With his commitment to teaching, Wright has emphasized recruitmen
htoughout his Chairmanship. "The thing I like doing is getting good faculty mem- bers-not just getting tirst class scholars. Good teaching is inseparable from that. A mathematician can tind his whol
mphasis destroyed overnight. You can't each calculus the way it was taught 10 years ago. You need somebody whose mind is still working-who can still learn something at SO." Carolina's math faculty is principally recruited by mail-outs to other academic institutions or through advertisements in mathematical journals. Credentials of the current faculty are impressive. All have PhD's. Many come from the country's top graduate schools such as the Univ. of California, MIT, Harvard, Yale and the Univ. of Chicago. Faculty emphasis on vitality in the classroom is paralleled by enthusiasm in their fields, according to Wright. Last year, one teacher was a visiting professor at the Univ. of Heidelberg (Germany). Two others participated in an interna- tional conference on their specialty at the Univ. of Warwick (England). Four more represented Carolina at the American Math Society'S Summer Research Sym- posium in California. Two others accepted visiting professorships at the Univ. of Chicago and MIT. When Wright came to Carolina as Chairman, there were no National Science Foundation (NSF) Grants awarded here. Now there are 12 recipients among the math faculty. Eight have yearly NSF contracts, and the other four received their first awards in 1973-74. Wright uses this as one criterion in predicting Carolina's rise to one of the best math departments in the country. Two studies of math and graduate depart- ments done by the American Council of Education in 1966 and 1970 ranked Carolina as "good" or "acceptable plus." Wright wants Carolina ranked "distin- guished" in the next study. It usually takes approximately five years for a depart- ment's improvement to become well- known, but Wright said Carolina would some day be tops, along with Harvard, Berkeley and Princeton. One strong factor besides the Depart- ment's outstanding "junior faculty" is its library, Wright said. Its 40,500 volume collection, which also serves physics, statistics and computer science, has in- creased 101 per cent since 1961-62. "We've had people say our library is comparable to the one at the Univ. of Paris, which is one of the greatest in the world," he commented. Books published between the Civil War and 1940 are especially needed to complete the library's old book section, which was begun by the University's first Presi- dent, David Caldwell. After 1940, Prof.
Alfred Brauer made numerous back pur-
chases, bringing the library up to "first-
class" standards, Wright said.
The Chairman's particular interest in
Greek and Latin mathematical texts,
published by German scholars in the 19th
century. Once he leaves the chairman-
ship, Wright plans to "hot foot it back to
research." "The history of mathematical
ideas is wide-open for scholarship. That's
what I want to concentrate on, par-
ticularly Greek and Latin works," he said.
Although Wright said the chairmanship
allowed almost no time for his research,
he did take a freshman course in Greek
during the past summer session. He
also wants to sharpen his Latin to better
prepare for reading his research materials
in their original cC'ntext.
The 20 years between Wright's gradu-
ation with a master's degree and his return
as Chairman of the Mathematics De-
partment never lessened his affection for
Chapel Hill. "I came back as an alumnus
who wanted something for this Univers-
ity and state. Carolina is one of the four
or five best state universities in the country.
It is unbelievable what the people of
this state have done considering the eco-
nomics and riatural resources.
"You expect rich states like New York
and California to have good universities.
But to have such an outstanding academic
community here is remarkable, all the
more to the credit of the people'who made
that possible. I want Carolina to have a
tirst class math department, one of the
four or five best in the country. Its citizens
deserve such a department for their
contributions to and confidence in the
University," he said.
Wright's confidence in Carolina is
equalled by colleag'ues' confidence in him.
"He's a very serious person, very dedi-
cated (0 the things he regards as most
important. He's made real achievements
in mathematics research. Once he hands
down the helm as Chairman of this De-
partment, I feel sure he will add to his
satisfaction the building of an excellent
mathematics program," Dr. Davis said.
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