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Leon M. Hall, Missouri - Meritorious Service 2018

Leon Hall has been a stalwart, hard-working member of the Missouri MAA Section for over thirty years, seldom missing a section meeting and usually giving a talk. He has served as the Missouri Coordinator for the American Junior High School Mathematics Exam, a three-year term as Vice-Chair, Chair and Past Chair, Web Page Administrator, and Governor. He was a member of the Missouri Collegiate Mathematics Competition Committee when it began in 1995 and continues to serve in this capacity. In addition, he has served on the section’s nominating committee and the most recent committee to revise the section bylaws. He has supported the Missouri Section’s Distinguished College/University Teaching Award by both initiating nominations and writing supporting letters. Nationally, he served a term on the MAA Committee on Science Policy. On his own initiative, he researched and wrote the History of the Missouri Section for the MAA Centennial Celebration. As a result of this work on the section history, he initiated the collecting of Missouri Section material, which was sent to the Archives of American Mathematics as one of the section's centennial projects.

Leon was an early pioneer in the Missouri Section on using computational tools in mathematics, and organized Derive and Mathematica Workshops and ran a Mathematica session at the 1991 Missouri Section Meeting. More recently, he was part of the Missouri group involved in discussing and planning the historic joint meeting of the Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska/SE South Dakota Sections held in Maryville, MO in 2013. He has contributed and/or refereed articles for The American Mathematical Monthly, The College Mathematics Journal, and Mathematics Magazine several times over the years.

The Missouri Section is pleased to wholeheartedly recognize Leon Hall for his continuing valuable service to the section with this Certificate of Meritorious Service.


Thank you, Missouri Section, for this wonderful honor and recognition. My thirty-plus year professional association with the people in the Missouri Section has been one of the most rewarding parts of my mathematics career, and I look forward to continued MAA activities and relationships for the foreseeable future. Reflecting on and knowing the accomplishments of the previous Missouri recipients of this Certificate, Troy Hicks, Harold Hager, Curtis Cooper, Al Tinsley, Vic Gummersheimer, and Yungchen Cheng, each of whom I have learned from, looked up to, and am privileged to call a friend, it is especially meaningful to become the newest member of this group.


Leon M. Hall, Jr. was born on his father’s fiftieth birthday, so deciding on his name was easy for his mother. He grew up in Sedalia, Missouri, and around age twelve or thirteen, he noticed, but didn’t prove because he didn’t yet know what a proof was, that the partial sums of the odd integers yielded the squares. This was a neat little fact, but at the time he was more interested in baseball, with girls beginning to appear on the horizon as well. The idea of mathematics as a career path, except for K-12 teaching, wasn’t really on his radar. Later, thinking of a possible engineering career, he enrolled at the University of Missouri, Rolla, but not knowing much about the various engineering fields, he signed up as an Applied Mathematics major, intending to switch to the engineering department he liked best later. The switch never happened, and he remained both at UMR and in the Mathematics Department through his PhD, under the direction of Louis Grimm, in 1974. His first academic position was at Nebraska, where he stayed eleven years before returning to UMR as a faculty member in 1985. He started some involvement with MAA while at Nebraska, but his principal MAA activities have been since his return to Missouri. He became Department Chair at UMR in 1998, remaining in that role until retirement (but not retirement from MAA) in 2013. Leon’s research interests began with differential equations and have broadened to touch on special functions, algebraic curves, and the history of mathematics. He has supervised two PhD students. His family has been wonderfully supportive of his career, cheerfully accepting occasional vacations planned around mathematics conferences.