UF Named Facilities
Thomas M. Simpson Hall
Thomas Marshall Simpson, became the head of the Department of Mathematics after his predecessor, Herbert Keppel died from the Spanish influenza epidemic. From 1918 to 1951, Simpson's own love of classic academic pursuits permeated the department and the university. Concurrent with his term as head of the department, he also served as Dean of the Graduate School from 1939 to 1951.
Born in 1881 in Addison, Maine, Simpson attended the Boston Latin School and received a scholarship to Harvard where he graduated in 1905 with a double major in mathematics and physics. Simpson earned his master's degree and Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Wisconsin at Madison where he shared an office with the likes of George Birkhoff. Soon after completing his doctorate, Simpson accepted the position as head of the Department of Mathematics in 1918. Like many of the departments at UF, initially, he was a staff of one.
Despite world wars and the Depression during his 33 year career at UF, Simpson managed to enhance and grow the department. He brought prestige to the department and the university by hiring renowned professors such as Zareh Pirenian and Dr. Franklin Kokomoor. He expanded course offerings and degrees as well. He was active in many professional honor societies and wrote numerous text books including a collaborative effort with Pirenian entitled "The Mathematics of Finance," a popular text that was translated into foreign languages. Twenty years after arriving on campus, Simpson served as president of the University of Florida Chapter of Sigma Xi, a scientific honorary society. He also served as chair and vice-chair for the Southeastern Section of the Mathematical Association of America
A man of the classics, Simpson loved to write and share his poetry and continued to pursue language studies that included Russian. After retiring from the Department of Mathematics in 1951, Simpson was invited to participate in a Ford Foundation program at Henderson State Teacher's College in Arkansas. He continued teaching in Arkansas and in Tennessee until his death in 1963, at the age of 82.
Simpson Hall opened in 1961, dedicated in 1962, to house 225 students.It is part of the Graham/Lakeside Residence Area, located near Ben Hill Griffin Stadium and the Stephen C. O'Connell Center.