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William F. Donoghue, Jr.

Professor of Mathematics, Emeritus




After completing his doctoral studies at the University of Wisconsin, William F. Donoghue, Jr. embarked on an academic career spent in the United States (University of Kansas, Johns Hopkins University, New York University, and Michigan State University). In 1965 he joined the Department of Mathematics at UCI. As a charter member of the faculty he was one of the small group of foresighted scholars who recognized the potential of UCI—a small physical plant established in a huge, almost empty, campus. He took the plunge. When he retired he saw his early confidence fully justified in a thriving academic environment of a mature university. His contributions as a teacher and scholar (his bibliography consists of numerous valuable papers and several important monographs) played no small part in the success of UCI. While at UCI, he supervised the successful doctoral efforts of H. Vasudeva (1970) and M. Garbutt (1973). He served as mentor, along with Gerhard Kalisch and me, for the younger functional analysts during the early days of the Department of Mathematics.


Under the aegis of a Guggenheim Fellowship, he spent 1958 and 1959 in Sweden. He also worked for four months at the University of Paris in 1962, and took a sabbatical leave at the University of Lund during 1972 and 1973.


An outstanding feature of his intellect and personality was his impeccable taste and judgment about mathematicians and mathematics, politicians and politics, historians and history, composers and (classical) music, writers and literature. He had a working knowledge of Swedish and French (picked up during his travels as a scholar and a WWII soldier). At social occasions where he was present, one was always assured of interesting conversation, a gentle touch with his company, penetrating insights, and the lightest humor. As guest or host at the table he shone. In particular, it was a pleasure to joust with him in quoting our favorite, sweet Will. Before he married, he felt a need to reciprocate the hospitality previously extended by his friends. Hence, periodically during his bachelor days, he reserved an entire dining room at a good restaurant where he played the generous host to those whose company he valued.


His joining UCI more or less coincided with the appointment of Grace Koo as principal secretary of the Department of Mathematics. They were married in 1974, whereupon he immersed himself in the (Korean) community and culture of which she was a part. Her traceable ancestry extended 1,000 years into the past. He delighted in his mother-in-law’s precept that the man in the family was right in all matters of import. But his joy masked deep affection and respect for Grace. He vigorously encouraged her personal development and treasured her success as an artist and woman of education.


Although I recommended William’s appointment and thoroughly enjoyed our friendship, I left in 1971 and for some time our contacts were few. Symbolic of our shared interests and enthusiasm is the manner of our meeting when my wife and I returned to Orange County to spend our retirement. William and Grace were emerging from the Newport Beach Public Library as we approached. Characteristically, William was toting some fresh withdrawal from the more serious holdings of the collection. Our renewed acquaintance led to regular visits and lunches, which were abruptly and sadly ended by William’s passing.


Bernard R. Gelbaum