Bill Kirby (1930 - 2007)
William A. Kirby, 76, Professor Emeritus, Bowling Green State University, died Wednesday, May 23, 2007 at his residence in Bowling Green. He was born October 23, 1930 in Madison, South Dakota.
Bill attended the University of Wyoming from 1948 to 1953, where he earned an M.A. degree. He was a faculty member at Texas Western College, now UTEP, from 1953 to 1956, and received a Ph D from the University of Texas in 1961 in mathematics education. He then taught at Bowling Green State University in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics until his retirement in 1990. Bill was a member of the American Contract Bridge League where he was a silver master.Bill was famous, or infamous, for his teaching of the geometry course using the Moore method, sometimes called the Texas method. This style of teaching has now come into favor in the schools. He received the Kappa Mu Epsilon, mathematics honorary, Excellence in Teaching Mathematics Award in 1973
Dan Brahier, wrote:
I had Bill for 402 ... wonderful guy. Though I must admit that we spent some time outside of class a little confused, wishing we had a book because we never knew where he was taking us. Now, here I am, some 30 years later, teaching 8th grade without a book and keeping them wondering too. The more things change ...
This tradition in the geometry course continues at BGSU. Charles Holland wrote about taking over for Bill in the geometry course, and his other connections:
It begins with our high school years in Casper, Wyoming where we knew many of the same people (though Bill had left just before I arrived). Of course, it continued through our decades of playing tennis together several times a week. I know that many people felt that Bill was a bit rash in his opinions, but it was a part of his personality that appealed to me, though I didn't agree with him in all cases. Years ago, he came and asked me to take over the Moore method geometry course which he had developed. I was delighted, because as a graduate student, most of my courses had been Moore method (Tulane was a bit overboard on that), and I felt that it was a very good thing for a student to have one or two courses like that. Bill gave me the notes he had developed, and I got great satisfaction from teaching that course for many years.