A native of Poland, Bergman (pictured) taught at Stanford University for many years and died in 1977 at the age of 82. He was an AMS member for 35 years. When his wife died, the terms of her will stipulated that funds should go toward a special prize in her husband's honor. The AMS was asked by the Wells Fargo Bank of California, the managers of the Bergman Trust, to assemble a committee to select recipients of the prize. In addition the Society assisted Wells Fargo in interpreting the terms of the will to assure sufficient breadth in the mathematical areas in which the prize may be given.