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Frederick A. Valentine

Professor of Mathematics, Emeritus

Los Angeles



Frederick A. Valentine was born in Portland, Oregon on May 8, 1911. He was awarded his bachelor’s degree by Reed College in Portland in 1933. From there he went to The University of Chicago, where he was awarded his Ph.D. in mathematics in 1937 with a dissertation entitled “The Problem of Lagrange with Differential Inequalities as Added Side Conditions,” written under the direction of Gilbert A. Bliss. Fred was a University Fellow there from 1934 to 1936.


Fred married his first wife, Edith, in 1934. In 1936 they went to Knoxville, where Fred had been appointed instructor of mathematics at the University of Tennessee. In 1937, he began his career at UCLA as an instructor of mathematics. He was promoted to assistant professor in 1942, to associate professor in 1949, and to professor in 1955. He became professor emeritus in 1976.


Fred’s research covered several areas of mathematics, from differential equations to geometry to applied mathematics. In addition to his dissertation, which was published as part of a book by The University of Chicago Press, Fred published around 40 research and expository articles. Most of his work was in the area of convexity. His 1964 book Convex Sets, published by McGraw-Hill, is a classic. It was reprinted by Krieger Publishing in 1976 and was published in a German translation by the Hochschultaschenbücher-Verlag, Bibliographisches Institut, Mannheim in 1968.


Fred was an excellent teacher of undergraduate and graduate students. Nine students received their Ph.D.s under his direction. In the UCLA Mathematics Department, Fred served terms as graduate advisor and as vice chair. He also served on various departmental and campuswide committees.


Edith passed away in 1969. Fred, who loved to travel, met the woman who was to become his second wife, G. Laurie Meiring, while on sabbatical leave in South Africa. They were married in 1972. Fred died on November 1, 2002 after several years of ill health. He is survived by Laurie, by three daughters from his first marriage (Virginia, Judy and Patricia), and by Laurie’s children from her first marriage.


Mathematics aside, Fred is remembered for his gentlemanly demeanor, his love of fly-fishing (especially on the Rogue River in Oregon), and his great accomplishments as a postal historian. His knowledge of the history and development of the western United States was encyclopedic. His collection of postage stamps, covers, and old letters filled over 50 volumes and reached back to the 14th century.


Robert J. Blattner

Philip C. Curtis, Jr.

Robert Steinberg