SIAM Thanks its Dedicated, Talented, and Generous Volunteers

January 14, 2006


Michael Overton of the Courant Institute, New York University, might have to remind himself not to attend the next meeting of the SIAM Board of Trustees. Having served the maximum numbers of terms, first on the SIAM Council and then on the Board—as Board chair for the last two years—he stepped down at the end of 2005.

Organizations like SIAM depend on the willingness of many talented people to devote their ideas and hard work to the organization. I often think that SIAM is unusually blessed in the number and dedication of the people who volunteer their time and energy to help make our activities successful.

An article reporting the names of those who were recently elected to various SIAM offices is in this issue. Here, I want to recognize those who are stepping down as the new people take office. But first, a few thoughts about those who did not win the offices for which they ran.

Looking back at the ballot for the fall election, I realize anew what a tremendous group of individuals had been willing to stand for election. SIAM runs contested elections. Our bylaws require it. Often (and especially this year) I think how great it would be if everyone could win and serve in some capacity.

The best I can do is sincerely thank all who agreed to run for office.
Another aspect of being involved in SIAM governance is that it doesn't last forever. Term limits dictate how long a person can hold office and how many times an incumbent can be re-elected (or re-appointed) to the same position. As a result of these regulations, many people stepped down on December 31, and I would like to recognize their contributions.

First, Mac Hyman's year as past-president drew to a close on December 31. (Cleve Moler became president-elect, and Marty Golubitsky began the second year of his term as president, which extends through December 31, 2006.) In December, Mac attended his final meeting of the SIAM Board of Trustees, marking the end of his many years on the SIAM Council and as an officer of SIAM. Mac's creativity and good ideas will continue to come SIAM's way through his ongoing efforts as chair of the SIAM Committee on Science Policy.

Each year the Board of the Trustees elects a chair, usually a senior member of the Board, to serve for the following year. Michael Overton, the Board's very capable chair for the past two years, also attended his last Board meeting in December. He had completed the maximum number of terms an individual can serve on the Board (three three-year terms), preceded by two terms---again the maximum allowed---on the SIAM Council. That's a lot of meetings, and Michael was an insightful contributor from the beginning. An effective leader, Michael could always be counted on to craft a detailed resolution correctly.

Also completing a term on the Board of Trustees at the December meeting was Margaret Wright. President of SIAM in 1995–96, Margaret was subsequently ap-pointed to one of two positions on the Board that are filled by appointment. Margaret remains an active and dedicated SIAM member, officially through the SIAM Journals Committee, which she chairs.

Paul Boggs steps down from his position as SIAM secretary, which he moved into after many years as a member of the SIAM Council. Among Paul's many contributions, sure to be ongoing, are strong efforts on behalf of groups under-represented in the mathematical sciences.

Joe Flaherty served one term as the elected vice president at large, his boundless energy diminished by an unfortunate illness. We wish him a continued recovery.

With the end of 2005, Greg Kriegsmann completed a stint as the vice president for publications. The VPs with portfolio (programs, education, industry, and publications) are appointed by the president and carry out much of the day-to-day work of overseeing journals, conferences, and other programs. Much of this is behind-the-scenes effort of which most SIAM members may not even be aware. On behalf of the membership, I thank Greg for all his hard work.

Finally, Lori Freitag Diachin completed a term on the SIAM Council, where she was an excellent contributor. As members of the CSE community well know, she is an active member and the current chair of the SIAM Activity Group on Computational Science and Engineering.

The people stepping down from office, and all those who were willing to run, form an outstanding part of the SIAM community. On behalf of all SIAM members, a sincere thank you to all.---JMC.


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