s first-ever vice president for equity, diversity, and inclusion in 2020, working to expand SIAM membership across all demographics and ensure that SIAM is effectively serving its entire diverse community.


In 2023, he became the first openly gay and only the fourth Black mathematician to be named a SIAM Fellow. Nominated by his peers for his outstanding contributions, Buckmire’s addition to this prestigious group is a testament to his passion for mathematics and diversity within the field.


He has also spent years with the National Science Federation, working as a Program Director for Undergraduate Education and later as a Lead Program Director while taking a sabbatical from Oxy.


In August 2024, Buckmire will join Marist College as Dean of the School of Computer Science and Mathematics and Professor of Mathematics.


Chess Champion

Buckmire found a passion for chess in high school, earning the title of Barbados Junior Champion for competitive chess four times. By the age of 18, he had been crowned U.S. National Master, U.S. Senior Master, and FIDE Master, and he is still an internationally ranked player today.


Check out his stats here!


Queer Advocate and Internet Pioneer

Buckmire came out as gay in the late 80s, using the newly created Internet to learn about queerness and to discover more of his identity. In 1991, he created the Queer Resources Directory, the first comprehensive directory of LGBT and HIV/AIDS information online, after seeing firsthand a gap in LGBTQ information available. Before the World Wide Web was even invented, the QRD became the largest collection of online queer archives.


Since then, he has served on many Boards of Directors, including The Center for Health Justice, The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, and Equality California, on top of co-founding the premiere Black LGBT political organization in Los Angeles, The Barbara Jordan/Bayard Rustin Coalition.


He’s taught college courses on queer topics and continually advocates for more LGBTQ students to pursue STEM.


Today, Buckmire regularly blogs as The Mad Professah. On top of his research, teachings, and advocacy work, he enjoys playing tennis with his husband of 16 years, traveling the world, and reviewing books. He’s a proud gay and Black mathematician, focused on making higher education welcoming and inclusive.


Keep up with Ron on X!