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Dr. Ralph B. Bennett Memorial Endowed Fund for Excellence

Published: 05/20/2013

The Department of Mathematics and Statistics (DMS) received the Dr. Ralph B. Bennett Memorial Endowed Fund for Excellence. The Fund will be used to recognize outstanding DMS graduate students in the form of Dr. Ralph B. Bennett Memorial Graduate Fellowship. The Fund may also be used as an undergraduate scholarship for students majoring in mathematics or statistics according to the Agreement.

Selection process: 

The Chair of the Graduate Studies Committee (GSC) or the Graduate Program Office (GPO) will send out nomination call to the DMS Faculty, usually in Fall semester. Nomination packages will be collected and examined by the GSC. The recipient(s) shall be selected by the GSC in consultation with the Department Chair.


This endowment is established in memory of Dr. Ralph Blount Bennett by his wife, Donna V. Bennett, and daughters, Rebecca Ruth Bennett and Leah Elizabeth Bennett Edwards for the purpose of providing funds for excellence in DMS. Dr. Bennett served as a faculty member in the Department of Mathematics of Auburn University during 1966-1971. Donna served as Managing Editor of Topology Proceedings at Auburn for many years and retired in 2001. 

Donor Biographical Information:

At the memorial service held shortly after Dr. Bennett's untimely death at the age of 32, one of his first graduate students, Jerry Williams, described Dr. Bennett¹s complete dedication to mathematics, to teaching, and to each of his students. This scholarship is the family's way of sharing that dedication with future generations. 

Ralph Bennett was born in Galveston, Texas, on December 28, 1939, but spent most of his formative years in the Chicago area. After graduating from The Illinois Institute of Technology with a bachelor¹s degree in mathematics, Ralph enrolled as a graduate student at the University of Tennessee. When he left Knoxville four years later, he took with him a Ph.D., a beloved wife, and a new daughter. Following a short stint at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, the young family, now larger by one more daughter, arrived in Auburn in 1966.

Upon his arrival at Auburn University, Dr. Bennett proceeded to immerse himself in the academic life he so treasured. His few short years there were filled with teaching, advising, researching, and publishing his findings. The chairman of the math department at that time, L.P. Burton, called Dr. Bennett a new creative talent who brought scholarly excellence and a love of teaching to a department in great need of (such) inspiration. His contributions to the university were recognized when, in 1969, Dr. Bennett was given a special appointment as an Alumni Associate Professor. One of the final accolades to his work came in 1971 when he was awarded a grant for study and research at the Polish Academy of Sciences from the National Academy of Sciences.

Those who knew him characterized Ralph Bennett as a quiet, reserved, patient person who related to others in a friendly, genuine manner. He was known as an independent thinker, with a subtle, charming sense of humor. In the words of Dr. Burton, Ralph Bennett was respected and loved by all who knew him.

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