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EPADEL:A Semisesquicentennial History, 1926-2000

Section 6.3 Leaders

We mentioned that the section’s governance structure changed dramatically in 1956 and 1968. These changes are reflected in Table 6.3.1, which lists all officers from 1956 to 1978. The section derived great benefits from a cadre of leaders during this period, altogether having 15 different chairs in 23 years.
Several changes in the chief executive position occurred during the period 1956-1978. The second column in Table 6.3.1 shows that almost all chairs were elected for two terms starting with Charles Saalfrank in 1962. This tradition was not codified, however. As the section’s newsletter editor Dorothy Wolfe wrote in 1976, “It is customary, although not necessary, to keep the chairperson and vice- chairperson in office for two years.”
The 15 sectional chairs embody a diverse lot. The election of I. Edward Block from Burroughs Corporation represented the first time in the section’s history that a chair carried a nonacademic affiliation. The only other chief officer to hold nonacademic employment has been Walter Stromquist. Because the section no longer included New Jersey, it was impossible for chairs to be as geographically scattered as before, but when Joerg Mayer of Lebanon Valley College was elected in 1973 and 1974 he provided leadership from the section’s northwestern region. In a similar vein, the election of Donald Western as the only chairman ever to come from Franklin & Marshall College provided leadership from a similar part of the section. The University of Delaware continued its tradition of leadership when Russell Remage and Willard Baxter were elected for a total of four years.
Table 6.3.1.
Year Chair Vice-Chair Sec-Treas Executive Committee
1956 Wilansky Webber Mullins, Saalfrank
1957 Block Webber Western
1958 Lehr Dennis Epstein
1959 Lawton Dennis Brown, Jackson
1960 McNeary Dennis Linton, Rosen
1961 Western Latshaw Filano
1962 Saalfrank Latshaw Woodruff
1963 Saalfrank Latshaw Kerr
1964 Remage Latshaw Leser, Maclasky
1965 Remage Latshaw Hubley
1966 Amelotti Latshaw Kohlmeyer
1967 Amelotti/McNeary Filano Baxter
1968 Baxter Albright Filano Beck, Cunningham Jones,
1969 Baxter Albright Filano Bedient
1970 Albright Pervin Filano Brooks, Mamelak
1971 Albright Pervin Filano Tuckman, Wurster
1972 Pervin Mayer Filano Smith, Wolfe
1973 Mayer Klotz Bedient King, Plotkin
1973 Mayer Klotz Bedient King, Plotkin
1974 Mayer Klotz Bedient Bragg, Grant
1975 Klotz Schattschneider Bedient Denlinger, Porter
1976 Klotz Schattschneider Baxter Arnold, Babcock
1977 Schattschneider Anton Baxter Leinbach, Schwartz
1978 Schattschneider Anton Baxter Wilf, Wong
Although nobody from the University of Pennsylvania was elected chair during this period, the city of Philadelphia was home to chairs from other academic institutions in the Quaker City for eight of the 23 years. This included officers from the Drexel Institute of Technology (McNeary and Pervin) in addition to first-time representation from LaSalle (Albright), Temple (Lawton), Villanova (Amelotti), and Burroughs (Block). Albright and Amelotti were their schools’ only chairs in the section’s 75-year history. Lehr (Bryn Mawr) and Klotz (Swarthmore) were the last representatives from their schools to be elected chair. Lehr’s election in 1958 followed Bryn Mawr’s Anna Pell Wheeler (1943) and John Oxtoby (1955), while Klotz’s elections in 1975 and 1976 made him the only other chair from Swarthmore except for Arnold Dresden (1940).
Chairs from Lehigh Valley schools presided for five of the 23 years. The election of Albert Wilansky in 1958 was the last time that an MAA member from Lehigh University was elected chair. However, the elections of Lafayette College’s Charles Saalfrank in 1962 and 1963 and Moravian’s Doris Schattschneider in 1977 and 1978 show that the Lehigh Valley continued as a hub of leadership.
Lehr, Schattschneider, and Wilansky are profiled at the end of the chapter. For now we provide biographical sketches of the 12 remaining chairs in the order of their terms. The position of vice-chairman was created in 1968 when LaSalle’s Hugh Albright was the first person elected to the position. Without express mention, the title of the position was changed to vice-chairperson when Doris Schattschneider was elected in 1975. Correspondingly Gene Klotz was referred to as the chairperson. Since every vice-chair became the next chair, there is no need to present separate sketches of the vice-chairs. A biographical sketch of the final vice-chair in this period, Howard Anton, appears in the next chapter. (Several section leaders were involved in the founding and the establishment of SIAM – the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics – which has had its headquarters in Philadelphia since it was conceived in the fall of 1951.)
  • Isaac Edward Block is a native Philadelphian who was born in 1924. He received his bachelors degree in physics from Haverford College in 1944. He then obtained two degrees from Harvard, an M.S. in 1947 and a Ph.D. in 1952, both in mathematics with the latter under the famous analyst Joseph Walsh. Ed Block was a mathematics consultant for Philco Corporation from 1951 to 1954. During this time he was a founder of SIAM; he was elected its first secretary and served as managing editor of its first journal. Subsequently, as a volunteer, he served as chair of the SIAM’s publications committee, and eventually as chair of the SIAM board. In 1954 Block accepted a position with the computer company Burroughs Corporation as manager of its Philadelphia Computer Center. He was employed there when elected chair of the Philadelphia Section three years later. Block later worked at another computer company, Remington Rand Univac - Philadelphia, as manager of its applied mathematics department. Later he became a vice-president of Auerbach Publishers, Inc. In 1976 he was persuaded to become SIAM’s first full-time managing director, a position he held until his retirement in 1994. That same year Block was awarded the MAA’s Certificate of Merit, the only person from our section to receive it during the section’s first 75 years. The Certificate of Merit is a special award given at irregular intervals for some special work or service associated with mathematics or the wider mathematical community. Block still resides in the Philadelphia area.
  • Walter S. Lawton was born in 1906 in Mt. Carmel, PA. He received his A.B. degree from Temple University in 1929, and then obtained two degrees from the University of Pennsylvania: an M.A. in 1930 and a Ph.D. in 1934 (for a dissertation written under former section chair J. A. Shohat). Lawton spent his entire professional career at Temple, from his hiring in 1930 until his retirement 40 years later. He served as chair of the department from 1954 to 1970. During World War II he served his country in the U. S. Naval Reserves from 1942 to 1945. He was nominated as chairman of the section’s Committee on High School Contests in 1957 and was elected chair of the section two years later. The section newsletter reported Temple’s initiation of Lawton Lectureships in 1976 to honor his contributions to the University. It was cryptically recorded there that “Lawton disappeared about six years ago at his summer home in the Poconos.” He was pronounced dead officially in February 1971.
  • (1913-1996) is a native Philadelphian who spent most of his life in the area. He received a B.S. from Haverford College in 1936 and an M.A. from the University of Pennsylvania seven years later. Sam McNeary was an instructor at the Drexel Institute of Technology from 1939 until his retirement 1978, except for three years during World War II. He introduced Drexel’s first courses in statistics and numerical analysis. During the war, from 1943 to 1946, he worked as a design engineer on defense-related projects at Westinghouse Corporation in Philadelphia. McNeary was a member of the founding group of SIAM in 1951. He was Drexel’s representative to SIAM, and he served for several years as an editor of the SIAM Newsletter and the SIAM Review. He was elected chair of the Philadelphia Section in 1960. He also agreed to assume the chairmanship in 1968 when Emil Amelotti passed away midway through his second one-year term. McNeary was the author of a calculus text and several papers on hydraulics and other engineering projects. After retirement he became interested in home renovations and bought, refurbished, and sold a dozen houses. McNeary died after suffering a stroke in suburban Philadelphia three months shy of his \(83\)rd birthday.
  • Donald Ward Western (1915-2003) was born in Poland, New York. He obtained a bachelors degree from Denison University in 1937, a masters degree from Michigan State University in 1939, and a Ph.D. from Brown University in 1946 for a dissertation on integral norms written under Paul Rosenbloom and Jacob Tamarkin. Western joined the faculty at Franklin & Marshall College two years after receiving his doctorate, remaining there until he retired in 1980. During that time he served as chair of the department for 20 years, 1952-1972. He was elected to the section’s Executive Committee for a three-year term in 1957, the same year that he was appointed to the committee on high school contests. He was active in the Philadelphia Section in several other ways – serving on the Program Committee 1952-1953, being elected chair for 1961-1962, being elected sectional governor for 1962-1965, and being a panelist at meetings held in 1966 and 1972. Western was an NSF faculty fellow in 1960. He still resides in Lancaster.
  • Charles W. Saalfrank is a native Pennsylvanian, born in 1919. He received a B.S. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1941 and an M.A. from the University of Nevada two years later. He then returned to Penn as an instructor from 1943 to 1947, all the while completing requirements for the doctorate. He was awarded the Ph.D. the next year for a dissertation written under A. D. Wallace, the first of 22 that Wallace directed. Saalfrank taught at Franklin & Marshall during the 1947-1948 academic year but then left for Rutgers University. He remained at Rutgers from 1948 to 1952, and then crossed the Delaware River again to accept a professorship and become chair of the department at Lafayette College, where he spent the rest of his career. Saalfrank was elected chair of the Philadelphia Section in 1962 and 1963. Amazingly, he was chair of the mathematics department for 30 years, 1952-1982. Charlie Saalfrank retired from Lafayette in 1986. Since then, his wife Marie and he have been living in Ormond Beach, Florida.
  • Russell Remage, Jr. (1915-2001) was born in West Virginia. By age 21 he had earned bachelors and masters degrees from West Virginia University, an A.B. in 1936 and an A.M. in 1937. Four years later he was commissioned in the Navy, where, at age 25, he became one of the youngest commanding officers in World War II. Following the war, Russ Remage accepted an instructorship at the University of Delaware in 1946. Over the next four years he juggled teaching duties, raising three daughters, and graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania, resulting in a Ph.D. in 1950 for a dissertation on invariance and periodicity of transformations written under G. Schweigert. He remained on the Newark campus until his retirement in February 1981. The year 1964 was particularly propitious for Remage – he was promoted to professor, selected department chairman, and elected chair of the Philadelphia Section. He remained as chair of the section for a pair of one-year terms and chair of his department for six years. During this time he took the lead in establishing the department’s Ph.D. program. Remage and his Delaware colleague Robert Jackson served as co-editors of the SIAM’s first journal at its start in 1953. He held an NSF faculty fellowship for the year 1959-1960. An athlete throughout his life, Remage remained an avid tennis player in retirement; inspired by Tiger Woods, he took up golf at age 81. He died on May 23, 2001 at the age of 85.
  • Emil Amelotti (1904-1968) was born April 10, 1904, in Italy. He received two degrees from the University of Illinois, a B.S. in electrical engineering in 1926 and an M.S. in mathematics in 1928. Although he did graduate work for one year at the Politechnico Institute (Turin, 1931-1932) and five years at the University of Chicago (1933-1938), he did not receive a doctorate. Amelotti came to Villanova in 1938 and remained there until his untimelyEXPANSION, 1956-1978 Page 113 death on March 3, 1968, one month shy of his 64 th birthday. Amelotti was the first chair of the mathematics department at Villanova when it was founded in 1947. Five years later he was elected SIAM’s first treasurer. He was also elected chair of the Philadelphia Section in 1966 and 1967 but died midway through his second term. Amelotti was an MAA member for nine years.
  • Hugh Norton Albright was born in Jerusalem in 1928. He received a bachelors degree from Catholic University (Washington, DC) and two degrees from the University of Pennsylvania. A Christian Brother, he received his Ph.D. in 1959 for a dissertation written under Morikuni Goto titled, “Compact complex homogeneous manifolds.” Brother Albright has taught at LaSalle his whole career – a total of 44 years! – from his arrival in January 1951 until retirement in 1995. He was chairman of the mathematics department from 1964 to 1970. He was elected chair of the Philadelphia Section in 1970 and 1971 after having served as vice-chair for two years. To add to his administrative duties at this time, he served as the Dean of Arts and Sciences at LaSalle from 1970 to 1976. When asked how he handled 12 straight years of university administration Brother Albright responded, “I attended Saturday classes at the University of the Arts for three hours every week for eight semesters, from 1977 to 1980, to help me overcome the experience.” Although he retired from full-time teaching in 1995, he has continued teaching part-time at LaSalle since then.
  • William Joseph Pervin is a Pittsburgh native, born there in 1930. He received two degrees from the University of Michigan in 1952, a B.S. and an M.S., and a Ph.D. five years later from the University of Pittsburgh for a dissertation written under Norman Levine. While in graduate school at Pitt he was employed by the Atomic Power Division of Westinghouse Electric Corporation as a senior scientist (1954-1955) and also by Pitt as an assistant professor (1955-1957). Upon receiving his doctorate in 1957 he accepted a position at Penn State, where he remained until 1964 except for a year at Heidelberg University as visiting professor. He then became chair of the department at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee for three years before moving to Drexel University in 1967. He directed doctoral theses at Penn State and Wisconsin. William J. Pervin participated in the section as soon as he came to the area, delivering an invited address at the November 1967 annual meeting on “Algebraic topology for undergraduates”. When he was elected chair of the Philadelphia Section in 1972, he was in the midst of a two-year stint as Director of the Computing Center at Drexel. Pervin was the section’s last chair to hold the position for only one year. He has worn various mantels at the University of Texas at Dallas since leaving Drexel in 1973, mostly in computing. However, Pervin steadfastly maintained his professorship in the department of mathematics and computer science, serving as chair of the department from 1983 to 1985 and master of the Engineering School (1987-1994). He resides in Richardson, Texas, with his wife and 12-year-old daughter.
  • Joerg Werner Peter Mayer was born in 1929 in Germany. He received his advanced degrees at Universität Gießen, with a 1954 doctorate based on a dissertation written under A. Peyerimhoff. He taught at the University of Malaysia 1954-1957. Mayer then came to the University of New Mexico, where he directed six Ph.D. students. He left New Mexico in 1968 to become chair of the department at George Mason University in Virginia. However, two years later Mayer found an area much more to his liking and moved to Lebanon Valley College, where he remained until his retirement in 1997. He served as chair of the department 1970-1982 and as director of the new computer center 1973-1975. Mayer discussed his chairing of our section and the MD-VA-DC section in a 1982 MAA invited lecture titled, “Reflections of a maverick chairman”. He is the author of two books, Algebraic Topology (1972) and Assembly Language Programming (1991). Although he has a daughter and four sons, he is not related to Jörg-Peter Mayer, who received a doctorate from Universität Kiel in 1997. Our Mayer has lived in Brattleboro, VT, since his retirement.
  • Eugene Arthur Klotz was born in Iowa in 1935. He received a B.S. from Antioch College in 1958 and a Ph.D. from Yale in 1965 for a dissertation on Lie rings written under the famous algebraist Nathan Jacobson. Gene Klotz came to Swarthmore College in 1963 and has remained there ever since. In 1971 he published the book Linear Algebra and Analytic Geometry with former section chair Heinrich W. Brinkmann. Klotz was an associate professor when elected chair of the Philadelphia Section in 1975 and 1976, but was promoted to full professor the following year. He was an NSF Science Faculty Fellow in 1974 and the principal investigator for a 1981- 1982 NSF grant on mathematical education using information technology. His interests shifted to computers and mathematics during the 1980s, and he was one of the founders of the Math Forum on the Internet that has garnered international acclaim.
Earlier we noted the waning influence of the University of Pennsylvania on sectional leadership. This can be seen in the sketches of the 15 different chairs in the period, none of whom was on the faculty at Penn. However, Table 6.3.2, which lists the doctorate granting university for the 13 chairs who received a Ph.D., reflects Penn’s continuing influence in a different light. It shows that 5 of the 13 (or 38%) received their Ph.D. from Penn. Indeed 10 (77%) received their highest degrees from Ivy League institutions. Moreover, we will see below that Penn continued to produce the greatest number of invited speakers of any institution.
Table 6.3.2.
Chairman Doctorate
Albright Penn
Baxter Penn
Block Harvard
Klotz Yale
Lawton Penn
Lehr Bryn Mawr
Mayer Germany
Pervin Pitt
Remage Penn
Saalfrank Penn
Schattschneider Yale
Western Brown
Wilansky Brown
Let us review briefly the history of the position of secretary-treasurer of the section. At the organizational meeting in 1926 one of the founders, Albert Bennett (Lehigh), was elected as vice-chairman and secretary-treasurer. The next year the title “vice-chairman” was dropped when J. R. Kline (Penn) was elected secretary-treasurer. In 1928 the designation “treasurer” was dropped when P. A. Caris of Penn was elected as secretary. The secretary then resided at the University of Pennsylvania until 1947, with Perry Caris serving a record 13 years from 1928 to 1941. The present period began with G. Cuthbert Webber (Delaware) at the helm; he was elected to the post at meetings held from 1953 through 1957. As previously noted in this chapter, the by-laws were changed in 1956 to return the position of secretary-treasurer.
The section owes a great debt of gratitude to every secretary-treasurer. During the 23-year period under discussion only six individuals held the position. Two of them were profiled in Chapter 5 – G. C. Webber and F. L. Dennis (Ursinus). Willard Baxter (Delaware) is profiled below. Here we provide biographical sketches of the three remaining secretary-treasurers, who were associated with Lehigh, West Chester, and F & M, in the order of their terms.
  • Voris V. Latshaw (1903-1988) was born, raised, and educated in Indiana. He received all three of his degrees from Indiana University, an A.B. in 1927, A.M. in 1928, and Ph.D. in 1930. After spending a year as acting head of the department at Fort Hays (Kansas) State College, he accepted a position at Lehigh University and spent his entire career there. During World War II he took leave to serve as a mathematician with the National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics from 1944 to 1946. He was the secretary-treasurer of the Philadelphia Section during the period 1961-1967 when the MAA celebrated its 50 th anniversary (in 1965). Part of the celebration called for a history of MAA sections, a task that fell to Latshaw. His account of the first 40 years of the section appeared in the resulting book, Kenneth O. May (ed.), The Mathematical Association of America: Its First Fifty Years, MAA, 1972, pp. 94-95. Latshaw died in Delray Beach, Florida, at the age of 84.
  • Albert E. Filano was born in Penfield, PA, in 1925. He received two degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, a B.S. in 1948 and an M.A. the following year. He obtained his Ph.D. in mathematics education from Penn State in 1954. Filano taught at several colleges before settling at West Chester State College in 1958. He served as chairman of the department from his appointment until 1969; from 1967 to 1969 he also was the director of the college’s Division of Science and Mathematics. Filano then became the vice president for academic affairs, a position he held until his retirement. During his tenure he also served as acting president of the college. Filano has written several texts and workbooks, and he was the principal investigator on several NSF grants. He was awarded the Four Chaplains Legion of Honor Service Award, the Pennsylvania Council of Teachers of Mathematics Outstanding Leader Award, the Outstanding Alumnus Award from the Bennetts Valley Alumni Association, and the Outstanding Educators of America Award. Filano still resides in West Chester.
  • Phillip E. Bedient was born in China in 1922. He received an A.B. from Park College in 1943 and then two degrees from the University of Michigan, an M.A. in 1946 and a Ph.D. in 1959. His doctoral dissertation was written under the well-known author of differential equations texts, Earl Rainville. Between the latter two degrees he taught at Juniata College from 1950 to 1955. He then moved to Michigan as an instructor. After receiving his doctorate Bedient accepted a position at Franklin & Marshall College and remained there until his retirement in 1987. He served as chairman of the department from 1972 to 1981. He still resides in Lancaster.
Executive Committee
The Program Committee evolved into the Executive Committee in 1956 and expanded 12 years later. From that time onward, the committee was composed of six at-large members, each serving a three-year term, with two new members elected every year. It became customary to fill the three new slots that were added to the committee in 1968 with members associated with a two-year institution, a high school, and a nonacademic employer.
It also became customary for leading members of the Executive Committee to ascend to higher ranks of sectional governance. Thus, for example, David Rosen became governor of the section, Albert Filano secretary-treasurer, and Gerald Porter governor and treasurer of the national MAA. It is worthwhile to note that two women were elected to the Executive Committee in 1971 – Marie Wurster of Temple University and Claire Tuckman of Cheltenham High School. (Tuckman directed many successful problem-competition teams). Another woman was elected the next year, Dorothy Wolfe, chair of the department at PMC (now Widener University).
One amusing incident related to the Executive Committee shows diligence at the national level. It was reported to the MAA that at the 1962 annual meeting Shaylor Wood of Abington Senior High School was elected to the committee. The Executive Director Harry Gehman wrote, “According to our records, Mr. Wood is not a member of the Association and is, therefore, ineligible to hold office. We have, however, invited Mr. Wood to become a member.” Only then did Gehman notice that the name in the report sent by sectional secretary Voris Latshaw differed from the name in his account of the annual meeting. Two days later Gehman sent a letter to J. Shaylor Woodruff that began, “If you receive a letter addressed to Shaylor Wood inviting you to become a member of the Association, please ignore the letter.”
Too many different individuals served three-year terms to warrant biographical sketches and, as far as we know, none but Woodruff was involved in a noteworthy incident. However, we introduce Wurster here to honor her widespread contributions to the section and to cite important connections with earlier section leaders.
  • Marie Anna Wurster was born in Philadelphia in 1918. After attending public schools in the city, she entered Bryn Mawr College in 1936 at the height of the depression. A scholarship enabled her to live on campus during her final two years. Wurster remained at Bryn Mawr as a graduate assistant 1941-1943, taking all her courses from three other sectional leaders – Anna Pell Wheeler, Marguerite Lehr, and John Oxtoby. Then she accepted a fellowship to the University of Chicago. During her three years in the Windy City she was very active with the Junior Mathematical Club, serving on the Executive Committee and presenting a paper on Fourier coefficients her first year, being elected social chair the second year, and elected chair the final year. She also completed her dissertation (under Lawrence Graves) in 1946 on the calculus of variations. Upon graduation she accepted an instructorship at Temple University and remained there until retirement in 1985. She is the author of a textbook with Thomas H. Slook and two with the current chair at Temple, John J. Schiller.