Skip to main content

EPADEL:A Semisesquicentennial History, 1926-2000

Chapter 6 Expansion, \(1956-1978\)

The New Jersey Section was founded as the 27th section of the MAA in 1956 under the direction of Dean Albert Meder of Rutgers and Albert W. Tucker of Princeton, heretofore influential members of the Philadelphia Section. From that time onward, all MAA members who lived in the Garden State were affiliated with the New Jersey Section. This chapter traces developments in the Philadelphia Section from 1956 through 1978. It shows that the section continued to prosper in spite of losing a previously vital element. Indeed, the section expanded rapidly; its annual meetings attracted record crowds and the increasingly broad interests of the membership sparked the inauguration of annual spring meetings in addition to annual fall meetings.
At the annual meeting in November 1978, the membership passed “by an overwhelming vote” an amendment to the by-laws to change the name of the section to reflect the boundary that had been in effect for 22 years. That amendment had been moved, seconded, and adopted by the Executive Committee at its meeting on April 8 of that year. Beginning with national MAA approval of the change on January 2, 1979, the section became known as the Eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware Section – in short, EPADEL. Consequently the 23- year period covered in this chapter describes the last phase of the Philadelphia Section.
As usual, the chapter begins with an examination of all annual meetings held during the period: attendance, dates, and locations. We discuss how the first two elements are intimately intertwined. In this chapter the examination of meetings is not followed directly by a discussion of the section’s leadership. Instead, we describe a whole raft of new activities that were instituted, including high-school contests, a committee on teaching standards, a newsletter, a panel on industrial opportunities, sessions of undergraduate speakers, results from competitions, films, special interest groups, and, most notably, the restructuring of the section’s governance.
Next comes an account of the new leadership that expanded the types of activities the section sponsored. Changes to the by-laws in 1956 and 1968 materially altered the section’s governance, resulting in an Executive Committee to assist the chairman and secretary with administering the section. We provide biographical sketches of all 15 section chairs. Profiles of Marguerite Lehr, Will Baxter, Doris Schattschneider, and Albert Wilansky appear at the end of the chapter to honor contributions that span the section’s 75-year history. Biographical sketches of three secretary-treasurers and two other leaders are interspersed throughout the text. Moreover, changes at the national MAAa
led to the institution of a Board of Governors in place of the previous Board of Trustees. We examine the history of this transformation before looking at the individuals who served as governors. Two sectional governors are profiled.
The last part of the chapter concerns the various activities sponsored by the section in the 23-year period. In addition to panel discussions, films, and student presentations, there were 80 invited lectures. We present a chronological account of the lectures and an analysis of the lectures according to their mathematical classification. Most activities were concerned with educational and curriculum issues. The highest number of invited lectures dealt with analysis and topology/geometry but substantial numbers of talks were devoted to algebra/ number theory, applications, and combinatorics/graph theory as well.