Simpson Community Remembering Professor Emeritus Bill Dunning

Dr. William Calvin Dunning, professor emeritus of mathematics, passed away on Sunday, September 22, 2013 at the age of 70. Bill was one of those “under the radar” types who quietly and efficiently got things done and never sought out fame or glory for his hard work.

Bill was a New Yorker, born May 30, 1943 in Gloversville, and received his B.S. in mathematics from Union College in Schenectady, New York. He obtained his M.S. and Ph.D. in mathematics from Duke University in Durham, North Carolina in 1968 and 1969 respectively. Before coming to Simpson in 1984, he made his way from the East coast to the Midwest and taught at Belleview College near Omaha, Nebraska, and then at Drake University in Des Moines. He may not have been specifically hired for this, but he was the department chair from the time he arrived at Simpson until 2003. He retired in 2005.

During his 20 years as department chair, he doubled the size of the math department. Dr. Dunning was also instrumental in the introduction of technology into the mathematics classrooms. He was the first to use TI-85 calculators and he wrote Maple laboratory assignments for Calculus III and Differential Equations. The current mathematics competency program is also a result of Bill’s work to strengthen the mathematics curriculum.

Bill also served on and chaired all major faculty committees sometime during his tenure at Simpson. That includes faculty personnel, budget and coordinating, admissions, constitution and nominating, educational policy and curriculum, and assessment and program review. He also ran the all-important football and basketball pools, probably an easy job for a mathematician! The people who knew Bill remember a man with a dry wit.

“Bill was unique and the years he was in Mary Berry were enjoyable ones,” said John Epperson, professor of political science. “Every year he talked about driving to Omaha and having his taxes done by an ‘accountant’ named Vinnie—he always got a refund. So I think he did. He had a great sense of humor and enjoyed his students and his colleagues.”

Bill was dedicated to his beloved family. He is survived by his wife Linda, two children and numerous grandchildren. We extend our deepest sympathies to Linda and the rest of the family, and to all of Bill’s friends.

Memorials may be given to Kiya Koda Humane Society of Indianola. There are no plans at this time for a service.

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