Born: January 8, 1917, Cleveland, Ohio
Died: April 7, 2009, Austin, Texas
Leonard Gillman was a mathematics professor at the University of Texas known for his service to professional organizations. He was also an accomplished pianist.
As president, Gillman steered Dr. Charles Y. Hu and his wife Yueh-Gin Gung toward endowing the Gung and Hu Distinguished Service to Mathematics Award.
At the annual joint meeting in January 1988, Gillman led the approximately 1,900 attendees of the American Mathematical Society Centennial Banquet in singing "Happy Birthday Dear American Mathematical Society."
Gillman gave his retiring presidential address, in Louisville in 1990, on "Teaching Programs That Work"; it was also published in MAA FOCUS in 1990. Kenneth Ross described the address as "a great hit."
Gillman supported the Committee on Minority Participation as president. It was created in 1989 and remains active. Gillman served on the committee for several years, starting in 1989.
Before completing his Ph.D., Gillman was a naval operations analyst at Tufts College (1943-45) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1945-52). Afterward, he taught at Purdue University (1952-60), the University of Rochester (1960-69; department chair), and the University of Texas at Austin (1969-87; department chair, 1969-73). He spent 1958-60 at the Institute for Advanced Study.
In Gillman's first year at Rochester, Martha Siegel and Doris Schattschneider (Hedrick Lecturer and recipient of the Allendoerfer Award, the Certificate of Meritorious Service, and the Haimo Award) were graduate students in his set theory class. Both later served as editors of Mathematics Magazine.
Gillman published more than 30 research articles, primarily in set theory and topology, and about 200 reviews in Mathematical Reviews, as well as several in the American Mathematical Monthly. He authored Rings of Continuous Functions with Meyer Jerison, Calculus with R.H. McDowell, and Writing Mathematics Well: A Manual for Authors.
Gillman won the Lester R. Ford Award for "An Axiomatic Approach to the Integral" in 1994 and again for "Two Classical Surprises Concerning the Axiom of Choice and the Continuum Hypothesis" in 2003. The Carnegie Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the National Science Foundation have supported his work through fellowships and grants.
Gillman was treasurer of the MAA from 1973 to 1986 and on the board of governors from 1973 to 1995. He participated in the Committee on the Undergraduate Program in Mathematics (1965-68), the Committee on Publications (1973-87), the Staff and Services Committee (1973-87, chair), and program committees for six national meeetings (1965-95). He won the MAA's Gung and Hu Distinguished Service to Mathematics Award in 1999.
MAA FOCUS obituary (pdf)