Citation for 2012 Meritorious Service Award

David Kerr, Eckerd College
Florida Section
Mathematical Association of America

Citation for 2012 Meritorious Service Award

David Kerr has a long and exemplary record of contributions to the MAA, to the Florida Section, and to Eckerd College, where he has been in the mathematics department for 20 years. He was instrumental in getting students involved in undergraduate research projects at Eckerd, and for several years took a large contingent of students to the annual National Conference on Undergraduate Research to give talks. Today, David brings one of the largest groups of students to the Section meeting every year, and has several students presenting there every year.

David has been an MAA member for over 20 years, and has been actively involved in the Florida Section ever since coming to Florida. David has been a member of the executive committee of the Section for most of the last 15 years, and he has become one of those who carry the Section’s institutional memory. In 1996-97, he first joined the executive committee as Vice-President for Site Selection. In 2000-01, David was Vice-President for Programs, and brought his penchant for rethinking processes to the organization of the Section meeting. During that year he proposed and implemented the idea of having a volume of proceedings for the meeting; the proceedings for that year and for three years afterward were in fact printed, largely through his unceasing efforts. He was President of the section in 2002-03, and served as Governor during 2004-07. After completing his term as Governor, he once again took on the challenging role of Vice-President for Programs in 2008-09. He is currently in the middle of a term as Newsletter Editor. David has, for many years, overseen the display and sales of MAA books and materials, and he is the one who carries the display copies to and from each meeting, and stores them in between meetings. He was the recipient of the Section’s Distinguished Teaching award in 2000, and the Distinguished Service award in 2009. While we have many outstanding members in the Florida Section, David Kerr is one who stands out and is very deserving of this honor.

The Mathematical Association of America is pleased to award Professor David Kerr with a Certificate for Meritorious Service.

Biographical Note

David Kerr received his B.A. from the University of South Florida in Tampa in 1976. After teaching high school for two years and serving a tour in the U.S. Navy, he returned to the University of South Florida as a graduate student in 1983. He completed his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees under the direction of Athanassios Kartsatos. Early in his career, David taught at the University of North Carolina Asheville and at Western New England College in Springfield, Massachusetts but for the last twenty-one years he has been at Eckerd. David recalls struggling in mathematics in high school, especially Algebra II, and only ended up majoring in mathematics in college because, as he always says, it is a subject he enjoys no matter who is teaching the course. As a graduate student, David was active in the Graduate Assistants Union and successfully lobbied the Florida State Legislature in 1985 to implement tuition waivers for all graduate teaching assistants in the state. At Eckerd, he has served as the Mathematics Discipline Coordinator for the last fifteen years. In addition to the MAA, he has been active in the AAUP at both the local and state levels. David is an accomplished weight lifter on the bench press with a personal record of 325 lbs.

Response from David Kerr

I am very honored to receive this Meritorious Service Award from the MAA. I can actually trace my first exposure to the MAA to the first Friday in March in 1976 when two of my professors, Frank Cleaver and Fred Zerla, encouraged me to make a student presentation at the Florida Sectional meeting that year. In my talk, I presented several theorems from Landau’s Foundations of Analysis book and, in the talk, I tried to stay consistent with Landau’s terminology but after 20 minutes of uttering the phrase ‘the successor of 1’ I finally lapsed into just saying ‘2.’ I remember both Frank and Fred smiling at me from their seats in the corner of the room and nodding that this was ‘okay.’ I now feel very honored and pleased to be in their company as both Frank Cleaver and Fred Zerla are past recipients of this award. To the members of the Florida Section, it has been a privilege working with you. Thank you!

Submitted to the MAA by Mike Mears, FL Section Governor
April 29, 2011
Selection Committee:
Chuck Lindsay, Chair
Janet Samuels
Monika Vo