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EPADEL:A Semisesquicentennial History, 1926-2000

Section 8.1 Pre-History

The impetus for holding special sessions devoted to a particular theme was a questionnaire designed by Eugene Klotz in 1973-1974 and sent to all departments in the section. As noted in Chapter 6, Klotz summarized the responses by listing three activities that would appeal to a wide segment of the membership. Two of them were holding special meetings and accentuating special topics at regular meetings. Joerg Mayer organized the first special session in April 1975 at his home institution, Lebanon Valley College. Mayer was then in the final leg of his second year as chair of the section. Another special session was held that October. For the next two years the two aspects of the Klotz report came together as special meetings devoted to a single topic. We examine these four sessions.
The special session on computers held at Lebanon Valley on April 12, 1975, consisted of three one-hour talks in the morning followed by a bevy of workshops in the afternoon. After the opening remarks by the organizer, Joerg Mayer, the first invited address was delivered by Wallace J. Growney, who had moved to Susquehanna University from the University of Oklahoma a few years earlier. His talk, entitled “Computer underwear”, was described as “an elementary but fast-paced talk on the hardware and software beneath the surface of computing.” Next came another EPADEL member, John A. Beidler (University of Scranton), with the clever title, “The computer, as seen by the computer scientist and by the mathematician”. The final talk at the morning session was “Some views on computer science in small colleges” by R. Austing of the University of Maryland.
Table 8.1.1 lists the six workshops that were offered on the afternoon program of the special session. The people who offered the workshops were called moderators.
Table 8.1.1.
Moderator Affiliation Workshop Title
Leonard Garrett Temple Computer science courses and programs
Edgar R. Mullins Swarthmore Computer sciences courses and programs
(alternate section)
Carl Leinbach Gettysburg The computer and mathematics courses
John A. Beidler Scranton The computer and mathematics courses
(alternate section)
William A. Hansen Wilkes The various high-level languages,
their advantages and disadvantages
Richard Wood LTV Aerospace Choosing a computer
About 75 people attended this special session. Its success prompted Wallace Growney to organize another special session in the fall, this one devoted to “The new applied mathematics”. The meeting on October 4 was impressive, prompting section secretary-treasurer Phillip Bedient to send a congratulatory note to Growney. It read, “By every measure that I can devise the recent Special Session on Applied Mathematics held at Rosemont College was a success. ... Since the Session was largely your doing from start to finish, the section owes you a strong expression of gratitude for a job well done.”
Bedient’s report to the MAA listed the attendance at 158. The section’s archives do not contain a meeting program so we are unable to provide details. However, the archives include Growney’s outline beforehand, from which we conclude that the program consisted of four one-hour sessions. The morning program included “Mathematics in the social sciences” (moderated by Eugene Klotz) and “Mathematics in biology and medicine” (moderated by Growney). The afternoon program was envisioned to consist of “Statistics, computer science, operations research, and other applied areas in the departmental curriculum” and “Careers for mathematics majors”.
A letter from Phillip Bedient to Eugene Klotz in December 1975 uses the term “spring meeting” for the first time. As we record below, these meetings have been conducted every year since the spring of 1976.
Table 8.1.2.
Date Location Theme
April 10, 1976 Gettysburg College Mathematical models in undergraduate
April 23, 1977 Kutztown University Structured programming
April 8, 1978 Ursinus College [No specific theme]
April 28, 1979 Univ. of Pennsylvania Computer graphics
April 26, 1980 Cedar Crest College Combinatorics
April 4, 1981 Penn State – Ogontz Computational geometry
April 17, 1982 Albright College Curricular Interfaces
April 9, 1983 Millersville University Mathematics and artificial intelligence
March 31, 1984 Lehigh University Mathematics and communication theory
March 30, 1985 Bloomsburg University Discrete algorithmic mathematics
April 5, 1986 West Chester University Numerical linear algebra
April 4, 1987 Moravian College Actuarial mathematics
April 9, 1988 Ursinus College Operations research
April 8, 1989 Univ. of Pennsylvania Computer algebra systems
April 7, 1990 Swarthmore College Geometry
April 6, 1991 LaSalle College Decision sciences
April 11, 1992 Messiah College Mathematical models
April 3, 1993 Villanova University Improving mathematics learning
March 12, 1994 Harrisburg Area C. C. Calculus reform
April 8, 1995 King’s College Interactive texts
April 13, 1996 Millersville University Active learning
April 19, 1997 Ursinus College Mathematics and the Internet
April 18, 1998 Shippensburg University Game theory
April 10, 1999 Villanova University Mathematical applications throughout
the curriculum
April 8, 2000 Messiah College Statistics
Table 8.1.2 indicates that, with the exception of 1994, spring meetings are held during the last part of March or the first two weeks in April. The reason for the earlier meeting date in 1994 was because of the joint session with PSMATYC, the Pennsylvania State Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges.
The 25 annual spring meetings have been held at 18 different institutions. This spread reflects the continuing broadening of sectional activity. Curiously the section has met neither at Drexel nor Delaware, although Drexel hosted seven fall meetings, the second-most altogether, and Delaware hosted five.
Ursinus College hosted three spring meetings, the most of any institution in the section. The fall meetings held there in 1938 and 1961 occurred a long time before spring meetings were inaugurated. Four institutions hosted two spring meetings – Messiah, Millersville, Penn, and Villanova. Millersville and Villanova were also the sites for two fall meetings during this period, and Penn one, but the section never met at Messiah in the fall.
The remaining 13 institutions, where spring meetings have been held once, also reflect wide differences regarding fall meetings. For instance, Lehigh and Swarthmore are tied for third place in fall meetings with six each. Similarly, both Penn State - Ogontz and West Chester were the sites of three fall meetings. Two of these institutions hosted one fall meeting – Cedar Crest and Moravian. The spring meeting that the remaining seven colleges hosted was the only time the section met there – Albright, Bloomsburg, Harrisburg Area Community College, King’s College, Kutztown, LaSalle, and Shippensburg.