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Carl Kohls


In 1955-1956 Carl W. Kohls was an NSF Predoctoral Fellow at Purdue, receiving his Ph.D. in 1957 with a dissertation under Leonard Gillman. He served at Columbia, Urbana, and Rochester before joining SU as an assistant professor in 1961, and he was promoted to associate professor in 1963 and to professor in 1970. Carl published 23 research papers, in rings of continuous functions, the topic of his dissertation, and other topics in ring theory and general topology. He directed three Ph.D. dissertations: William H. Reynolds (1970) (deceased), Margaret W. Groman (1972) and Wendy L. Duignan (1980).

Carl was very active as a reviewer for Mathematical Reviews from 1957 to about 1973, and did a great deal of refereeing. For a while he served as a reviewer for NSF contract proposals, and for several years before his retirement he translated Russian research publications for the AMS. In 1975 Carl was the chair of the committee to review the graduate program in the department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science. Carl later received a note from Vice-President Kibbey saying that his committee's report was one of the best he ever received.

Between 1980 and 1990 he gave at least 16 lectures at colleges in the department's Visiting Lecturer Program, and he directed that program from 1985 to 1991. From 1974 to 1984 except for two years he served as a member of the Graduate Committee, and for five of those years he was its chair. From 1985 to 1991 except for one year he was a member of the Undergraduate Committee, and he served as chair for the first three years. For the period 1974 to 1987 he served on reappointment committees for 5 faculty members, and he was chair 3 times. Carl was active in the Seaway Section of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA), attending meetings, giving at least 5 talks, and serving as Student Talk Coordinator 1984-91 and Department Representative 1986-91. He supervised actuarial examinations, advised students on actuarial careers, and served as faculty advisor to the Syracuse Student Chapter of the MAA. Carl served on many dissertation committees and carefully read each dissertation and had a reputation for providing detailed critiques for the candidate. He is a member of AMS, MAA and Phi Beta Kappa.

Our Mathematics Graduate Organization (MGO) started the NY Regional Graduate Mathematics Conference in the spring of 1975, and Carl gave talks at 6 of the first 11 meetings. In this period he also gave three talks in the Mathematics Graduate Student Colloquium. Moreover, when Jennifer Howes as MGO president was compiling records for the twenty-fifth meeting and was discouraged by the limited information available about its history, Carl appeared with a number of photographs of principal speakers that he had taken, as well as 11 programs, mostly of the earlier of the twenty-five meetings, and saved the day. Carl retired in 1991 and he is missed!

Sources: Carl's curriculum vitae; comments by Carl. Phil Church 6/30/02