2009 – Robert Smith
Pi Mu Epsilon occasionally bestows a special award to others who have made significant contributions to the Society and its student members. This award, the C. C. MacDuffee Award for Distinguished Service, was first given in 1965. The first recipient was J. Sutherland Frame and there have been only twelve others. The MacDuffee award is not given annually, but (in the words of the 1965 PME Council) “often enough to be recognized and seldom enough to be meaningful.”
Our friend Robert Smith became a member of the Pennsylvania Delta Chapter at Penn State in 1964 while a graduate student. He became chapter advisor at Miami University in 1989 and from then until now, in one way or another, he has been working with students, planning local, regional, and national PME meeting and conferences, helping students prepare talks, playing math games, showing mathematics themed videos, and buying lots and lots of pizza for students.
Robert became a National Councillor in 1992 and in 1999 began the 9-year duties, of president elect, president, and past president. During his presidency, he initiated the Chapter Roll book, the installation package, and the Lectureship Program. Robert conducted more than 30 new chapter installations, inductions and lectureships, and successfully raised endowment funds for PME.
More than any particular accomplishment, what really stands out about Robert is his seemingly unlimited energy, enthusiasm, and organizational skills. I can’t say that Robert is “poetry in motion,” but Robert is always in motion and things good things happen when Robert is in motion. Luckily for us, many of those good things have served mathematics and Pi Mu Epsilon, in general, and individual student lives quite well.