The Gung and Hu Award for Distinguished Service to Mathematics, first
presented in 1990, is the endowed successor to the Association's Award for
Distinguished Service to Mathematics, first presented in 1962. This award
is intended to be the most prestigious award for service offered by the
Association. It honors distinguished contributions to mathematics and
mathematical education - in one particular aspect or many, and in a short
period or over a career. The initial endowment was contributed by husband
and wife Dr. Charles Y. Hu and Yueh-Gin Gung. It is worth noting that Dr.
Hu and Yueh-Gin Gung were not mathematicians, but rather a professor of
geography at the University of Maryland and a
librarian at the University of Chicago, respectively. They contributed
generously to our discipline because, as they wrote, "We always have high
regard and great respect for the intellectual agility and high quality of
mind of mathematicians and consider mathematics as the most vital field of
study in the technological age we are living in."
Citation: Lee Lorch
Lee Lorch's mathematical research has been in the areas of analysis,
differential equations, and special functions. His teaching positions have
included the City College of New York, Pennsylvania State University, Fisk
University, Philander Smith College, the University of Alberta, Howard
University, Royal Institute of Technology (Stockholm) and Aarhus
University. He was at York from 1968 until retirement in 1985 and remains
active in the mathematical community.
His scholarship has been recognized by election to Fellowship in the Royal
Society of Canada; appointment to committees of the Research Council of
Canada; election to the Councils of the American Mathematical Society, the
Canadian Mathematical Society, and the Royal Society of Canada; and by
many invitations to lecture.
Lee Lorch is a remarkable teacher of mathematics and an inspiration to his
students. Among those he guided were Etta Falconer, Gloria Hewitt,
Vivienne Malone Mayes, and Charles Costley. He has recruited into graduate
work and mathematical careers many students who would not have otherwise
considered such a path. [See V. Mayes, American Mathematical Monthly,
1976, pp708-711; and P.Kenschaft, Change Is Possible, American
Mathematical Society, 2005.]
During the early organization of the Association for Women in Mathematics,
Lee gave sage advice about the value of inclusiveness in supporting
effective advocacy. He is responsible for the appearance of the
preposition "for" in place of the initially proposed "of" in the name of
Throughout his career he has been a vocal advocate and energetic worker
for human rights and educational opportunities. His interventions,
especially in the 1950's, led to changes in the policies and practices of
the AMS and the MAA that ensured that all mathematicians could participate
in the official events of these organizations. While his actions have not
solved all the problems he addressed, surely his energy has contributed to
As an example, we cite events surrounding a meeting in 1951 held in
Lee Lorch, the chair of the mathematics department at Fisk University, and
three Black colleagues, Evelyn Boyd (now Granville), Walter Brown, and H.
M.Holloway came to the meeting and were able to attend the scientific
However, the organizer for the closing banquet refused to honor the
reservations of these four mathematicians. (Letters in Science, August 10,
1951, pp. 161-162 spell out the details). Lorch and his colleagues wrote
to the governing bodies of the AMS and MAA seeking bylaws against
Bylaws were not changed, but non-discriminatory policies were established
and have been strictly observed since then.
For his life-long contributions to mathematics, his continued dedication
to inclusiveness, equity, and human rights for mathematicians, and
especially his profound influence on the lives of minority and women
mathematicians who have benefited from his efforts, the MAA presents this
Yueh-Gin Gung and Charles Y.
Hu Award for Distinguished Service to Mathematics to Lee Lorch.
Lee Lorch, FRSC, is Professor Emeritus at York University in Toronto. Born
in New York, his undergraduate studies were at Cornell. He holds a Ph.D.
from the University of Cincinnati, mentored by Otto Szasz.
While in the U.S. army during the war, and shortly before going overseas,
he married Grace Lonergan, a Boston school teacher. She was dismissed for
committing matrimony and became the first Boston teacher to contest that
policy, but lost. A plaque commemorating her pioneering struggle and
celebrating her subsequent civil rights activities now adorns the entrance
to a Boston public school. Their participation in the struggle against
housing discrimination cost Lorch two jobs in quick succession. Moving
south, their efforts to speed the end of segregation in public education,
as mandated by the Supreme Court (1954), cost Lorch the last two posts he
was able to obtain in the U.S. He was summoned before the House Committee
on UnAmerican Activities and cited for "contempt" for refusing to say
whether he had ever been a member of the Communist Party. He was
acquitted. Grace Lorch was called before the Senate Subcommittee on
Internal Security, where she also refused to answer political questions.
Years later, Lorch received honorary degrees from two of the institutions
that had dismissed him. In 1959 the couple moved to Canada.
Both have received awards for their civil rights contributions.
Response from Lee Lorch
While this award honors me, it gives me even greater satisfaction that, by
making it, the MAA emphasizes its support for equity.
There are all too many proofs that this fight is far from over. One
surrounds us here: Katrina and post-Katrina New Orleans. Why was New
Orleans left so vulnerable? Why was flood control, so urgently and
obviously needed set aside? Its low-lying areas, overwhelmingly
African-American, seed-beds of world famous African-American music, are
ruined, their residents scattered and disheartened, their communities in
peril of dissolution.
Even the AMS home page tells us only of Tulane -- not of the several
afflicted HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities). Perhaps no
one in these institutions has submitted a report. Maybe they do not feel
really part of the mathematical community. Why not? What is being done
"The struggle continues." Happily, this award is a sign of which side the
MAA is on.
Thank you, thank
you very much!
Mathematical Association of America Online