Bill loved nothing more than family and teaching, and devoted himself throughout his life to both.
Jean, Bill's wife of 57 years
My father and I shared the trait of rarely reminiscing about the past. I believe this trait explained his desire to forgo any memorial service other than the scattering of his ashes by his family. My father would have wanted me to spend my time looking forward, rather than trying to piece together some inadequate remembrance of his life. I'll honor his wishes and spend my time as he would want me to, doing the work that makes me who I am. He would be proud that while helping my mother during the semester of his death, I didn’t miss a single class and was teaching some mathematics that he taught me.
W. Ted Mahavier
Bill Mahavier was the best father to me. He was the smartest man I ever knew and the most honorable. He gave me a strong sense of roots and of purpose, and guidance always. He took pride in my teaching; how lucky I was to be his lifelong student.
My connections to Dr. Mahavier originally occurred through no fault of his. The exigencies of my personal pacifistic convictions juxtaposed with the Vietnam War led to my not going straight out of Guilford College in 1969 to graduate school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on the very attractive fellowship it had offered me. Despite the degree to which I enjoyed teaching and coaching high school students, when the war ended four years later, I decided I wanted to go to graduate school. ... full text
Bill and I were together at five different universities:
University of Texas,
Illinois Institute of Technology,
University of Tennessee,
Emory University, and University of North Texas,
as professors. ...
It has been said that God looks after little children and fools. That is undoubtedly true in the case of my coming to know and love Bill Mahavier and the Moore Method. My graduate career began abysmally. I do not remember, in either Moore-style courses or ones taught by the traditional lecture method, proving a single theorem during my first two quarters at Emory University (these took up the fall of 1966 and the winter of 1967). ...
Three people had profound influences on my intellectual life and development: John Lentz, a physicist at IBM Watson Scientific Computing Laboratories at Columbia University, who convinced me to abandon my quest to be an electrical engineer and pursue physics instead; John Neuberger at Illinois Institute of Technology, who furthered my experiences in Inquiry Based Learning through his graduate courses in integral equations; and Bill Mahavier,... full text
I’m a student of William S. Mahavier, having completed my degree under his direction at Emory University in 1974. I first met Bill by telephone in Spring of 1969; I was an undergraduate senior at the University of Texas and I had applied to Emory, where Bill taught, for graduate school. Several other students from UT, in the wake of R.L. Moore’s forced retirement, were also applying to Emory. Bill was visiting Texas and wanted to meet some of these students.
About ten years ago I had the extraordinary experience of being able to observe Bill Mahavier teach two classes using the Moore Method. That experience changed my life, for the better. He gave me the courage to try teaching in a way that I now use routinely, gave me a model for how to make it work, and above all provided me with the enduring inspiration that has sustained me over the years. I have had many teachers throughout my rather long education, but none quite like Bill.
“I don’t understand.” Those of us who worked with him on joint publications, and, I am confident, those who were students in his classes, heard these words quite often from Bill Mahavier. Most soon learned that this was a euphemistic expression, a nice way to say that something is wrong here either in what you wrote or what you said. Another common phrase that served the same purpose was, “I may be missing something but …”.
Bill cared about people.
A conversation with Bill was always educational, never dull, usually a challenge, but nevertheless, interesting and fun!
There was usually plenty of food for thought later.
Bill listened; ...
In 1968, I was a high school teacher spending a year studying math as part of an NSF MAT program at Emory. My advisers, the late Jack Downes and Do Skypec, told me, "it's not what you take that is important, it is who you take that counts". What great advice! They insisted I take Bill Mahavier. ...
Bill Mahavier changed my life. I liked and could learn Mathematics before I met Bill. But in Bill's Calculus class I learned that I could do Mathematics. This changed my life. Today at age 76, having retired from teaching 11 years ago, I am still doing Mathematics with 45 research publications and a research monograph in the 11 years since my 'retirement'. ...