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A four-year succession consisting of one year as President Elect, two years as President, and one year as Immediate Past President. The President is not eligible for immediate re-election; however, by convention, no person since J. E. McCormick (1891-94) held the office twice. It is the tradition that the President is a research mathematician of distinction as evidenced by such things as the quality of appointments held and books and papers published. At some times, it has been thought wise that the President be a citizen of the United States. Recently, however, James G. Arthur (University of Toronto) ably served a term as President.


The position is both an honor and a working post. The President has a stated duty of presenting an address to the Society within one year after the close of his/her term. The President presides at two Council meetings, a Business Meeting, and two meetings of the Executive Committee per year. There are additional committee meetings in which the President participates. The President influences the course of thought and action in the Society not only in planning the meetings at which he/she presides but also through the choice of committee members and representatives made after consultation with the Committee on Committees and others. The President introduces the Gibbs Lecturer, the Colloquium Lecturer, prize winners, and the Retiring Presidential Address. The President represents the Society before such bodies as the National Science Foundation and other government agencies, including Congress, and is a member of the Council of Scientific Society Presidents, the Conference Board of the Mathematical Sciences and the Joint Policy Board for Mathematics. The President sits with any Committee that he/she wishes, particularly the Science Policy Committee. More particularly, he/she is a member of the Executive Committee for four years, a member of the Agenda and Budget Committee and of the Board of Trustees during the second and third year. The President also receives and answers many letters from members on a variety of subjects.

The Jan 94 Council adopted duties for the president as follows:


  1. The president should be a research mathematician.
  2. The president is the principal officer of the Society. The president should take an active leadership role in the policy-making process and in representing the Society.
  3. In representing the Society or the office of the president, the president may be assisted by, and work closely with, the other officers of the Society, in particular with the vice-presidents, the president-elect, the ex-president, the secretary and the treasurer.
  4. The president is an ex officio member of the Council, the Executive Committee of the Council, Board of Trustees, the Liaison Committee, the Agenda and Budget Committee, the Long Range Planning Committee, the Policy Committees, the Committee on Committees and the Joint Policy Board of Mathematics.
  5. The president presides over meetings of the Council, the Executive Committee of the Council, joint meetings of the Executive Committee and Board of Trustees, and the Liaison Committee.


The President is assisted by the Secretary, the Treasurer, and the Executive Director and his or her staff in whatever manner the President requests.


Full expenses of the President in the exercise of his or her duties are reimbursed.

DRAFT: 12/13/79; UPDATED: 12/6/90; 12/9/91; 10/4/00

Society/Council Actions

A list of past presidents is available at: