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Regents' Proceedings 232
Frederick W. Gehring, the T.H. Hildebrandt Distinguished University Professor of Mathematics, will retire from active faculty status on December 31, 1995.
A native of Ann Arbor, Professor Gehring earned two B.S.E. degrees (1946) and an M.S. degree (1949) at the University of Michigan. He earned his Ph.D. degree from the University of Cambridge in 1952. He taught at Harvard University from 1952-55, when he returned to the University of Michigan as an instructor in mathematics. He was promoted to assistant professor in 1956, associate professor in 1959, professor in 1961, and the T.H. Hildebrandt Distinguished University Professor in 1987. Professor Gehring served three terms as chair of the mathematics department. Among his honors are the Distinguished Faculty Achievement Award (1981), the Henry Russel Lecturer (1990), and the Sokol Faculty Award (1994). He was invited three times to address the International Congress of Mathematicians (1966, 1974, 1986) and was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1989.
A Guggenheim Fellowship brought Professor Gehring to the University of Helsinki and the E.T.H. in Zurich in 1958-60. There he began to learn the theory of quasiconformal mappings, which became the focus of his life's work. He was instrumental in developing the theory and bringing it into the mainstream of mathematical analysis. In particular, he pioneered the important extension of the theory to n-dimensional space, emphasizing new tools such as extremal length and capacity. More recently he has brought quasiconformal mappings into a broad study of discrete transformation groups.
Throughout his career, Professor Gehring has maintained close ties with Finnish mathematicians. He speaks fluent Finnish, has made many visits to the country, and has received several high honors from Finland. Over the years, he and his wife Lois have also welcomed many Finnish and other foreign scholars to Ann Arbor. He has directed 26 Ph.D. students at the University of Michigan, plus 2 others who obtained degrees from other institutions. As a measure of their loyalty and continuing scholarly activity, 25 of his 28 Ph.D. students attended an international conference held in Professor Gehring's honor in August 1995.
The Regents now salute this faculty member by naming Frederick W. Gehring the T. H. Hildebrandt Distinguished University Professor Emeritus of Mathematics.