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EPADEL:A Semisesquicentennial History, 1926-2000

Section 7.1 Annual Meetings

Table 7.1.1 provides an overview of EPADEL’s 22 annual fall meetings held from 1979 to 2000. Unlike the analogous tables in earlier chapters, there is no column providing references to the official annual reports from the Monthly because of changes that took place in the journal. Starting in 1981, section reports were moved from a Monthly column called “Mathematical Association of America” to a new Center Section of the journal. But that policy lasted only four years. In 1986 the Center Section no longer carried section reports, only telegraphic reviews. Even the Center Section disappeared the next year. In short, section reports were not made public after 1985. The interested reader might consult the Monthly for reports on meetings held from 1979 to 1984, yet we hasten to add that these reports listed only elected officers and invited addresses. To compound matters, the report of the 1979 meeting at Drexel appears twice, the one from the 1978 meeting never appeared at all, and the journal’s index is unreliable. Even attendance was reported sporadically, often carrying the qualifier “approximately”, although in general, attendance figures were in line with those reported from meetings held in the 1970s.
From the founding of the section in 1926 until 1962 all annual meetings were held on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. The resulting shift to the Saturday before Thanksgiving in 1963 caused a dramatic increase in attendance. As Table 7.1.1 indicates, this tradition changed in 1989, when an earlier date was established. The present policy of holding annual fall meetings on the first Saturday in November has been in effect for every meeting since 1994, except for the 1996 gathering at Delaware State University.
One other fall meeting was held in October, but it is not included in Table 7.1.1 because it was not the annual fall meeting. On October 13, 1990, the section sponsored a special program at the Community College of Philadelphia. We will discuss this meeting later in the context of other sectional activities.
The dates in Table 7.1.1 obscure one other attempt the section made to accommodate its members. The meeting at Drexel on November 23, 1986, was held on a Sunday at the request of several Jewish members who were unable to attend meetings held on Saturdays. Minutes from the Executive Committee meeting the following February state, “The attendance (145) was satisfactory and members do not in general oppose having Sunday meetings in the future.”
The second column in Table 7.1.1 lists the locations of the 22 annual fall meetings, which were held at 17 different institutions. Drexel University and the Penn State campus in Montgomery County (which underwent a name change recently) hosted three meetings each. Since the section’s founding in 1926, Drexel has hosted seven fall meetings, with at least one in each decade since the first one in 1953. (The meeting held there in 1991 coincided with the university’s 100 th anniversary.) It is a completely different story for the Penn State campus, formerly Ogontz, now Abington. The section only met there in the present period, and one person deserves the lion’s share of the credit. (The meeting there in 2000 coincided with the branch campus’s 50 th anniversary. Those who attended were given commemorative T-shirts.)
Table 7.1.1.
Date Location
November 17, 1979 Drexel University
November 22, 1980 University of Delaware
November 21, 1981 Villanova University
November 20, 1982 West Chester University
November 19, 1983 Bryn Mawr College
November 17, 1984 Swarthmore College
November 23, 1985 Temple University
November 23, 1986 Drexel University
November 21, 1987 Franklin & Marshall College
November 19, 1988 Penn State – Ogontz
November 4, 1989 Millersville University
November 10, 1990 University of Delaware
November 9, 1991 Drexel University
November 14, 1992 Muhlenberg College
November 13, 1993 Cedar Crest College
November 5, 1994 Montgomery County Community College
November 4, 1995 Penn State – Ogontz
October 26, 1996 Delaware State University
November 1, 1997 University of Pennsylvania
November 7, 1998 Lehigh University
November 6, 1999 Elizabethtown College
November 4, 2000 Penn State – Abington
  • Ayoub Barsoum Ayoub was born in Cairo, Egypt, where he received his B.Sc. in 1951 at Ain-Shams University. He taught high-school mathematics in Cairo from 1951 to 1955, when he accepted an instructorship at his alma mater. He came to the U.S. in 1975 and enrolled in the graduate program at Temple University, receiving an M.A. in 1977 and a Ph.D. in 1980. His dissertation on units in prime cyclotomic fields was written under the supervision of sectional governor Emil Grosswald. Upon graduation, Ayoub returned to Ain-Shams for two years, directing one masters thesis while there. A naturalized citizen, he returned to the U.S. as a visiting professor at Temple. He has been at the Penn State - Abington since 1983, serving as coordinator of the mathematics program 1991-1993. He has won several teaching prizes, including Penn State’s Atherton Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1990. Conversely, he endowed the Student Mathematics Achievement Award on the Penn State campus. Ayoub served on EPADEL’s Executive Committee 1991-1994 and headed up the section’s Undergraduate Paper Competition 1993-1997.
The only other institution that was the site for more than one meeting in the 22-year period is the University of Delaware, which hosted meetings in 1980 and 1990. This makes five times in the history of the section that an annual fall meeting was held in Newark. The 1990 meeting was historic; over lunch, Willard Baxter presented a short history of the section. Besides, the day began with a welcome by university president, and former mathematics professor, David P. Roselle, yet another instance of Delaware mathematicians holding top administrative positions. Recall from Chapter 3 that G. A. Harter, Delaware president 1896-1914, was an active member of the section from its inception in 1926.
That leaves 14 different institutions that hosted the remaining 14 meetings, a reflection of the broadening of active participation throughout the section. It is notable that the two institutions that had dominated the sites of earlier meetings, the University of Pennsylvania and Lehigh University, hosted consecutive meetings toward the end of the EPADEL period after long interludes. The 1997 meeting at Penn was the first held there in 42 years, while the 1998 meeting at Lehigh was the first in 40.
Overall, Penn has hosted 16 fall meetings, the most of any institution in the section. Next comes Drexel with seven, followed by Lehigh and Swarthmore with six each, including the meeting at Swarthmore College in 1984.
Now we provide information on the remaining 12 institutions that hosted one meeting during the EPADEL period. The 1982 meeting at West Chester University and the 1987 meeting at Franklin & Marshall College were the third hosted by each institution; West Chester hosted earlier meetings in 1965 and 1970, while F&M hosted meetings in 1962 and 1975. Five schools hosted their second meeting: Villanova University in 1981 (the first was in 1966), Bryn Mawr College in 1983 (1947), Millersville University in 1989 (1978), Muhlenberg College in 1992 (1956), and Montgomery County Community College in 1994 (1976). The four remaining meetings were held at institutions hosting a fall meeting for the only time in the section’s history: Temple University in 1985, Cedar Crest College in 1993, Delaware State University in 1996, and, to celebrate the school’s 100 th anniversary, Elizabethtown College in 1999. The meeting at Delaware State marked the only time the section met at one of its three historically black institutions; none has been held at Lincoln University or Cheyney University so far.
All data here refer to annual fall meetings. The section began to sponsor annual spring meetings in 1976 but we consider them separately in the next chapter. Also, the Community College of Philadelphia hosted a meeting in October 1990 but it was a special meeting, not the annual meeting. CCP thus became the second community college to host a meeting sponsored by the section.