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Fuller, William Richard, 1920-



  • Existence: October 27, 1920 - January 7, 2013

Biographical Information

Author, professor, and administrator William R. Fuller was born on October 27, 1920 in Indianapolis, Indiana. After serving in Europe during World War II, Fuller entered Butler University of Indianapolis and graduated in August of 1948. Upon graduation, Fuller accepted a one-year teaching position at Butler University and then moved to Purdue University to pursue a graduate degree in mathematics. He received a master's degree from Purdue in January of 1951.

During the Korean War, Fuller worked for the U.S. Navy as a mathematician in the area of the delivery of armaments from aircraft at the U.S. Ordnance Plant in Indianapolis. In 1954, he returned to Purdue to complete his Ph.D., which he received in 1957. Soon afterwards Dr. Carl Kossack offered Fuller the position of executive assistant with the charge of developing sponsored research.

In 1959, Fuller became the head of the Mathematics Department at Purdue. His tenure in this position was short due to conflicts over the role and focus of the department within the university. The department was moved to the School of Engineering, and he served as one of a three-member leadership team until a new chair could be found. One of the team members was Dr. Paul Chenea. The new head of the Mathematics Department, Dr. Felix Haas, arrived in 1962 with Fuller serving as assistant head. Dr. Haas' tenure as head of the department was also short. He was asked by the University administration to form a new School of Science that included bringing Mathematics back from Engineering. Haas asked Fuller to be Assistant Dean of Science. From this point Fuller moved from Assistant to Associate Dean under Dr. Allen Clark, until 1976 when he returned to teaching as a professor.

In 1978, due to problems on Purdue's Michigan City (North Central) campus, Fuller was appointed Acting Vice Chancellor for Academic Services by President Arthur G. Hansen and Provost Felix Haas. He was later appointed Interim Chancellor in 1979 and remained in the position until 1982. After returning to the West Lafayette campus he was a full-time teacher and supervisor of Graduate Teaching Assistants. Fuller retired on June 30, 1991.

Some other aspects of William R. Fuller's career include the integration of the use of computers into calculus instruction in 1969. He was also the Chair of the faculty Senate during 1984-1985. Locally, he served on the Board of Directors of the Lafayette Symphony beginning in 1971. From 1973 to 1980 he was the Board’s president. Fuller was been a member of the Rotary Club and served as president during 1991-1992. He was a member of the Indiana chapter of Partners of the Americas and served as president from 1988-1990. Fuller was been the recipient of the Amoco Teaching Award (known as the Charles B. Murphy Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award post-1987) in 1975-1976. Fuller also received the "Medalha do Gaucho" from Rio Grande do Sulfor his work in the Indiana chapter of Partners of the Americas.


MSO 1, Purdue University Archives and Special Collections Oral History Program collection, Purdue University Archives and Special Collections, Purdue University Libraries.


MSF 137, William R. Fuller papers, Purdue University Archives and Special Collections, Purdue University Libraries.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

William R. Fuller papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSF 137
Scope and Contents Materials collected by Professor of Mathematics Emeritus William Fuller. Includes some materials relating to David Ross and the XR Fund, the history of the Purdue Research Foundation, a speech by David Sarnoff on the social impact of computers (1964), Founders Day and the 100th anniversary of the founding of Purdue University in 1969, teacher evaluation, televised instruction in college freshman mathematics, and notebooks of records of the Calculus Program for Engineers (1959-1976)....
Dates: 1865 - 1969