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EPADEL:A Semisesquicentennial History, 1926-2000

Chapter 8 Spring Meetings, \(1975-2000\)

The need to hold a second annual meeting was felt by the late 1950s. A letter from I. Edward Block (who had been chair 1957-1958) to the newly elected chair Marguerite Lehr in December 1958 noted, “There seems to be a certain state of indifference which permeates the Section, but perhaps through continued effort the situation will change.” It did, resulting in a report by the Executive Committee in 1959 listing 10 possible activities. The first was to organize complete programs around a particular topic, and the second was to hold two meetings each year.
It would take another 15 years before these suggestions would become a reality, and even then they would be somewhat controversial. Yet due to the success of two special sessions held in 1975, the section sponsored its first spring meeting in 1976. The success of these meetings has resulted in a tradition of annual spring meetings that continues today. The two annual meetings often exhibit markedly different characters, however, as the 1959 report suggested. Whereas fall meetings were designed to appeal to a wide variety of interests within mathematics and mathematics education, each spring meeting is generally devoted to one theme.
This chapter is divided into four parts. The first deals with the “pre-history” of spring meetings, as evidenced by the two special sessions in 1975. The second examines the dates, sites and themes of all spring meetings held from 1976 through 2000. The third analyzes the sites of annual meetings at combined fall and spring meetings. The final part presents a chronological account of the spring meetings from 1976 to 2000, singling out some of the individuals who played integral parts. Gerald Porter is profiled at the end of the chapter to honor his contributions to the section and the national MAA over a period exceeding 30 years.