William Larkin Duren Jr., 1955-1956 MAA President
Born: November 10, 1905, Macon, Mississippi
Died: April 4, 2008, Charlottesville, Virginia
William Larkin Duren Jr. was a mathematics professor and university administrator. He described himself as a "scientific generalist based in mathematics" and advocated interdisciplinary work.
In 1955, the MAA received a $25,000 grant from the Ford Foundation for the Committee on the Undergraduate Program in Mathematics (CUPM) to conduct a study of mathematics teaching and research, and mathematics' relationship to other subjects, and Duren reported on this committee's work at the national meetings during his presidency. He was instrumental in founding and leading CUPM, and he presented "CUPM, the History of an Idea" for the fiftieth anniversary of the MAA.
Education and Career
1926 Tulane University, B.A.
Tulane University, M.S.
1930 University of Chicago, Ph.D.
Duren taught at Tulane for 24 years, becoming chair of the mathematics department in 1947. He spent 1936-37 at the Institute for Advanced Study. In 1952-53, he was the first program director in the mathematical sciences at the National Science Foundation.
In 1955, he joined the University of Virginia as dean, and in 1962, he became a professor there. He helped create the University of Virginia Department of Applied Mathematics and Computer Science and supported the admission of women to the College of Arts and Sciences.
On the occasion of Duren's retirement from the University of Virginia in May 1976, a symposium was held on Education in Mathematics and Computing. The speakers were A.W. Tucker, E.E. Moise, H.O. Pollak, and E.J. McShane.
MAA FOCUS obituary (pdf)
University of Virginia obituary from Peter Duren
"A Career as a Scientific Generalist Based in Mathematics" (pdf), speech by Duren on his 100th birthday about his mathematical career