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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.

Presidency: 1955-1956

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.

Duren left Tulane University to become dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Virginia in 1955.

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.

External Resources

MAA obituary

MAA FOCUS obituary (pdf)

The Washington Post obituary

University of Virginia obituary from Peter Duren

William Larkin Duren Jr. Memorial Website

Gung and Hu Distinguished Service to Mathematics Award citation by E.J. McShane

"A Career as a Scientific Generalist Based in Mathematics" (pdf), speech by Duren on his 100th birthday about his mathematical career

William L. Duren Jr. Papers at the Archives of American Mathematics

Records of editors, presidents, and secretaries from MAA headquarters, William L. Duren, 1950-1958 at the Archives of American Mathematics

The Mathematics Genealogy Project