My ``linkage'' with our Section goes back almost to the beginning. Professor W.L. Williams, who wrote the second Reflections article for this booklet, joined the M.A.A. in 1924. I had calculus under Professor Williams at the University of South Carolina while an N.R.O.T.C. student during World War II. The Southeastern Section was quite young (27 years old) when I joined in 1949 and attended my first meeting at the University of Alabama.
I felt like a kid watching the likes of Babe Ruth and Red Grange as I got to hear talks by some of the giants of our profession, e.g., Raymond Wilder, Saunders MacLane, Emil Artin, George Polya and E.J. McShane. Our own Section supplied plenty of ``heroes'', such as Tomlinson Fort, A.D. Wallace, F.L. Wren, F.A. Ficken and Leonard Carlitz. The vigor of our Section has always been reflected by the well-attended meetings and the excellent programs of contributed papers. National leaders like to come to our Section, so we have continued to have such outstanding speakers such as Paul Halmos, Ivan Niven, Peter Hilton, Creighton Buck, John Kemeny and Ralph Boas. Members also like to come to our meetings because they always learn something and in addition get to see friends in a congenial setting.
But the years slip by too fast, just as in our human lives, and suddenly we are no longer young people, but have grown children of our own. I do not have exact statistics, but it is my impression that a majority of our members are ``our children'', that is, they have done their graduate work at institutions in our Section. This situation is in marked contrast to the early days of the Southeastern Section.
We hardly get accustomed to having children before we have grandchildren. At Mobile, we all shared the pride of Sylvia Bozeman as she introduced her former student, Daphne Smith, who gave one of our major lectures. Sylvia is one of our children (B.A., Alabama A.&M.; M.A., Vanderbilt; Ph.D., Emory) and hardly seems old enough to have children of her own.
Reminiscences of the old usually are politely tolerated by the young. However, emphasis on looking backward is dangerous for organizations. There are many indications that the Southeastern Section is not looking backward. Leadership in our Section is passing to a new generation. Our members are playing important roles nationally by winning writing awards and leading major committees, for example. At least one (and often two) of our featured speakers are from the Southeast, and both the quality and quantity of contributed papers continue to increase at our meetings. In addition, new activities abound, such as the T.A. Rush, our Section Distinguished Service Award and our efforts to encourage more women and minorities to enter mathematics. For these reasons (and many others), it seems clear we are heading in the right direction.
In his Reflections article, Trevor Evans said, ``Our Section is healthy. Long may it flourish!'' It has flourished, and at seventy it continues to flourish, so everyone is invited to ``come along with us, the best is yet to be'' (approximately Browning).