At the University of Notre Dame departments were not formed until 1920. The Department of Mathematics’ first chairman was Edward Maurus. He served from 1920-1937. Karl Menger then served from 1938-1946. Our third chairman was Arnold Ross, 1946-1963.
The graduate program in mathematics at Notre Dame was established in 1937 by Karl Menger. Prof. Menger had two graduate students. Joseph Landin (1946) and Mary van Straten (1947). The program was developed under the chairmanship of Arnold Ross (archive photos, 1 and 2). From 1959 into the 1960’s considerable change in the faculty took place, with the appointment of Yozo Matsushima, Timothy O’Meara, Wilhelm Stoll, Hans Zassenhaus, and other mathematicians active in research. At that time the program was organized into essentially its present form.
…In 1938, the Department of Mathematics offered courses leading to the doctorate. The development of this department has been the work of one of the world’s foremost mathematicians, Dr. Karl Menger, former professor of mathematics at the University of Vienna. Aided in his work by Professors Arthur Milgram, Paul Pepper, John Kelly, and Emil Artin, Dr. Menger made a brilliant record. Students for graduate work specialize in the foundations of geometry, the theory of point sets, topology, metric geometry, and the particular applications of metric geometry to analysis. At Vienna, an annual colloquium in mathematics was held during the pre-war years, and a report of its proceedings published. In 1938 Dr. Menger instituted a similar colloquium at Notre Dame. Each year since 1939, an annual report of the proceedings has been published. These reports contain the fruit of the research carried on by the Department of Mathematics as well as related studies contributed by outside scholars to the Notre Dame colloquium. (The Story of Notre Dame, Chapter XXXI)
The department participated in the national growth of mathematics faculties and graduate student numbers during the 1960’s and the shrinkage in the 1970’s, although these changes were more moderate at Notre Dame than at many other universities. In the 1980’s there was stabilization in numbers, followed by the beginnings of a moderate growth. In 1990, the first group of applied mathematicians was hired, and the effort to build the applied mathematics group was continued by the department in subsequent years.
During the 1990’s, there has been a wave of retirements from the faculty and a corresponding wave of new hires. As a consequence, the department is relatively young and energetic. The size of the faculty has been stable at around 40 since the early 1990’s. As of Spring 2009, there are 42 regular Teaching & Research faculty members, 2 regular Professional Specialists whose main responsibility is teaching and pedagogy, and 4 regular post-doctoral positions. While the very best mathematicians of the department continue to operate at the level of international prominence, it is evident that the research regime overall has picked up both in quality and intensity during the past decade.
View a History of Past Faculty