Thomas Scott Fiske — In Memoriam

T.S.Fiske-1895Thomas Scott Fiske died at Poughkeepsie, New York, January 10, 1944. He spent the whole of his active life in New York City and for fifty years was connected with Columbia College as a student and as a teacher. Shortly after his graduation he was instrumental in forming the New York Mathematical Society of which he later became secretary and later president. This society was the forerunner of the American Mathematical Society. Later, upon the organization of the College Entrance Examination Board, he was made its secretary and it was under the influence of his initiative and guidance that the Board became an important factor in matters pertaining to college entrance requirements. He also served as dean of Barnard College for a short time.

Through these activities, continued over such a long period of time, he came into contact with many Columbia students, with practically all the active mathematicians in the country together with many of those living in Europe, and with many college and school men in other departments. His striking personality and lovable qualities made a deep impression upon these groups, as is evidenced by the action taken by the Society at its semicentennial celebration in 1938 as well as by the action of the College Entrance Examination Board upon the occasion of his retirement from the management of its affairs.

His colleagues at Columbia who were more closely associated with him will feel his loss perhaps more keenly than others, although it has been fifteen years since he gave up the active guidance of the Department of Mathematics there.

Those who knew Fiske well recognized that he had an unusually clear and incisive mind. He had a firm grasp of those parts of mathematics to which he gave his attention, and if his inclination had led him in that direction he probably would have made his mark as a research man. But he preferred to devote his energies to administrative matters and in this field and in his personal relations he will be remembered with admiration and affection.

W. Benjamin Fite

Bulletin of the American
Mathematical Society
Vol. 50, No. 5, May 1944
Page 283