Robert L. Griess Jr., has been named the John Griggs Thompson Distinguished University Professor of Mathematics. He is currently the Richard D. Brauer Collegiate Professor of Mathematics. Griess has made pioneering discoveries in the areas of finite groups, finite aspects of Lie theory, vertex algebras, and rational lattices.  His 1980 construction of the Monster, the largest of the sporadic simple groups, represented a breakthrough in theory and helped open new connections within mathematics and with theoretical physics. Griess received his Ph.D. under the direction of Thompson at the University of Chicago. Thompson's work has been recognized with the Fields Medal in 1970, the Wolf Prize in 1992 and the 2008 Abel Prize.