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Nov. 7, 2006
Contact: Todd Cohen, University Relations, (785) 864-8866.

University mourns legendary math professor G. Baley Price

LAWRENCE -- University of Kansas Chancellor Robert Hemenway issued the following statement this evening in response to the death today of G. Baley Price, distinguished professor emeritus and former chair of the Department of Mathematics at KU.

“G. Baley Price was a legendary professor at the University of Kansas. He was known for his keen mind and his recognition in the 1950s that technology would be a major influence in how we learn and how we teach. He and his late wife, Cora, were devoted professors and mentors.

“Wherever he looked, G. Baley Price saw potential. Long after his retirement, he remained deeply connected to this university. Few faculty members in the history of KU have given such consistent dedication over so many years.”

BIOGRAPHY

G. Baley Price, 101, distinguished professor emeritus and former chair of the Department of Mathematics at KU, was a pioneer during the golden age of mathematics and the earliest development of computer science at KU and nationally.

He began his career at KU in 1937, five years after earning his Ph.D. from Harvard University. In 1943 he served with the U.S. Army's 8th Air Force Operational Research Section in England. His duties included improving the accuracy of bomber pilots and anti-artillery interception over Britain.

Price was instrumental in the development of the "New Math" nationally and in the purchase of the first computer at KU in 1956, an IBM 650, the granddaddy of today’s desktop models.

In 1970 he received the Mathematical Association of America's Award for Distinguished Service to Mathematics, recognizing him for establishing the Mathematical Reviews, the NSF Summer Institutes for Mathematics Teachers Program, and the School Mathematics Study Group. MORE

 

He was involved in many national and international activities, earned many grants and awards, and showed a pattern of conceiving, organizing, finding funding for and implementing new ideas, programs and opportunities at the local and national level.

Price was named the first E. B. Stouffer Distinguished Professor of Mathematics at KU in 1974, and retired in 1975.

During retirement, Price has completed two mathematical monographs. He also turned his interest to documenting the history of mathematics, publishing a history of the KU Department of Mathematics in addition to articles on the contribution of mathematics to the World War II effort and related topics.

He donated his personal and professional papers in 2002 to University Archives in the Kenneth Spencer Research Library. An online exhibit is at http://spencer.lib.ku.edu/exhibits/price/index.htm


In October 2004, Price donated $500,000 to KU to establish the Cora Lee Beers Price Teaching Professorship of International Cultural Understanding in honor of his wife. Cora Price, a former KU English and Classics professor, died in 2004.

In 2005, he donated $100,000 toward library studies at the university. His gift supports graduate students interested in archival research or becoming librarians. Recipients will work with staff at the Spencer Research Library to process the library’s materials, especially through digital technologies.

The G. Baley Price Award for Excellence in Teaching is given annually by graduate students to a KU faculty member.

In 2004, Belfour and Betty Joe Lorbeer McMillen of Fort Worth, Texas donated $960,000 to the KU Endowment Association to create the G. Baley Price Professorship in Mathematics Fund, which will provide the support to attract and retain an outstanding professor of mathematics at KU.

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The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus.

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