The University Record, October 10, 1994

Sokol Award goes to Gehring

By Bernie DeGroat
News and Information Servcies

Frederick W. Gehring, the T.H. Hildebrandt Distinguished University Professor of Mathematics, will receive the 1994 Margaret and Herman Sokol Faculty Award for his contributions to graduate education and research.

The award will be announced at a public lecture given by Gehring at 4 p.m. Thursday (Oct. 13) at Rackham Amphitheater. John H. D’Arms, vice provost for academic affairs and dean of the Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies, and Margaret Sokol will present the honor.

Gehring, who has taught at the U-M since 1955, is renowned for his research in the theory of complex numbers and is regarded as the foremost authority on geometric function in the United States.

Many doctoral students and post-doctoral scholars with whom he has worked have attained national and international stature in mathematics research.

“Gehring’s mode of operation is to get students involved in research early and to work very closely with them in a distinctly paternal fashion,” says Prof. Donald J. Lewis, chair of the Department of Mathematics. “His goal is for students to develop as whole individuals, while at the same time becoming heavily committed to research.

“He introduces them to the finer aspects of mathematics, the importance of precision, the value of broad knowledge and the ability to integrate a variety of ideas. He manages to balance well-deserved praise with needed criticism in a way that bolsters confidence and an awareness for precision in thought and exposition. After association with

Gehring, these students are excellent mathematicians and human beings.”

Administered by the Graduate School, the $25,000 award is given annually to a tenured faculty member in astronomy, biology, chemistry, geological sciences, mathematics or physics.

“The University owes an immense debt of gratitude to Margaret Sokol for her generous support and personal encouragement of both faculty and students in these critical disciplines,” D’Arms said.

Margaret Sokol and her late husband Herman, who graduated from U-M in 1940 with a master’s degree in chemistry, first established an annual fellowship for graduate students in chemistry in 1983. After Herman Sokol’s death in 1985, Margaret Sokol established additional awards to assist students and faculty in the sciences.