View in portable document format.
A Resolution of Appreciation and Tribute
A chronicle of the life and impact of a vital, active,
dedicated teacher/scholar/collector/magician/extraordinary human being.
A good teacher casts a long shadow.
Robert Ewing Greenwood, Jr., was born on June 21, 1911, at Navasota, Texas, son of Robert E. and Lula Lewis Greenwood. He was educated in the Navasota Public Schools (1919-1929, valedictorian), The University of Texas at Austin (1929-1935; B.A. in 1933, physics), Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island (1935-1936), and Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey (1936-1938; M.A. in 1938; Ph.D. in 1939, both mathematics).
In 1951, Dr. Greenwood was married to Mary Maude (Maudi) Brown, whom he met in Washington, D.C. They had one daughter, Barbara, born in 1953 in Austin, Texas. Professor Greenwood is survived by: his wife, Maudi Greenwood of Austin; a daughter, Barbara Greenwood of Spring, Texas; a sister, Mary Ellen Atkinson of Fort Worth; cousins, Helen Greenwood of Austin, Naul Sandal of Navasota, Flossy Fort, Vashti Cash, Marguerite Prell, Anne McMahan, and Addie Pearl Cude, all of Houston; and Maudi's niece, Lynn Kiernam of Chevy Chase, Maryland.
In 1938, after completing his graduate work at Brown and Princeton, Professor Greenwood returned to The University of Texas at Austin and began a 55-year career with the Mathematics Department (Instructor 1938-42, Assistant Professor 1946-50, Associate Professor 1952-57, Professor 1957-1981, Professor Emeritus 1981-1993). Professor Greenwood's professional career also included war-time service: World War II (1942-46), Korean Conflict (1950-52).
In 1942, Bob left the University temporarily to join the war effort. He served in the Navy for six years (he would not detail his duty assignments) and maintained his reserve status for decades, achieving the rank of Lt. Commander (USNR). Dr. Greenwood recalled that as a high-ranking Naval officer he use to drop by the White House to report in (as a courtesy call) when visiting Washington, D.C.
Many brief professional appointments provided Professor Greenwood with a variety of experiences. While in the Navy (1945-46), he taught several short courses in mathematics to naval personnel. In 1948, he had a summer assignment with the Institute for Numerical Analysis (a unit of the National Bureau of Standards) on the UCLA campus in Los Angeles. He was Visiting Professor of Mathematics for the summer session of 1958 at Harvard University. He had a summer assignment in 1959 with the Summer Faculty Division at Boeing Aircraft Company in Seattle. In the summer of 1960, he had an assignment with the Atomic Energy Division of Phillips Petroleum Company in Idaho Falls, Idaho, where he taught a short course in mathematics. The summer of 1961 saw him doing research in the California Research Institute, a division of Standard Oil of California at Richmond, California. Professor Greenwood had a number of summer assignments with the USNR. On one of these, he was on loan to a USN sub-contractor. He also attended the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California.
For many years, Professor Greenwood was a consultant for the Military Physics Research Laboratory, a division of the University of Texas Balcones Research Center.
Supervision of Graduate Students
In addition to his regular duties of teaching undergraduate and graduate mathematics courses, Dr. Greenwood supervised at least 57 M.A. theses and was the supervising professor for 10 Ph.D. dissertations. A list of these M.A. and Ph.D. candidates (with years of graduation) may be found at the end of this resolution.
Dr. Greenwood taught a variety of different mathematics courses at both the undergraduate and the graduate level. These included numerical analysis, probability, cryptoanalysis, and many others. (He maintained a lifelong interest in cryptography.) Professor Greenwood was one of those in the department who would carry a particularly heavy load of teaching when the need arose.
Professor Greenwood was particularly fond of telling stories of some students in his courses who were doing poorly at the beginning and he was able to help turn around their mathematical thinking so that they finished with good performances on the final exam.
During his tenure at The University of Texas at Austin, Professor Greenwood served as a member of a large number of supervisory committees for graduate students, most of this activity coming approximately between 1950 and 1970 when there was an extraordinary boom in graduate mathematics registration and a distinct shortage of faculty. Since, for many years, records were not kept of this type of service, no accurate number is available to chronicle this arduous service.
On two occasions, Professor Greenwood served as an outside reader of dissertations from Canadian universities. (On one of these occasions, the dissertation was an outgrowth of a student having heard Professor Greenwood give a talk at a summer meeting of the Canadian Mathematical Congress.)
Honors, Awards, and Biographical Listings
Dr. Greenwood held memberships in two honorary societies: Phi Beta Kappa and Sigma Xi. Also, he had biographical listings in the American Men of Science and Who's Who in America.
Professor Greenwood was a well liked and beloved teacher who is remembered by his students for making the subject of mathematics lively and interesting. For this, he was given numerous teaching awards and honors: the CACTUS Teaching Award, 1971; Honorable Mention AMOCO Teaching Award, 1975; the President's Teaching Excellence Award, 1980. (All of these awards were made upon the nomination of the candidates by colleagues and students. The latter one was made on the basis of a great outpouring of letters written by students, alumni, and colleagues in and out of the Mathematics Department attesting to Dr. Greenwood's immense impact as an outstanding teacher over a long period of years. Professor Greenwood generously shared this $5000 award with the department.)
Indicative of his world-wide interest in mathematics, Professor Greenwood held memberships in the Mathematical Association of America, the Canadian Mathematical Congress, and the Mathematical Association (Great Britain) as well as many other professional organizations.
In 1981, Dr. Greenwood was given a Certificate for Meritorious Service to the Mathematics Association of America (MAA). The award was made for his leadership and service to the mathematical and academic community, and for his years of service to the MAA.
University and Other Service
Because he was conscientious, dependable, and capable, Bob was often the person turned to when an important committee was needed. Many a time he was asked to serve as chairman of these committees because he was the type of person who when assigned such a task would work at it carefully and properly in order to reach a consensus.
The scope and number of services that Professor Greenwood has provided to The University in the nearly 43 years since his initial appointment is so large and so broad that no one--including Dr. Greenwood--could remember them all. The following gives some indication of three levels of activity and involvement (departmental, college, and university-wide affairs).
Departmental: chairman, Graduate Studies Committee, 1967-1968, and member for many years; A.A. Bennett Calculus Prize Examination Committee--member for about ten years, chairman for about ten more years; William Lowell Putnam Competition Committee (local) of which he was chairman for about five years; Archives Committee, 1975-1981, with prior unofficial service for many years; representative to and for the Mathematical Association of America.In addition to such service locally, Professor Greenwood served his profession on a broader basis, e.g., member of the National William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Computation (of the Mathematical Association of America) 1956-59, 1965-67, and chairman in 1959 and 1967; member of committees evaluating fellowship grant applications for the National Science Foundation in the years 1968, 1969, 1970, 1973, 1974. In the early 1960's, he helped the Mathematical Association of America and the Society of Actuaries with their joint High School Mathematics Contest in Texas; he was chairman of the Texas group from 1963 to 1966. In addition to all of this, Dr. Greenwood served as a referee and a reviewer for numerous mathematics journals and magazines.
College: member of Dean's committee to effect the reorganization of the Department of Pure Mathematics and the Department of Applied Mathematics and Astronomy into a single Department of Mathematics, 1953; chairman of Search Committee for a new Mathematics Department chairman, 1965.
University: member and occasional chairman of the Carl Stone Benedict Scholarship Committee; chairman of a committee (1954-1957) to organize a computation center and acquire the first computer for the campus, and chairman of the committee to select the first Director of the Computation Center (Professor David M. Young, Jr.); member of the committee that arranged the dedication of Batts, Mezes, and Benedict Halls (1953); member of many Memorial Resolution Committees and chairman of such committees for Professors Bacon, Cleveland, Ettlinger, Goldie Porter, Wall, Vandiver, Batchelder, Moore, and Lubben; vice-chairman of the Seventh Annual Conference for the Advancement of Science and Mathematics Teaching (1960) and chairman of the same conference in 1962.
Addresses and Papers Delivered at Meetings
Professor Greenwood was an excellent lecturer with always something interesting to say about mathematics in his clear yet booming voice. Also, he was a pleasant person to talk with on a variety of other subjects.
Some of Professor Greenwood's invited addresses included: summer seminar, Canadian Mathematical Congress, meeting on the campus of the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, August 1963; summer research institute, Canadian Mathematical Congress, meeting on the campus of the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, August 1966; Texas Section, Mathematical Association of America, meeting on the campus of Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, April 1968. One talk that held special meaning for him was when Dr. Greenwood gave the Commencement Address to the Class of 1955 at Navasota High School (from which Professor Greenwood graduated in 1929).
Professor Greenwood delivered inspiring talks and papers at national meetings, e.g., summer meeting of the American Mathematical Society, Stillwater, Oklahoma, September 1961; summer meeting of the American Mathematical Society, Ithaca, New York, September 1965; International Conference on Combinatorial Structures and Their Applications, meeting on the campus of the University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, June 1969.
Papers delivered to state and regional meetings included various meetings of the Texas Section of the Mathematical Association of America (approximately 6 papers); meetings of the Texas Academy of Science (approximately 2 papers); regional groups of the Texas State Teachers Association in Beaumont, Galveston, Corpus Christi, twice in Austin, twice in Houston. Other sponsored talks Professor Greenwood gave are as follows: Texas Academy of Science, visiting lecturer for the years 1960-62; visited high schools (Lufkin, Houston, Georgetown, New Braunfels, Austin, Dallas); Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM), area lecturer 1960-62; a lecturer to the Dallas-Fort Worth Chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery, January, 1961; special lecture at the School of Aviation Medicine, Randolph Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas, April, 1965; Mathematical Association of America, visiting lecturer in the State of Texas 1962-68 giving eleven lectures at universities and colleges throughout Texas; nine lectures as part of the Academic Development Program of the Department of Mathematics of the University of Texas at Austin, 1972-1976.
Professor Greenwood was involved in Academic Year Institutes and Special Summer Institutes sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation. He gave approximately eight talks to various institutes in Austin; two talks to a summer institute at North Texas State University, Denton, 1962; four talks each year to summer institutes at the University of Main, Orono, Maine, 1964 and 1965; four talks each year to summer institutes at Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches, 1968 and 1970.
Various local lectures Professor Greenwood gave included the following: the Interscholastic League Number Sense Contest Groups and Interscholastic League Slide Rule Contest Groups, approximately four appearances in various years; University Chapter of Sigma Pi Sigma, honorary physics fraternity, about three appearances over the years; University Chapter of the American Statistical Association, about four lectures over several years; University Chapter of the Society of Sigma Xi, two lectures; various local Austin high school classes, about fifteen appearances; Summer Orientation groups for prospective freshman students, about four talks and four other group sessions without formal talks; Austin unit of Naval Reserve Research Company, about four talks over the years; one talk in connection with a short course on Automation and Computers, circa 1965; Conference for the Advancement of Science and Mathematics Teaching (CASMT), about five talks over the years to this joint conference; about two talks to the Conference for the Advancement of Mathematics Teaching (CAMT) after the conference was separated into two sections; Pi Mu Epsilon, honorary mathematics fraternity, two appearances in 1975 and 1976; Mu Alpha Theta, mathematics club, one appearance in 1981.
Love of God, Church, and Fellow Humans
Dr. Greenwood had a deep and abiding faith in a God who is active in this world both in His own power and through the faith, love, and activities of His creatures. This faith was born, nurtured, and exemplified in the home in which he was raised and when he was old enough to think and act on his own, he continued and grew in his faith.
During his undergraduate days at The University of Texas, Professor Greenwood was active in the Wesley Foundation, the Methodist student organization, and served as its student President in 1932-33. Since his student days he was an active participant in the worship and activities of the University United Methodist Church, serving faithfully and well on boards and committees. He joined this church as a freshman in 1929 and was an energetic member who supported many of its activities for 63 years! Bob was a member of the Hickman Bible Class, serving as its president one year, and was frequently called on to teach the class. Most recently, he served as a popular usher at morning worship and at special services of the church. Many a person commented on his red vest as he handed them a bulletin.
Because Dr. Greenwood loved his God, he also loved God's human creatures. For many years, he devoted countless hours to the visitation of the shut-ins in homes, the recovering and irrecoverably ill in hospitals, nursing homes, and homes. His quiet charm, his good humor, and his unfailing faith made him welcome and his visits helpful to a very wide variety of persons. Even before his own span of years became extended, Dr. Greenwood was a particular friend of the elderly and infirm, and the extent of his acquaintance with these often-forgotten ones was wide--extending to people of many faiths, colors, and backgrounds. These services to his fellow humans were always rendered without fanfare, with no thought of gain, solely because the service needed to be done.
Hobbies and Leisure Pursuits
Over the years in which Professor Greenwood was at the University and elsewhere, his non-professional interest was many and varied. Included among them, and surely those from which he derived the greatest satisfaction, were collecting coins and caps and his interests in magic. Other hobbies included bowling and genealogy. Bob was an active member of many organizations such as the Austin Coin Club, the Gilbert and Sullivan Society, Scots of Austin, and the Sherlock Holmes Society.
Dr. Greenwood was well-known locally as a coin collector and numismatist. His reputation also extended nationally. Locally, he was called upon--on a more-or-less continuing basis--by the UT Austin administration to appraise, attribute, and catalogue gifts of coins which had been made to the University. In 1968, he was appointed by the then-President Lyndon Johnson to the 1968 Assay Commission of the U.S. Mint. He inspected and reported to the President of the United States on coins produced by the Denver, Philadelphia and San Francisco mints. And, over the years, he gave numerous talks on numismatics and made one television program on the subject. His coin collection was extensive and valuable, and he also had a large collection of numismatic catalogues, brochures, etc.
Dr. Greenwood's had an extensive collection of caps and he regularly wore them to school. He was a particularly memorable figure with his white beard, cap, and friendly greeting. Bob began his collection when it became apparent that for a man as tall as he it was nearly impossible to wear a hat inside a modern automobile. Once he began wearing a cap instead, his collection was off and running. It contained a Sherlock Holmes Deerstalker, two Scottish tams (one in the Montgomery tartan), one bright red cap that was worn during the Christmas season, two English touring caps, various rain caps, caps in plaids and tweeds, a French beret, and several pullover knits. Of course, the cap collection also contained his U.S. Naval Officer's cap. And, while earmuffs are not caps, the collection even includes earmuffs (which, incidentally, were invented by one Chester Greenwood, of no known kinship).
Many of his colleagues and students remember Dr. Greenwood for his magic shows which he called mathe-magic shows. For example, Professor Greenwood was able to remove his vest without removing his coat to ``prove'' that one was not topologically contained within the other. He was different from any ordinary magician in that he explained his illusions; thereby, preventing his being a member of the magician's guild.
His interest in illusions caused Professor Greenwood to look into and become an expert in playing/solving board games and puzzles. This interest can be traced back to his childhood, and continued into areas found in the research and publications of both Dr. Greenwood and some of his students. (Some of these are listed near the end of this resolution.)
Upon retirement, Dr. Greenwood remained active as Treasurer of the Retired Faculty and Staff Association. He regularly had lunch with his friends and colleagues at the Faculty Center. Many of them find it hard to get use to his not being there and they sorely miss him.
Given that his time had come he was fortunate that death came as it did. Professor Greenwood died suddenly on April 25, 1993, at the age of 81, while reading the Sunday paper in his easy chair.
Professor Greenwood was active as the Mathematics Departmental historian (knowing almost all of the faculty who had ever served) and in archiving and cataloguing papers for the American Mathematical Archives of the MAA located at the Humanities Research Center, UT Austin. In a Christmas card after his death, Maudi wrote of Bob ``He spent so much time on papers of Moore, Craig, Vandiver and perhaps others: I do wish he had spent more on his own!''
Robert M. Berdahl, President
The University of Texas at Austin
H. Paul Kelley, Secretary
Office of the General Faculty
August 8, 1995
This Memorial Resolution was prepared by a special committee consisting of David M. Young, Jr. (Chairman), Don E. Edmondson, and William T. Guy, Jr. The committee wishes to acknowledge the valuable assistance of Dr. David R. Kincaid.