At the Board of Governors meeting this January in San Diego, John Kenelly of Clemson University was elected Treasurer of the Association. Kenelly, who recently served as President of International Mathematical Olympiad USA 2001, comes to the position of MAA Treasurer with broad experience in the Association, the American mathematics community, business, academic administration, and development. He served for eight years in the MAA's Audit and Budget Committee, and so he brings to his new role first-hand knowledge of MAA finances. He is a successful and effective fundraiser, and he has been involved in NSF-funded projects on mathematics education from both sides: as a principal investigator in many NSF grants, and as an NSF program officer. His statement to the board emphasized his vision of the MAA as an organization that is sufficiently endowed and financially healthy so that it may be able to continue to provide a full range of services to its members.
Kenelly replaces Gerald J. Porter of the University of Pennsylvania, who has been serving the MAA on financial matters for 18 years, first as an elected member of the Finance Committee and then as the Association Treasurer. In his final report to the board, Porter took the opportunity to survey important events over the last decade. He noted that fifteen years ago "the MAA faced a crisis involving its headquarters buildings in Washington," then desperately in need of repair. Today, the headquarters buildings "are in excellent condition and provide a good working environment for our staff." Porter also recalled the introduction of the MAA Gopher in 1994, a technology that was quickly replaced by the World Wide Web and what is now MAA Online.
Porter's report notes that "the program of the MAA is always severely constrained by finances." The Association has managed to reach its goal of having a balanced budget over a five year span, with deficits one year being compensated by surpluses in other years, but this has often been achieved only by restraining the growth of programs. The solution to this situation, Porter argued, was to build a sufficiently large unrestricted endowment, and he challenged the Board and Officers of the Association to undertake a fund-raising effort with that goal in mind. Porter concluded by quoting a comment from his very first report as Treasurer: "Balance sheets can, however, only begin to measure the strength of the Association. The most important asset that the MAA has is our members. Their involvement in the many MAA activities at both the section and national level provides the energy for the organization and the foundation for its activities."
MAA President Ann Watkins led the Board in thanking Porter for his many years of service to the Association.