Dana and Adrian Cartier of St. Louis, Missouri — who believe mathematics offers the key to success for many fields — are committed to giving the next generation of University of Mississippi students the tools they need to thrive.
The two alumni gave a $50,000 gift to create the Dr. Adrian and Dana Cartier Graduate Student Stipend Fund for the Department of Mathematics and to support the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College Fund.
“By offering support to these talented students, we can help them achieve their dreams, further their knowledge and impact the world in meaningful ways,” said Adrian Cartier. “I believe investing in the future of mathematics is an investment in the future of society itself. It is only by supporting the brightest minds of today that we can ensure a better tomorrow.
“As such, I believe our gift will have a lasting impact, inspiring generations of students to pursue excellence and innovate in the field of mathematics.”
Adrian Cartier, who grew up in Jackson, Mississippi, earned undergraduate, master’s and doctoral degrees in mathematics from Ole Miss, while Dana Cartier, a native of Belleville, Illinois, pursued an undergraduate degree in mathematics. The two met, dated and married on the Oxford campus.
“There is no other building on campus I spent more time in as a student than Hume Hall,” said Dana Cartier. “The Department of Mathematics was like a second home. I love the challenge and elegance of math. I can’t thank the department enough for all the problem-solving, critical reasoning and application skills they helped me develop.
“Not only do Adrian and I want to provide the amazing opportunity of studying mathematics to students, but we also want to continue to grow talent and elevate the field of mathematics. So many impressive mathematicians made their way to Ole Miss, and we are pleased to help continue that tradition,” she said.
Adrian Cartier enjoyed teaching mathematics for the Honors College after graduate school.
“I was impressed by the students who came out of that program, and I hope our gift can help provide more resources for students to pursue research opportunities in applied mathematics. I am proud to be an alumnus of the University of Mississippi, and I hope my commitment to lifelong learning can inspire future generations of students to pursue their dreams and never stop seeking knowledge.”
James Reid, chair of UM’s Department of Mathematics, shared how the gift will impact students.
“The generous support of the Cartiers will enable graduate students in mathematics to pursue cutting-edge research and work toward completing their doctorates in the summer over the next half decade. This support will directly benefit the financial well-being of the students who face great challenges completing complex coursework, mastering difficult material and producing new research at the frontiers of knowledge. STEM doctorates are needed for this country to compete in an increasingly complex data-driven world,” Reid said.
“Dana and Dr. Adrian Cartier are two graduates of the department, and we are proud of their success and continued support for this university.”
Adrian Cartier is serving on Now & Ever: The Campaign for Ole Miss steering committees for the College of Liberal Arts and for the Honors College.
“As a member of the campaign steering committees, I have the opportunity to work closely with other dedicated alumni and supporters to help craft the vision and strategy for the university’s future. We are focused on supporting initiatives that will expand access to education, promote innovation and entrepreneurship and create new opportunities for research and scholarship,” Adrian Cartier said.
“It has been a pleasure working with Adrian on our campaign efforts for the Honors College,” said Brady Bramlett, associate director of Development. “Dana and Adrian want our students to succeed at the highest capacity which is seen in their support of the Honors College and mathematics. I couldn’t be more grateful for their leadership.”
For the first couple of years of his career, Cartier served as an assistant professor of mathematics at the University of Montevallo in Montevallo, Alabama. During this time, he started an analytics consulting firm with some fellow graduate student colleagues and realized his passion lies at the intersection of mathematics and business.
From there, Cartier became a data scientist for Monsanto Company, where he eventually became the head of data science for Global Supply Chain and Commercial as part of a centralized data science team. He was honored with selection as a Science Fellow and was awarded a patent for innovations in data science.
After Monsanto, Cartier ran data science at Enterprise Holdings before becoming vice president of data science at Ocelot Consulting, an IT consulting firm in St. Louis. Today, he is a co-founder and chief data officer of the software startup company Freight Science, which provides advanced analytics solutions to help trucking companies better utilize their fleets to improve network efficiency and profitability.
“Throughout my career, mathematics has been the driving force behind all of my moves and decisions,” Cartier said. “I firmly believe a deep understanding of mathematical principles is essential for success in any field, and I am proud to have been able to apply this knowledge to make a positive impact on the world around me.
“Reflecting on my time at the University of Mississippi, I am struck by how well-prepared I was for the challenges of my career and life beyond college. Ole Miss provided me with a rigorous academic curriculum that taught me the essential hard skills I needed to excel in my field and equipped me with a range of soft skills that have been invaluable to my success,” he said.
Dana Cartier’s passion for mathematics also drove her career. She owned a tutoring company, taught high school and at the University of Montevallo and worked as the K-12 math specialist for the State Board of Illinois and EdReports.com, before starting her own consulting company.
Consulting allows her to choose different projects and continue to push herself to learn more. She reviewed and edited several curricula for publishers and is working with the state of Washington on creating, writing and project managing a new Algebra 2 curriculum that focuses on student choice, enhancing identity and agency, and valuing multiple contributions.
“Ole Miss has a special place in my heart and made me who I am today,” said Dana Cartier. “And who I am is an advocate for high-quality, aligned curricula, researched and effective teaching practices, policies that put students first and equity and inclusion for all students. It is important to me that every student who wants an education has access to an excellent one.”
The Cartiers are the parents of one daughter, Alexandria, who recently turned 7 years old.
Individuals and organizations can support the Dr. Adrian and Dana Cartier Graduate Student Stipend Fund and the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College Fund by sending a check, with one of the funds written in the memo line, to the University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Ave., Oxford, MS 38655; or online here for the graduate stipend fund or the Honors College fund.
For information on supporting the Department of Mathematics, contact Delia Childers, associate director of development, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 662-915-3086; or on supporting the Honors College, contact Brady Bramlett, associate director of development, email@example.com or 662-915-3081.
By Tina H. Hahn/UM Development