Mathematics & Computer Science
Dr. Truman L. Koehler
Dr. Truman L. Koehler (1902-1989) was an inspired teacher of mathematics at Muhlenberg College for 45 years, serving 14 years as head of the department. A 1924 graduate of Muhlenberg College, he was a member and served a term as chair of the Eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware Section of the Mathematical Association of America.
He was Muhlenberg's campus director of the Engineering, Science, Management and War Training Program during World War II. In 1954, Dr. Koehler was appointed the Muhlenberg College Center Advisor and the chairman of the Advisory Committee of the nine-college consortium for the Temple University graduate program in education.
He served as president of the Citizens Advising Committee of the Allentown School District, chairman of the local Civil Service Board and a director of Kiwanis and the Gruber Foundations. He also held many leadership positions in the Lutheran church.
The "Truman L. Koehler Professorship in Mathematics" will remain in perpetuity and will provide for the enrichment of one of the basic arts of learning at the College.
The most recent Koehler Professor of Mathematics was Dr. William Dunham, who occupied the chair from 1992 to 2013. During his tenure as the Koehler Professor, Dr. Dunham wrote three books: The Mathematical Universe (Wiley, 1994), Euler: The Master of Us All (Mathematical Association of America, 1999), and The Calculus Gallery: Masterpieces from Newton to Lebesgue (Princeton University Press, 2005). Dr. Dunham received the Association of American Publishers Award as the Best Mathematics Book of 1994 for The Mathematical Universe and the MAA's Beckenbach Prize for Euler: The Master of Us All. He also edited a text on the history of mathematics The Genius of Euler: Selections from His Life and Work (MAA, 2007), which was published as part of the celebration of Euler's 300th birthday.
In addition, Dr. Dunham consistently wrote articles on historical topics. One of these, Euler and the Fundamental Theorem of Algebra, received the 1992 George Polya Award from the MAA; another, 1996: A Triple Anniversary, won the 1997 Trevor Evans Award from the MAA; and a third, Touring the Calculus Gallery, received the 2006 Lester R. Ford Award from the MAA.
His scholarly work as the Koehler Professor led to Dr. Dunham being invited to speak on the history of mathematics at a number of U.S. colleges and universities,to the Australian Mathematical Society, at the Smithsonian Institution, on NPR's Talk of the Nation: Science Friday, and at the Swiss Embassy in Washington in recognition of Euler's Swiss heritage.