Department of Mathematical Sciences

History of Mathematical Sciences at Clemson University

The Department of Mathematical Sciences
of Clemson University
(1964-2002)

A list of Heads/Chairs of the Department of Mathematical Sciences during the period 1965-2000 is as follows:

Clayton Aucoin hired 23 PhDs between 1963 and 1970 (for list, see Aucoin section). By 1970, the faculty hired between 1964 and 1969 had obtained 6 summer NSF research grants, 13 in-service institutes from NSF, 7 summer research grants from NASA, one summer research contract from the Water Resources Program, two undergraduate research grants, and a Summer Institute from the state. Members of the faculty had 6 invited lectures at national professional conferences and many gave presentations at various conferences. One of the highlights of this period was an International Conference on Projections and Related Topics hosted by Clemson in 1967 (organized by Professor Andrew Sobczyk). Some of the presentations were given by Jorem Lindenstrauss, John Isabell, Victor Klee, Czeslaw Bessaga, Ivan Singer, Charles MacAuthor, Meyer Jerison, Les Karlovitz, S.M. Ulam, and Seymour Goldberg.

Here are some edited recollections from Mrs. Virginia Jackson Stanley who became Clayton Aucoin's secretary soon after his appointment as Head of the Department.

"Working with Dr. Clayton Aucoin was an interesting experience. His easy-going manner was welcome to me after years of pressure as the payroll clerk for the University. At first I felt that our office was an extension of the United Nations as I struggled to spell or pronounce the names Cholewinski, Sobczyk, Lukawecki, Alam, Wallenius, Patel, Prochaska, and others. Adding to the international flavor was an Irishman, Dr. O'Reilly, who was teaching in Kenya and hired by long-distance telephone. Bringing glamour to the Department was Dr. Renu Laskar, who continued wearing her beautiful saris. My duties were varied. The first responsibility was to Dr. Aucoin but others could ask for assistance (and they did). We had an excellent typist, Mrs. Sue Marrah, who typed all the mathematics papers. The Mathematics and English Departments were sharing the building. We had a joint 'coffee room' enjoyed by both departments and making coffee was often my responsibility.

"In 1969 Dr. Aucoin was named Dean of the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences and I continued working with Dr. Aucoin. (At that time the English Department moved to Strode Tower and we stayed in Martin-O.) Within the year Dr. Aucoin learned that the University nepotism policy would prevent his wife, Claire Aucoin, from continuing her teaching position and Dr. Aucoin resigned as Dean. Dr. Henry Vogel of the Physics Department was named Dean, and I moved to Kinard Hall to work as his secretary. It is my opinion that Dr. Clayton Aucoin is the person most responsible for developing the Mathematical Sciences Department to its present status."

In 1969 John Kenelly became Department Head and the Department hired PhD graduates Paul Holmes, Robert Boland, Jack Peck, Jim Promfret, and J.A. Zimmer. Associate Professor Holmes had research experience at Rutgers and provided strength in the area of stochastic processes. Assistant Professors Boland and Peck added much needed expertise in computing. In 1973, the Department added PhD graduates G.B. Garcia, Austin Lemoine, and Richard Lewellan. Professor Karamedian was a Visiting Professor that year. As a result, in the summer of 1974, he, Garcia, Kenelly, and Aucoin held a conference on Complementarity with 27 distinguished attendees including leaders from Stanford, the University of Chicago, Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and Bell Labs. (see Fixed Points edited by Karamedian, published by Academic Press in 1977). In 1974 Professor Mike Westall was added to the faculty.

At this time typical graduate student programs were a blend of two of the mathematical areas: algebra, analysis, computational mathematics, and statistics. The area of statistics included probability, statistics, and some operations research. Most of the graduate students were teaching assistants. Students earning a master's degree accumulated 36-39 hours of credit and finished in four academic year semesters plus a summer session. In the period 1965-1975, 32 students received PhD degrees in the following areas: algebra 8, analysis 12, computational mathematics 1, convexity 4, probability/statistics 7.

In 1975, the Computer Science Department began to split away from the Mathematical Sciences Department. The process took about two years and by 1979-1980, the new Department was formed. The Department consisted of the following PhDs: Edward Page, Jack Peck, Joe Turner, Harold Grossman, Herbert Krasner, Wayne Madison, and Mike Westall (many of whom had been members of the Department of Mathematical Sciences). Instructor/Lecturers Eleanor Hare, A.C. O'Conner and H.C. Sellers as well as Visiting Assistant Professor Arthur Pellerin also were part of the staff. The separation also caused some drop in the number of students taught by the Department of Mathematical Sciences.

Meanwhile, Mathematical Sciences added PhDs Associate Head Richard Ringeisen and Professors Carl Ahlers, P.M. (Lin) Dearing, J.P. (Rick) Jarvis, Robert Ling, Fred Morgan, Herman Senter, and Daniel Warner.

In the years just preceding 1975, it began to be obvious that the Master's and PhD programs needed to add breadth to compete for jobs in colleges, government, and industry. The Department had already added strength in computational mathematics, probability/statistics, and operations research to the core areas of analysis and algebra. Clemson University was awarded one of three grants from the National Science Foundation to develop and implement such plans. The four-year Clemson University grant was entitled "An Alternative in Higher Education in the Mathematical Sciences". Clayton Aucoin was the principal investigator and led the effort with enthusiasm and persistence; however, Ted Wallenius played a role in securing the grant. The whole faculty played important roles in achieving the objectives. During this time, there were two national conferences hosted by Clemson University in this matter and many visiting faculty spent a semester here observing the implementation. There was a Board of Advisors composed of nationally prominent mathematical scientists. The results are reported in "New Opportunities in Applied Mathematics" issued by Clemson University and Washington State University in 1979 and in the appendix of Applied Mathematical Modeling edited by D.R. Shier and K.T. Wallenius and published by Chapman Hall CRC in 2000. See Appendix A to this section for more details. Most of the effort during this period was concentrated on the Master of Science Program. Later work extended the philosophy to the doctoral program. The basic framework developed during this grant continues to evolve and adapt to the existing environment. Generally the students get a foundation in each of algebra, analysis, computation, operations research and statistics. Then the student chooses a particular specialty. John Kenelly made important contributions throughout, including the form of the governing council for the department consisting of sub-faculty representatives chosen each year plus the departmental administration.

Information is given in a separate section of this document concerning the Department Heads Clayton Aucoin and John Kenelly. The next Department Heads were John Fulton, Richard Ringesien, and Robert Fennell. Each of the latter was important in continuing the development of the sub-faculties: algebra and discrete mathematics, applied analysis, computational mathematics and statistics as well as providing the service teaching of the mathematical sciences to the University. Each was very active in professional organizations and making sure that our faculty was able to make contributions to such organizations.

John Fulton had previously been Faculty Senate President and later was on the Executive Committee of the Organization of Department Heads. He continues to be prominent in the activities of the American Mathematical Society even though he became Dean of the College of Sciences at the University of West Florida, then at the University of Missouri, and later a Vice Provost at VPI.

Richard Ringeisen is an excellent teacher and researcher and has served as a contract officer at the Office of Naval Research. He was a founding member of the SIAM SIG on Discrete Mathematics and continues his interest in mathematics even though he became Dean of Sciences at Old Dominion University, Provost of East Carolina, and is now Chancellor of the University of Illinois, Springfield. While Department Head, he was able to allocate funds for a sequence of visiting scientists in the each of the sub-faculty areas.

Robert Fennell continues to be active in SIAM, particularly in the area of master's degree designed for a career in industry as well as in teaching. He was Department Head during the transition to the College of Engineering and Sciences and was asked to prepare many documents for the new Dean and to make financial adjustments that were confusing to the faculty during the transition period.

Finally George Fix was particularly effective in raising the sprits of the faculty despite a reduction of funds to the Department from the State. A description of his activity is given in another section.

Fulton/Ringeisen

Fennell

Former Department Heads John Fulton (left) and Richard Ringeisen who later became Deans, and higher level administrators at other institutions.

Former Department Chair Bob Fennell who elected to remain at Clemson University in a teaching capacity.

The Department has always had the goals of service teaching, production of undergraduate and graduate students with appropriate degrees, service toward the local and professional community and research. The environment in the department has changed over the years since 1964, caused in large part by reduction in funds supplied from the State, to one which highly values sponsored research in addition to scholarly research.

In 1994 the University reorganized and the Mathematical Sciences Department was placed into the new College of Engineering and Science. This movement reduced productivity temporarily as the faculty adjusted to the larger college. The courses and faculty remained fairly constant except some faculty members lost by retirements were not replaced. Since the student enrollment at Clemson University has not yet reduced in size, this reduction in regular faculty size has necessitated the employment of temporary faculty. It is anticipated that the number of temporary faculty will be reduced as tenure track faculty are replaced.

Presently, the Department is attempting to add to the teacher education aspect of our activities (due in part to the loss by disability of D.R. LaTorre, and the retirement of John Kenelly and John Luedeman). The department has also added a Financial Mathematics option to the MS graduate program.

The Mathematical Sciences Department has hosted a number of professional meetings including a Southeastern MAA Section meeting in 1978 and a Southeastern Conference on Differential Equations meeting in 1987 and those arising from external Funds listed below.

  1. Using partial support from NSF and Clemson University, Wendall Fleming of Brown University gave a short course in Stochastic Dynamical Systems (July 17-21, 1979). Other invited presenters included W.E. Boyce (RPI), D. Kannan and T.C. Gard (University of Georgia), and M. Williams (University of Kentucky). There were approximately 15 visiting students as well as 10 Clemson students. Bob Fennell arranged this mini-conference.
  2. The Southeastern Section of SIAM combined with the first National SIAM Student Meeting was hosted by Clemson University in Spring 96. There were 125 attendees including 40 students who gave papers. Margaret Wright (President of SIAM) and Gil Strang (Vice-President of SIAM) gave presentations and John Baxley (mathematical economics), John Burns (control theory), and Clark Jeffries (neurobiology) gave short courses. The local organizer was Bob Fennell.
  3. The third SIAM SIG (Special Interest Group) in Discrete Mathematics Meeting was held on the Clemson University campus. The local organizer was Richard Ringeisen.
  4. The Conference on Graduate Programs in the Applied Mathematical Sciences II was held on the Clemson University campus April 16-18, 1993 and was funded by NSF and NSA. The organizers were Richard Ringeisen and Robert Fennell. See Appendix A to this section for more details.

Individual faculty continued to obtain research grants in the 1980s and 1990s. There are several that deserve special notice because of the number of faculty participants.

  1. The Office of Naval Research grant "Topics in Applied Statistical Analysis" was awarded in 1971 and continued until 1983. The principal investigator was K.T. Wallenius and the grant supported 12 faculty members and 18 graduate assistants. The total award was for $523,034. In addition Professor Wallenius had associated grants from NAVMAT "Cost Realism" totaling $141,552 during 1982-1985 which supported some of these faculty and graduate students mentioned above. In 1971, he arranged an SREB Summer Session featuring Patrick Billingsley and Herman Chernoff, which attracted 50 participants. The support came from the National Science Foundation.
  2. The NSF EPSCOR grant, "A Plan for Improving Competitiveness of Mathematical Science Research," was awarded to the Mathematical Sciences Department from February 25, 1983 through June 30, 1986 ($170,390). The purpose of this project was to establish a recognized research capability in discrete mathematics leading to competitiveness in obtaining research funding. The principal investigator was P.M. Dearing and partially supported several faculty including Brawley, Dearing, Hare, Jamison, Jarvis, Johnson, Laskar, and Shier and graduate students. Ted Wallenius played a key role in obtaining this grant despite pressure from the Dean to fund other departments.
  3. The Office on Naval Research awarded a $1,507,109 grant for the period September 15, 1986-December 31, 1989 "The Clemson University Research Initiative Program in Discrete Mathematics and Computational Analysis". The goals of this project were to investigate basic and applied problems in discrete mathematics and computational analysis and to establish advanced computing facilities to support the research in both areas. Charles Johnson was the original principal investigator and the grant partially supported investigators in the Department of Mathematical Sciences and the Computer Science Department including Adams, Brannan, Cox, Fennell, Hedetniemi, Laskar, Pargas, Reneke, Stevenson, and Warner and 26 graduate students. Visiting scientists were sponsored by these funds and later a two-day annual conference in Discrete Mathematics was initiated by Steve Heteniemi and Renu Laskar. This mini-conference in Discrete Mathematics has been continued through the year 2002 using funds from Clemson and the National Security Agency. Presentations at this conference have included many of the leading international researchers in graph theory and other areas of discrete mathematics as well as many regional presenters.
  4. Using a four-year $1 million grant, Clemson University established a Center of Excellence in Mathematics and Science Education. This Center continued to attract funds under several additional grants and contracts. Many secondary teachers attended short courses during the summer and computers were purchased to support these workshops. The Director of this Center was Professor John Luedeman. A significant amount of additional funds were supplied during the next few years and other faculty assisted at various times.
  5. A U.S. Department of Education Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) Grant "Revitalized Undergraduate Mathematics with Symbol Manipulating Graphics Calculators" was awarded to the Department for the years 1989-1991 followed by a second grant to extend the techniques to other institutions. D.R. LaTorre was the principal investigator of both awards. Participants included Iris Fetta, John Kenelly, James Nicholson, Gil Proctor, and James Reneke. The purposes here were to introduce symbolic graphics calculators into the teaching of calculus, differential equations, and statistics courses and to hold workshops for teaching the techniques to representatives of other colleges and universities.
  6. John Kenelly had a series of grants from various agencies to hold TICAP workshops just after the Advanced Placement Readings at Clemson University to show how various institutions were incorporating technology into the teaching of calculus, differential equations and statistics courses. Participants were drawn from the entire country. This was funded by the MAA.
  7. "Affordability Modeling and Decision Analysis" (May 1997-May 2000). Investigators included James Reneke (principal investigator), Katherine Klammer (visiting scientist), Margaret Wiecek, John Harris, Matthew Saltzman, Warren Adams, Pete Kiessler, Michael Kostreva, Calvin Williams, William Ruckle, Marie Coffin, and Lewis Bryan. The contract also supported at least ten graduate students.

Laskar class

At many universities the study of Operations Research is housed in the Engineering College or in the Business College. When Clemson University instituted study in this area, there was a vigorous debate whether to place this unit in the Industrial Engineering Department or in the Mathematical Sciences Department. Professor Ted Wallenius took the lead in the Mathematical Sciences Department to present a compelling argument to emphasize the analytical aspect of the area in the Mathematical Sciences Department. That decision has provided an essential foundation to our program and many graduate students have chosen that concentration.

The M and O sections of Martin Hall were remodeled during the period December 1997 to fall 1998. New air conditioning and heating systems were installed, some rooms were resized and the building was equipped with laptop computer connections for the students and a podium containing a computer connected to a projector was installed for the instructor. A typical classroom is shown below.

Smart Classroom

After some experimentation starting in 1980, the Department was able to set up a network of microcomputers in the timeframe 1984-1990. The initial choice was Apple Macintosh but later Windows computers and Sun workstations were added to the net. Professors Warner, Jarvis, Proctor, Moss, and Saltzman were instrumental in this effort. Each office now has one or more computers.

A table of the faculty by rank during the period and the number of Clemson University students is shown below. The number of graduate teaching assistants in the period 1975-1995 was approximately 60.

Year Professors Assoc Prof Assist Prof Inst/Lect. Other Total Clemson Enrollment
1965-1966 3 18 5 3   29 5,022
1970-1971 5 24 13 3   45 8,038
1975-1976 14 22 11 6 1 54 11,361
1980-1981 18 18 6 3 3 48 11,748
1985-1986 22 12 7 3   44 12,893
1990-1991 24 11 10 3 3 51 16,100( est.)
1995-1996 20 13 8 6   47 16,318
2000-2001 20 14 4 6 19 63 17,465

"Other" designates full-time visiting faculty, full-time temporary faculty, and full-time retired faculty who teach. The large number in 2000-2001 is caused in part by a reduced number of graduate teaching assistants.

Professors John Kenelly, J.P. (Rick) Jarvis, John Luedeman, Richard Ringeisen, William Ruckle, Ted Wallenius, and Calvin Williams served either as contract officers or as resident members of various Washington area agencies.

The vast majority of faculty members hired by the Department has chosen to remain at Clemson University and have distinguished records in research, teaching and service. In particular Joel Brawley has been awarded many honors culminating (perhaps) in being named South Carolina Teacher of the Year. A few faculty members found positions that were better suited to their particular situations. Professor Charles Johnson (now at William and Mary University) remained at Clemson University for only a few years but contributed much to the Department during that time. Many of the faculty hires had just received their degrees before coming to Clemson; however a good number came from other universities and at least two came from governmental agencies or from private industries.

Presently (2002) three faculty (Professors Cox, Ervin and Li) and at least six graduate students from the Mathematical Sciences Department are key participants in the flagship Center for Advanced Engineering of Fibers and Films operating in the College of Engineering and Science with funds of more than $15 million over a ten year period. (A small portion of these funds goes to three investigators and some graduate students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.) The Center is operating two Beowulf clusters of Pentium III computers (one has 500 nodes and the other that will be used for virtual reality visualization has about 250 nodes). In addition, the University is joining with Western Carolina University and the University of North Carolina in to create jobs in the region in the area of fiber optics.

Of course, the operation of a department of over 50 faculty and over 60 graduate assistants requires an administrative team. In addition to the faculty chair, there is a coordinator of instruction, a director of undergraduate studies and a director of graduate studies and a council of sub-faculty representatives. Professor Stanley Lukawecki was an effective Director of Undergraduate Studies and under his leadership the number of undergraduate majors peaked in the mid 1970s. Professor Donald LaTorre was his successor and introduced programmable graphics calculators to the calculus classes. Professor P.M. Dearing held this position during the transition to the College of Engineering and Science. Professors Ringeisen, Proctor, and Jarvis have been the Instruction Coordinators (formerly called the Associate Head of the Department). The duties of this position have varied somewhat over the years and have included the acquisition of office computers, overseeing the movement of the Department during the renovation of Martin Hall, the management of a complex computer network, revision of the internet web pages associated with the Department, and the supervision of the graduate teaching assistants. Professor Doug Shier is the current Director of Graduate Studies and has led the recruitment of graduate students after a reduction in the early 1990s. We presently have about 70 graduate assistants but should return to the usual number of about 85 soon. Other Directors of Graduate Studies have been Clayton Aucoin, Joel Brawley, Christopher Cox, Robert Fennell, Rick Jarvis, and Gil Proctor.

Pictured below are the leaders for 2002. Robert Fennell (previously pictured) is the Director of Undergraduate Studies.

Dearing
Professor Lin Dearing
Department Chair

Jarvis
Professor Rick Jarvis
Instruction Coordinator

Shier
Professor Doug Shier
Director Graduate Studies

There are coordinators for the major freshman service courses. The coordinators chair a committee for their respective courses and supervise the construction and grading for tests and exams for all sections. For the past several years these coordinators have been: Scotty Fairburn (college algebra and pre-calculus), Brad Russell (introduction to probability), Sherry Biggers (business calculus), Shari Prevost (Calculus I) and Terri Johnson (Calculus II). Previous service course supervisors include Iris Fetta and Jeuel LaTorre. Mark Cawood has replaced Charlie Harden as the class scheduler for the Department.

The descriptions given above have concerned the administration, service teaching, and the grants and contracts that have supported many investigators. Since 1980 there has been a stream of smaller research grants and of scholarly (research) journal articles written by many faculty including Warren Adams, Kursheed Alam, James Brannan, Neil Calkin, Frank Cholewinski, Susan Ganter, Shuhong Gao, Kevin James, Robert Jamison, Jennifer Key, Michael Kostreva, K.B. Kulasekera, Rick Jarvis, James Peterson, William Ruckle, Doug Shier, and Calvin Williams.

Professor William Moss has been one of the leaders in the pilot laptop program that was the basis for several colleges now requiring all students to own and use laptop computers in their coursework. He has also successfully promoted the use of internet computer capability that allows students to communicate with their instructor electronically thus obtaining daily course notes, asking for help from their instructor, or other students in the class. Professor William Hare has served several terms in the Faculty Senate and has taught many service courses for secondary school teachers (sometimes as an overload). His early work producing doctoral students in the area of convexity was discontinued after his collaborator John Kenelly was overloaded with other duties. Professor Bradley Russell has been the faculty advisor for the Golden Key Honor society for many years and has taught many special courses to prepare students for various actuarial examinations.

The support staff has increased from two in 1965 to seven (plus a part-time accountant) at present. Much credit should be given to the staff for the success in recruiting graduate students, assisting in the hosting of many visitors, and in particular service beyond the call of duty during the period when the building was renovated. The computer specialist (Information Coordinator) in 2002 is Charles Allen. His responsibilities have increased over the past ten years to include support for more than a hundred computers and an associated network.

Key Women make essential contributions. Jenny Key (left) and Margaret Wiecek (right) are among the research and teaching faculty. Wiecek

Administrative Supervisors since 1965 include Virginia Jackson, Kitty Hinton, Phyllis Brown, and April Haynes.

MS and PhD graduates from the Mathematical Sciences Department have entered successful careers in teaching at the university and college level, in governmental agencies, and in various private businesses. Their achievements range from being CEO at a manufacturing firm to winning teaching awards from the Mathematical Association of America to becoming college administrators to important positions in governmental agencies or industrial firms. For the department, the average number of master's degrees per year awarded is a little over 20; the average number of PhDs per year awarded is about 4. BS graduates from the Department's program also have been successful in other graduate programs (sometimes out of the field of the mathematical sciences) and in various careers in industry or the government. The number of bachelors degrees awarded per year has decreased from about thirty per year to the mid-teens over a twenty year period.

Appendix A
Graduate Programs in the Applied Mathematical Sciences

The reputation of the Mathematical Sciences at Clemson University was solidly enhanced by the 1977 conference associated with the NSF grant "An Alternative in Higher Education in the Mathematical Sciences " mentioned above and its 1993 follow-up funded by NSA and NSF. Professor Robert Thrall of Rice University provided the inspiration to tackle these ideas as the chair of the Board of Advisors of this grant and was essential to the development of the program at Clemson University. The first conference had 57 visiting scientists including representatives from industrial firms, government agencies and academic institutions. The list of participants included: Alice Withrow (NSF), Edward Block (SIAM), Truman Botts (Conference Board of the Mathematical Sciences), Marion Epstein (College Board Programs at ETS), A.J. Goldman (National Bureau of Standards); distinguished scientists from the Naval Weapons Center at China Lake, Union Carbide at Oak Ridge, Bell Laboratories; the Chief Scientists at ONR, the Department of Defense, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, The Phizer Chemical Company, IBM, Boeing, B.F. Goodrich, Deering-Milliken, Sandia, DuPont; and academic leaders from Brown University, Harvey Mudd College and the Clarmont Graduate School, the University of Tennessee, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Virginia Polytechnic Institute, North Carolina State University, Washington University, Washington State University, Cornell University, Georgia Institute of Technology, the University of South Carolina, and the University of Maryland. The second conference had 82 visiting scientists which included many of the above institutions and Avner Friedman (Institute for Mathematics and Applications, University of Minnesota), Gene Golub (Stanford), Florida State University, the University of Arizona, Rutgers University, the University of Delaware, the University of Iowa, and several other colleges and universities. In each conference representatives from various institutions presented their ideas for essential ingredients in such program and there were vigorous discussion of the associated ideas and timetables.


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