John J. Gergen Memorial Lectures

Once or twice a year, the Math Department sponsors lectures named in honor of Professor John J. Gergen (1903-1967), former chairman of the department. These lectures feature the prominent mathematicians of our time.

Professor John J. Gergen

John Jay Gergen was born in St. Paul, Minnesota on April 17, 1903. He received a B.A. from the University of Minnesota (1925) and a Ph.D. from Rice (1928). As a National Research fellow (1928-1930), he visited Princeton, Oxford, the University of Paris and the University of Clermont. He was a Benjamin Pierce Instructor at Harvard (1930-1933) and an assistant professor at the University of Rochester (1933-1936). He came to Duke University as an associate professor in 1936 and was promoted to professor in 1939.

Professor Gergen served as chairman of the department from 1937 until July 1966, when he resigned the chairmanship owing to illness (esophageal cancer). During his time as department chair he also served as acting director of the mathematical sciences division of the Office of Ordnance Research for the U.S. Army (1951-1961). Professor Gergen was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Sigma Xi. His mathematical interests were in analysis, particularly differential equations.

Professor Gergen married Aubigne Munger Lermond on June 11, 1931. They had four children: John Andrew, Kenneth Jay, Stephen Lermond, and David Richmond. He died at Duke Hospital in January 1967.

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