J. Sutherland Frame Honored

J. Sutherland Frame, 1907-1997

At the age of 89, J. Sutherland (Sud) Frame died on February 27, 1997 in East Lansing, Michigan.

Sud was born in New York City on December 24, 1907. His university-level education was exclusively at Harvard University, where he earned a BA (1929), MA (1930), and PhD (1933). Supported by a Rogers Fellowship from Harvard, Sud spent the academic year 1933-34 studying in Switzerland and Germany. During the following nine years he was a faculty member at Brown University and Allegheny College. He came to Michigan State University (then Michigan Agricultural College) as chair of the Department of Mathematics in 1943. He remained chair until 1960, a remarkable 17-year stint. Sud remained a professor in the Department until his retirement in 1977. For the last 12 years of his appointment at Michigan State, he held the title of Professor of Mathematics and Engineering Research. At various points of his career he held visiting appointments at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, the University of Berlin, and the University of Aachen.

Throughout his career (and indeed, until his death), Sud was a serious and successful mathematician. His best work was in the area of group theory, especially the theory of group representations. This topic occupied his interest throughout his career with substantial work on characters of finite orthogonal groups being produced in the decade after his retirement. An amazing breadth characterized Sud's mathematical interests; he produced significant work in matrices and linear algebra, and anticipated concepts such as the pseudo-inverse of a matrix years before the study of such objects became fashionable. His 104 publications include work in the areas of continued fractions, function theory, geometry, mechanics, and computers.

Sud was a dedicated and dynamic teacher of mathematics. The importance he attached to teaching is evidenced by the J. S. Frame Teaching Award, an annual award, funded by generous gifts from Sud and Emily Frame, made to mathematics faculty members at Michigan State in acknowledgment of excellence in classroom teaching. As a faculty member Sud taught mathematics courses at all levels. His graduate course (and lecture notes) on matrices was popular with both mathematics and engineering students. Also, he frequently taught large lectures of precalculus algebra and trigonometry, and in so doing made this difficult assignment fun for both himself and the students. When the need was there, he taught numerical analysis courses, at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

The service side of Sud's mathematical career is equally noteworthy. In addition to being an administrator at the departmental level, Sud was deeply involved with various state and national mathematical organizations. He was a co-founder and president of Pi Mu Epsilon, a member of the Board of Governors of the MAA, President of the Michigan Academy of Sciences, a Project Director for the Conference Board of Mathematics, and a consultant for the University Development Committee in Bangkok, Thailand. He founded the Employment Register held at the annual winter AMS/MAA meetings, wrote books on the physical design of mathematics departments (for both universities and high schools), and initiated the use of mainframe computers at Michigan State University. In recognition of these activities Sud received several high profile awards: the Sigma Xi Senior Research Award (Michigan State, 1952), the Pi Mu Epsilon MacDuffee award for Distinguished Service (1966), the Distinguished Faculty Award at Michigan State University (1967), and the Y. G. Gung and Charles Y. Hu Award (1994) for Distinguished Service (MAA's highest award).

Sud is survived by his wife of 58 years, Emily Frame, four children, and six grandchildren. His service to mathematics was complemented by his service to the community. He was very active in the Kiwanis Club of East Lansing, served on the East Lansing School Board for four years, and was an active member of the Edgewood United Church where he actively participated in the choir. He was also involved in people-to-people programs between the United States and China.

The prominent features of Sud's life were the breadth, intensity, and enthusiasm for an incredibly broad set of activities. There are few (if any) among us who will be able to match the accomplishments of this very remarkable man.

Dick Phillips, Michigan State University

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