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# EPADEL:A Semisesquicentennial History, 1926-2000

## Section6.1Annual Meetings

Table 6.1.1 provides an overview of the 23 annual meetings of the Philadelphia Section held from $$1956$$ to $$1978\text{.}$$ The final column provides references to the official annual reports from the Monthly. We were unable to locate the report from the 1978 meeting at Millersville.
Columns 3, 4, and 5 in Table 6.1.1 list those attendance figures we were able to locate. Although the secretaries’ annual reports listed total attendance (#) and the number of attendees who belonged to the MAA, they no longer listed the names of MAA members. One salient feature is the dramatic increase in attendance beginning with the 1963 meeting. The doubling of local attendance was evident at meetings held at Lehigh Valley colleges in 1971 and 1977 too, unlike earlier periods when travel difficulties caused relatively low attendance at meetings held there. What might explain this extraordinary increase? A reason might be found by examining MAA membership levels, but those numbers show only a gradual increase from 10,000 in 1960 to 12,800 in 1962, 14,000 in 1963, and 15,600 in 1964.
So what accounts for the sudden doubling of attendance? Focus on the dates of the 23 meetings listed in the first column of Table 6.1.1, because they betray a subtle shift. Beginning in 1963, meeting dates were changed from the Saturday after Thanksgiving to the Saturday before, reversing a tradition established officially in 1939 but observed unofficially every year since the section’s founding in 1926. This change alone accounts for the increase in attendance.
The second column in Table 6.1.1 lists the locations of the 23 meetings. Whereas in earlier periods the University of Pennsylvania dominated the sites of the annual meetings, none was held at Penn from 1955 to 1997. Similarly, Lehigh University, the other focus in our elliptical model for the founding of the section, hosted only one in the 23-year period, in 1958. Lehigh hosted four meetings before this period but would not host another for 40 more years. The examples of Penn and Lehigh suggest that beginning in the mid-1950s the section’s leadership decentralized from these two research universities to other colleges and universities scattered throughout the region. This change in the nature of our local section is undoubtedly related to the rapid expansion of faculties in departments of mathematics in many colleges and universities throughout the country at the time.
Altogether 15 different institutions hosted the 23 meetings. This provides another indicator of a broadening of activity, and concomitant with it a broadening of the leadership base in the section. Drexel University picked up Penn’s slack in the city, hosting three of the fall meetings. Swarthmore College was the site of three meetings as well. Four institutions hosted meetings on two occasions: the University of Delaware, Franklin & Marshall College, Haverford College, and West Chester University. The remaining nine institutions hosted one meeting each.
Chapter 5 reported that the annual meeting was held in Delaware for the first time in 1952; it met there again twice in the present period and again in 1980. Haverford hosted two meetings in the present period also, and two prior to the period, but none since then. The 1962 meeting at Franklin & Marshall marked the first time the section met in Lancaster; it would return in 1975 and 1987. Similarly, the 1965 meeting at West Chester marked the first time the section met at one of Pennsylvania’s state teachers colleges. Today the collection of those institutions is called the State System of Higher Education. (The State System of Higher Education consists of 14 universities, with eight located in our section: Bloomsburg, Cheyney, East Stroudsburg, Kutztown, Mansfield, Millersville, Shippensburg, and West Chester). The section also met at West Chester in 1970 and 1982. Several institutions that hosted one meeting in the present period did so for the first time: Millersville University (1978, again in 1989), Muhlenberg College (1956 and 1992) and Villanova University (1966 and 1981). Two institutions hosted an annual meeting for the only time ever: Lebanon Valley College (1972) and Moravian College (1977).
All data in the preceding paragraph refer to annual fall meetings. The section inaugurated spring meetings in 1976. Chapter 8 supplied details about them separately.
One institution’s bid to host an annual meeting during the present period serves as a harbinger of a new kind of institutional affiliation. Toward the end of the period, in 1976, the section met at Montgomery County Community College (MCCC), marking the first time the annual event was held at a community college. Chapter 7 describes several meetings held at two-year institutions.