The Department of Mathematics confers the honor of membership in the Bernard Society of Mathematics on departmental majors and others with outstanding interest and ability in mathematics. The Society's activities are supported by the Bernard Society Endowment, funded by gifts from alumni, faculty, and friends. The annual Bernard Lectureship features a prominent authority on mathematics or computer science who engages members of the college community, including alumni as well as the general public, in discussions and lectures. The society sponsors the Math Coffee series and other departmental events, and funds students' participation at conferences and national or regional contests. Students receive Math Horizons, the undergraduate magazine of the Mathematical Association of America, and the Society publishes the Bernard Society Review, our newsletter for students and alumni. Finally, the Society supports innovation in mathematical activity, instruction, research, and outreach by Davidson students and faculty. In short, the Bernard Society promotes interest and activity in mathematics, encouraging students to emulate Professor Bernard's exemplary dedication to the discipline.
Richard Ryerson Bernard
A Jacksonville native, Richard Bernard received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Virginia. After receiving his doctorate in mathematics, Professor Bernard began his college teaching career at Yale, but returned south in 1955 to join the Davidson Faculty. His Davidson career spanned a quarter of a century during which he taught countless Davidson undergraduates. The lessons of Professor Bernard included instruction by example in clear thinking, compassion, good humor, and gracious manners. Dr. Bernard served as Chair of the Department of Mathematics for many years. He initiated the Math Coffee series, still a valuable part of the extracurricular life of the Department, and in 1957 designed and taught the first course in topology at Davidson. Named the first Vail Professor of Mathematics, Dr. Bernard received a Senior Fellowship from the National Science Foundation and was honored with the Thomas Jefferson Award for teaching excellence at Davidson.
Davidson College and the Department of Mathematics deeply appreciate the generosity of the founders and the continuing supporters of the Bernard Society of Mathematics and welcome contributions to the Bernard Society Endowment. Inquiries may be made through the College's Giving webpage, or by contacting the Mathematics Department Chair, Donna Molinek.