William Chernoff   2005 President's Medal Recipient

Bill Chernoff was an outstandingly effective teacher of mathematics throughout his long career at UNB, extending from 1969 to retirement in 2004.  His special strength was his ability to inspire confidence in students that they could succeed, and to develop strong personal rapport with them so that they strove to succeed.  The courses he taught, such as calculus, were among those considered by students the most difficult in their programs and yet Bill was legendarily popular with them, their parents and their faculty advisors.

Bill understood how students could be helped to absorb and apply complex ideas, and to appreciate the power and applications of the subjects he taught.  He was well-liked personally by his students and they wanted to succeed to please him, as well as for their own sakes, so they had two motives for working hard and performing well.  A typical comment from a student in one of Bill's courses is:

``I have attended three universities and Dr. Chernoff is by far the best undergraduate professor I have ever encountered.''

Bill was also a substantial influence on mathematics in New Brunswick schools.  He was the founder and for a number years the main organizer of UNB's Math Competition for students in grades 7, 8 and 9.  This competition has been an annual event since 1981, and hundreds of talented students from across the province come for a day at the University where they see and experience work in many fields, as well as participating in the competition and an awards ceremony.  The students' preparations for the competition enrich their regular studies and provide their teachers with opportunities to discuss material they themselves find stimulating.  For many years, Bill advised the provincial Department of Education on curriculum, and he gave many talks on mathematics to high school audiences.

Bill was an active and published scholar during his career.  He also played a leading role in the development of the UNB student residence system.

The University takes pleasure in recognizing Bill Chernoff's outstanding career contributions to the education of students both on campus and in the provincial school system.

Presented by Jon Thompson

Professor of Mathematics and Statistics

March 23, 2005