Memorial Created By
Bernardo Galvão-Sousa

Alfonso Gracia-Saz

Alfonso Gracia-Saz unexpectedly passed away in Toronto on May 6, 2021. Alfonso was an amazing educator, partner, son, brother, uncle, and a friend. He will be dearly missed. This space is for those who loved Alfonso, cherished his friendship and were inspired by his work. Please share stories, photos,...  see more

In Memoriam: Professor Alfonso Gracia-Saz, March 13, 1976 – May 6, 2021 We are deeply saddened by the passing of Professor Alfonso Gracia-Saz, who has been teaching in the Mathematics Department at the University of Toronto from 2013. Alfonso was a well-loved and innovative teacher who was just about to receive the 2021 Excellence in Teaching Award from the Canadian Mathematical Society. Born in Zaragoza in Spain on March 13,1976,...  see more
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Posts & Photos

  • Antonio Gracia
    En Octubre de 2019 Alfonso vino a visitarme con Nicolas, ya que por mi enfermedad no podia viajar e ir a buscarle a Barajas o El Prat como lo hacia cada vez que venia a España y luego pasar algun dia con el en Zaragoza.

    Fueron unos dias maravillosos...  more
  • Lola Weng
  • Antonio Gracia
    Quiero dar las gracias al Departamento de Matematicas de la Universidad de Toronto y especialmente a Bernardo compañero de mi hijo Alfonso Gracia Saz que han creado esta Web a disposicion de los compañeros, alumnos y amigos de Alfonso en donde se han...  more
  • Zahra Hodjat
    I was filling out a U of T Alumni survey yesterday. There was a question asking me to name one person who had made a big impact on me during my studies at U of T. Alfonso immediately came to my mind, even though I had only taken MAT137 with him many...  more
  • Antonio Gracia
    Alfonso Querido Hijo:

    Ya hace 4 meses que fuiste arrebatado de niuestras vidas de una forma muy cruel, yo perdi lo quie mas queria en esta vida quedandopme solo huerfano de hijo.

    No lo acepto y hay dias qie me conecto al chat de Hangout para ver si hay...  more
  • Carl Mautner
    From my years as a student at Berkeley, I remember Alfonso as one of the most gentle and kind human beings I have met. I loved his sense of humor. Sadly, after leaving Berkeley, I only saw Alfonso a couple times over the years - at the ICM in Madrid,...  more
  • Bandar Al-Dhalaan
    Alfonso's MAT 137 is what made me want to go into math, and I know I'm not the only one. When I became a TA at the University of Michigan, it was his teaching style that I took inspiration from in my own teaching. Incidentally, it was he who wrote me a...  more
  • Fionntan Roukema
    To Alfonso's loved ones,

    I am writing to offer you my deepest commiserations on your tragic loss.

    I did not know Alfonso well, but I had an extremely strong sense that he was a very special individual. I was applying for a job at U of T, and I was...  more
  • Jeffrey Zhou
    As a MAT137 student, I got to experience Alfonso's exemplary teaching skills through his instructional videos, where he lays out the course material both succinctly and effortlessly. Although I unfortunately never had the chance to meet him in person,...  more
  • Jacqueline Li
  • Neo Yin
    I worked as a TA for Alfonso's MAT137Y1 online during the COVID-19 pandemic. I felt very privileged to have been able to sit in class with Alfonso for a year and work as a part of his team. His teaching is SOOO unusually good that it defied what I...  more
  • Neo Yin
  • Tony Hu
    I had Alfonso as my MAT223 instructor just this past winter. Although I didn't really like the course per se (for reasons about the course itself), Alfonso genuinely cared about all of us in lecture and did his best to deliver the content. I didn't have...  more
  • Marco Zambon
    Alfonso and I overlapped for several years during our PhD studies in Berkeley. Thank you Alfonso, I am grateful that I could meet you there, and that we could travel together to conferences in Europe during the summer. After a few years we lost touch,...  more
  • Alyssa Rusonik
    When I started my undergrad, I was not particularly interested in math. I took MAT137 almost by accident. A month or two into the course, Alfonso said he thought I was a "closeted mathematician." I laughed. He knew I was a humanities student....  more
  • Paulina D.
    My condolences to Alfonso's family. He was such a joy to dance with, and will be sorely missed. May he be remembered always.
  • Paulina D.
    Paulina D. added 1 photo(s) to the memorial Alfonso Gracia-Saz:
  • Miriam Garcia
    Dear all,
    I'm a friend of Alfonso from his Physics BSc days on. Reading your posts is like seeing him again, teaching right in front of me. I see the irony, witt, fine sense of humor, compassion, passion, love for Math, teaching, and for others that he...  more
  • Teresa Dawson
    Alfonso and I worked together in the Learning and Teaching Centre at UVic years ago. I remember a particularly passionate conversation about Santa when my son was small. Alfonso was very worried about the impact on a small child's psyche of having a...  more
  • Iris Shao
  • Iris Shao
    "Let's try the chain rule backwards" — Alfonso's MAT137
  • Gal Gross
    I had the good fortune to be a student the one year Alfonso was teaching specialist math courses, and I will always consider myself supremely lucky because of that.

    Assignments were frequent, challenging, and very time consuming; exams tested not only...  more
  • Carlos Beltrán
    I met Alfonso en 2007. He was a very nice and kind guy. And a good Folk dancer too! I have no photos but good memories. Mis condolencias a su familia y amigos.
  • Lisa Jeffrey
    Alfonso redefined the standard for good teaching in our department. He will be greatly missed.
  • Miguel Carrion Alvarez
    This is my translation of an obituary I wrote for the Herald of Aragón, the local paper of Alfonso's hometown of Zaragoza. It begins and ends like a classic eulogy by Spanish poet Miguel Hernández (linked below).

    In Toronto, neither his town nor mine,...  more
  • Songhao Li
    Very sorry to hear tragic news!
    Alfonso was in his first stint as a postdoc at UofT when I was a graduate student. He was so passionate about teaching and had a good vision for practical improvements. When he came back to UofT for a teaching position, I...  more
  • Steven Bailey
    I was shocked and saddened by the news of Professor Gracia-Saz's passing. This is such a tragic loss to the entire community. His passion for teaching could not be denied and was reflected on the impact he had on his students and colleagues. My deepest...  more
  • connie remedios
    It is heart broken and devastated to get the news. Alfonso is a humble man never mentioned his incredible achievement all through the years i known him . I know him as he is Nicks my son's partner. It is a blessing they are so right for each other....  more
  • Alan H
    Alan H added 1 photo(s) to the memorial Alfonso Gracia-Saz:
  • Danny Nackan
    Very sorry to hear the tragic news. I first met Alfonso when I was an undergrad student in his real analysis class, and over the following three years I worked as one of his TAs. This time spent absorbing Alfonso’s educational philosophy was very...  more
  • Joel Kamnitzer
    Joel Kamnitzer added 1 photo(s) to the memorial Alfonso Gracia-Saz:
  • Joel Kamnitzer
    Use your judgement.

    "When you say "h and its derivatives", is the integral a derivative?"

    Use your judgement.

    "When we are writing our intuitive explanation for question 4 are we
    allowed to assume things like x^3 or x^5 have...  more
    • Bernardo Galvão-Sousa reacted on this.
    • Joel Kamnitzer
      Maria Teresa Gil Lucientes When I came to visit Alfonso at Berkeley from Spain, he showed me the album with all our photos. It says a lot about him that he shared these photos with you. He really cared about his friends.
      • May 13, 2021
    • Joel Kamnitzer
      Antonio Gracia Hola estuviste con Alfonso en un Congteso de Matemayicas en Barcelona?
      • February 25, 2022
  • Vicki Zhang
    My deepest condolences to Alfonso's family. This came as such a shock. I don't know Alfonso very well, but have been in various meetings with him. He's such a genuine soul, always voicing his most honest opinions, whether popular or not. I also bumped...  more
  • Colleen Dodds
    I knew Alfonso through square dancing. He was a brilliant dancer, never made a mistake, and was always kind and encouraging to new dancers. He will be greatly missed in the square dance community. My condolences to his family and loved ones.
  • Yuan Yao
    I was a undergrad in his mat347 class (abstract algebra) and went to some of his putnam sessions. When you are a undergrad, you are kind of only half out of high school and half looking curiously at the world of professionals and adults. And during that...  more
  • Dianne Saxe
    Dear Nick,
    I am so sorry to read this terrible news. It was always a pleasure to dance with Alfonso. He was kind and understanding when I was a beginner dancer, and always warm, enthusiastic and skilled. I hope that his memory will always be a blessing to you.
  • Antonio Corcoles
    I am heartbroken. Alfonso has been my friend for more than 25 years. And as talented, smart, passionate and incredibly clever and sharp as he was, all that paled in comparison to his kindness and his friendship. He added so much to so many lives. All my...  more
  • Maria Teresa Gil Lucientes
    This is an old photo of Alfonso in Vienna in 1996 (I think). I have wonderful memories of his friendship during these days.
  • Eckhard Meinrenken
    Thinking of Alfonso, I think of his passion, dedication and gentle humour. I had known Alfonso since his years as a postdoc here in Toronto, and was thrilled when he joined our faculty several years later. For a while, "We need somebody like Alfonso...  more
  • Irene CA
    Always attentive to whoever was speaking, always curious... Making the wittiest comments with that soft voice of his. I met him on his teens (this is a 1995 photograph, taken at Madrid's Retiro Park), on my teens... Friend of my brother, he became friend...  more
    • Bernardo Galvão-Sousa reacted on this.
    • Irene CA
      Bernardo Galvão-Sousa Hi Irene, his nickname on a boardgame site was oxeador. I didn't know where it came from and he never told me.
    • Irene CA
      Irene CA He even had a gmail adress with that, it was his "warname" I suppose. Oxeador is a made-up word he created, meaning more or less "the one who shooes away the chicken" and there is one only "oxeador", and that is Alfonso. Yeah, he loved playing with...  more
  • Jason Physics
    So sorry for your loss, Nick. Alfonso is a great loss for the University of Toronto as well and it must be a very difficult time in the Department of Mathematics right now. I met with Alfonso about once a year since 2015, as he and I both liked to...  more
  • Chenchang Zhu
  • Fernando Caro
    You did it.
  • Rachel Anderson
    I had the pleasure of working with Alfonso as a TA and Math Centre Coordinator at UVic. Alfonso was tireless in his dedication as a math educator. One of the first things he did at UVic was to set up an informal course to help grad students gain...  more
  • Josephine Wang
    Goodbye Alfonso
    You are always the best professor and best friend
  • Natalia Manjarres
    It is quite sad to hear that Professor Alfonso has passed away. This is very unexpected. He was my professor for one class, and I could tell from the little time I spent in his class that he was a great person. He was peaceful, humble and caring. He...  more
  • Robert Remedios
    I have know Alfonso for 6 years and in all that time he has never mentioned his many educational and professional accomplishments to me. I am just learning about them now. He is not one to boast.
    I will remember him not as an exceptional Math professor...  more
  • I am heartbroken by the sad news of Alfonso’s unexpected death. Alfonso was my best friend during our undergraduate years back in Spain. We were both studying Physics and Mathematics (both degrees at the same time), and therefore shared tons of notes...  more
    • Bernardo Galvão-Sousa reacted on this.
    • Maria Teresa Gil Lucientes
      Joel Kamnitzer One day in Berkeley, there was a fire alarm and as we walked out the building (10 floors), Alfonso and Nick started playing a blind game of chess.
      • May 12, 2021
  • Yasamin Nouri
    Professor Alfonso's loss comes with great shock and sadness for me. He was the most resourceful, caring, and understanding Professor whom I had the opportunity to learn from. His classes and methods of teaching were by far the best, and you could truly...  more
  • Ruibo Sun
    Professor Alfonso was my instructor for MAT137 and MAT223. I would say that he was the best professor I have ever met. As a student, I cannot use words to describe how lucky I am to have him as my math professor and it was my honor to be his student.
    I...  more