Archive for Saturday, March 9, 2002

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March 9, 2002


When G. Baley Price started teaching at Kansas University in 1937, there were 4,000 students  one-sixth of its current student body  and most of the university was housed in two buildings.

"I've seen it through a lot of changes," he said. "It is much larger, and that makes a big difference. It was more of a single unit. You expected to know everybody from the faculty and most of the students."

Price, who taught mathematics at KU from 1937 to 1975, and his wife, Cora Lee Price, 93, were honored Friday with a reception at the Spencer Research Library. Cora Lee Price taught English and classics at KU from 1945 to 1974. The couple is among the oldest living retired KU faculty.

The event recognized the Prices' donation of their faculty papers to the library and celebrated G. Baley Price's 97th birthday, which is Thursday.

G. Baley Price is credited with bringing the first computer to the KU campus in 1957 and starting the first computer programming course.

His tenure at KU was interrupted by a two-year stint working for the Air Force during World War II. He worked in operations research in England from 1943 to 1945.

"We were assigned to study bombing accuracy," he said. "We wanted to know where the bombs went that were dropped, and make sure more of them went on target."

He also was a leader in the "new math" movement in the early 1960s, which dramatically altered math instruction in public schools.

"Some people liked it and some people didn't," he said. "Some families didn't like it because they couldn't do homework for their children."

Cora Lee Price began teaching in 1945 after the university lifted a rule that barred husband-and-wife faculty employment.

The Prices live in Lawrence. Their six children are KU graduates and four grandchildren also attend KU.

Bill Crowe, Spencer librarian, said the couple's archives include papers, books, photographs and a slide rule that will help later generations connect with KU's past.

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