While not dated, the following information appears to
have been written in 1997.
The Hendrix-Rhodes-Sewanee Undergraduate Symposium has a long
and rich history of promoting independent projects and research
by undergraduate students. In its first nineteen years since the
symposium began more than one hundred students from the three schools
have made presentations.
The symposium dates from 1978 when Bob Eslinger of Hendrix
College approached colleagues at two other schools about shared
meetings as a forum for students involved in undergraduate research.
In a letter to Angelo Margaris at Rhodes (then Southwestern at
Memphis), Bob informed Angelo that a joint colloquium with Hendrix
students and students from the math club at Sewanee had been planned
for mid-April at Sewanee. He noted that he and the Hendrix students
would be passing through Memphis and suggested a similar colloquium
between Hendrix and Southwestern students.
Bob Eslinger opening the 2001 Symposium at Hendrix
Quoting from Bob's letter:
I came to Hendrix two years ago from
Sewanee and inherited a well-established undergraduate research
program. To continue the growth and vitality of the program,
I am interested in establishing ties with other institutions with
whom we can share scholarship in mathematics at the undergraduate
level. I envision this visit to Southwestern as a step in that
Thus in 1978 separate meetings were held at Southwestern and
Sewanee. Afterwards in a letter to Stephen Puckette at Sewanee, Bob
I thought our first common symposium was a good beginning, and
I hope that we will make it an annual event, perhaps an annual
three-way event with Southwestern.
The first combined meeting was held at Southwestern the following
year. Angelo Margaris at Southwestern suggested the current rotation
I would like to suggest that every four years it meet
once in Conway, once in Sewanee and twice in Memphis.
In 1980 Sewanee began the tradition of having an invited
lecture by asking Richard Arenstorf from Vanderbilt to speak. Since
that time invited lectures have been given by national and regional
leaders in mathematics as well as alumni of the three schools. In
1981 Hendrix hosted a joint symposium with the Journal of
Undergraduate Mathematics National Conference. While the attendance
peaked that year with an influx of 34 students from other colleges
around the country, the symposium has continued to have an average of
eight student talks each year.
Recently the symposium has come full circle. Previous student
speakers Charles Yeomans from Sewanee, Tommy Ratliff from Rhodes and
David Sutherland from Hendrix have each pursued mathematics careers
and have returned to give invited lectures at the symposium. David
Sutherland is also now a faculty member at Hendrix. Dedication to
the symposium has remained strong in the face of numerous challenges.
The distance between Sewanee and Hendrix, scheduling conflicts and
retirements of some of the original faculty members have created
difficulties. The enthusiasm from young faculty members and the
continued interest of students will keep the symposium going strong
well into the twenty-first century.