The department is saddened by the tragic and sudden loss of Professor Alfonso Gracia-Saz

May 6, 2021 by Laura Colacci

Alfonso Gracia-Saz unexpectedly passed away in Toronto on May 6, 2021. Alfonso was an amazing educator, partner, brother, and a friend. He will be dearly missed.

There will be a memorial for Alfonso held online on Friday, May 14 at 3pm Toronto time. There will be short remarks from 3:00-3:15, followed by a reception held on 

The reception will be on

In, you will have an avatar that you can use to walk around a virtual environment. You will only be able to hear and speak to others whose avatar is "near" you. This allows for a kind of virtual mingling.

The memorial will be a social event where we will have a chance to share memories of Alfonso in small groups and to play virtual board games, an activity Alfonso loved!

The Math Department is creating a memorial scholarship in honor of Alfonso. 

If you would like to share your memories of Alfonso, please do so on his memorial message board.

If you would like to send a personal message to Alfonso’s family, please direct your message to: 



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, Alfonso has lived and worked in Spain, America, Japan and Canada. Alfonso’s interest in mathematics and physics goes back to his teenage years, when he was a winner of the V Spanish Physics Olympiad, which led to his participation in the International competition in Beijing in 1994. He obtained a Licenciatura (BSc) in both Physics and Mathematics from Universidad de Zaragoza (Spain), in 2000-2001, and a PhD in Mathematics from The University of California at Berkeley in 2006 (where he was supervised by Professor Alan Weinstein). He held postdoctoral positions at Keio University (Japan) and University of Toronto before taking faculty positions first at the University of Victoria and then at the University of Toronto where he was an Associate Professor (Teaching Stream). His research interests were centred in active learning, inquiry-based learning, Poisson geometry and Lie algebroids.

Alfonso believed in the power of education beyond his work of teaching mathematics at university. His calculus YouTube channel with 200 videos has over 10,000 subscribers and well over 3 million views. He was active in mathematics outreach through competitions, math camps, science fairs and undergraduate research. He co-led the recruiting and training of the University of Toronto Putnam Math Competition team, who placed 4th in 2017.  For more than 10 years, he was an Academic Advisor and an instructor for the Canada/USA Mathcamp. He also volunteered as an instructor for the Prison University Project at San Quentin State Prison (now Mount Tamalpais College).

He leaves behind his beloved partner of six years, Nick Remedios. Alfonso and Nick enjoyed contra dancing and complex board games. They loved cooking together. In Spain, Alfonso is mourned by his mother, Carmen; his father, Antonio; his sister, Rebeca, and her children, Mario and Carla.