12.1 Trevor Evans (1925-1991), Emory University

I can speak only of the meetings of the Section from 1952 onward, almost all of which I attended and enjoyed. In thirty years of these meetings, two aspects stand out very vividly: the health and vigour of the Section, with large and enthusiastic attendance, and the quality of the invited lecturers, maintaining a standard set by the main speakers at earlier meetings. From my rather limited experience with attending other section meetings, I claim that our Section is one of the leaders and is perhaps even predominant, in terms of the quality of its meetings. I think that this is because of (rather than despite) the large geographical area encompassed by the Section. Throughout the years, we have consistently been able to present outstanding lecturers from allover the country, as well as first-class supporting speakers from within the Section.

Some of these visitors and their lectures stand out very clearly in my memory--George Polya at the University of Georgia on Picture Writing in 1956; Paul Halmos on the Banach-Tarski Paradox at Emory University in 1957; Victor Klee on Combinatorial Polytopes at East Carolina University in 1968; Richard Arenstorf on Periodic Earth-Moon Bus Orbits at North Carolina State University in 1973; Ivan Niven on Maxima and Minima Without Calculus at Central Piedmont Community College in 1976--but there were many other enjoyable lectures and I hope that I may be forgiven by the speakers involved if I do not list them individually. (We have also had some ``duds'', too, but the less said about these, the better).

Other episodes come to mind. The trauma of integration was surmounted with dignity, although there were some undignified incidents, such as the abandoning of banquets. The state of Florida split off from the Section in 1966 when the rapid growth of the university and community college system in that state seemed to justify a separate section. We participated in the experiment of holding joint meetings with the American Mathematical Society for two years, but this did not turn out to be a very successful idea. Some good ideas which influenced our program and meetings in recent years are the introduction into our meetings of sections reserved for junior colleges and for talks by undergraduate students, and the establishment of a prize for the student in the Section who scores highest on the Putnam Examination.

Looking back on thirty years of this Section, I am proud to have be been a part of its growth. The quality of papers presented has remained high. Incidentally, I enjoy the presentation of ``little'' research results at M.A.A. meetings (even though the publication of such papers is now discouraged by the MONTHLY, which is perhaps an understandable attitude today in view of the proliferation of research and the demand for publication). Our meetings seem to contain a mixture of contributed papers on teaching at all levels, from two-year colleges to the graduate level in universities, as well as the research talks (which actually are often relevant to the upper level under-graduate and graduate course work). The programs are apparently varied enough to be pleasing to the wide variety of mathematicians who attend.

To sum up, our Section is in a healthy state. Long may it flourish!