Endowment Honors Mathematician Bill Guy

Posted on in Mathematics
bill-guyDr. Bill Guy, perhaps one of the most well known math professors at the university, retired this past spring after 64 years of teaching.

Guy is a legendary figure on campus and has received numerous teaching honors, from the Student Association Teaching Award to his inaugural membership in the Academy of Distinguished Teachers.

To honor Guy’s legacy, the Department of Mathematics is creating the William (Bill) T. Guy, Jr. Endowment in Mathematics. Alumna Marilyn Tipton Halpin (B.A. ’69, M.A. ‘71) and her husband Bob Halpin have generously pledged $25,000 as the lead investment for the endowment, which will ultimately need to reach $300,000 to sponsor a professorship.

“This gift is intended to serve as a catalyst for others to add to this endowment in Dr. William Guy’s honor,” says Marilyn Halpin. “I would like to see the endowment ultimately grow through matching donations. An endowed professorship would empower the university to continue to recruit outstanding faculty in the Department of Mathematics.”

In the meantime, endowment funds will be used in various ways to support students, faculty, visiting scholars and programs in the department.

Lee H Clippard

Lee is the Director of Communications for the college. He holds a B.S. in Biology from UT and an M.S. in Entomology from UW-Madison. He lives in East Austin with his partner, their dog, and a garden full of plants and bugs.


  • Guest
    Fred Bakenhus Thursday, June 10, 2010

    Dr. Bill Guy, Jr. was one of the best mathematicians to grace the halls of UT.
    He was THE best math professor. A true teacher. A true friend and mentor to many.
    He is also one of the best human beings I have ever met.
    Fred Bakenhus, Ph.D. (1991)
    P.S. He was on my dissertation committee.

  • Guest
    Nasr Ullah Saturday, July 03, 2010

    Dr. Guy is simply the best teacher overall.

    I remember when starting UT in 1983 -- I was told by a graduating senior take any course with Dr. Guy when I could. I took two courses and I never regretted it. He can make the most complicated topics simple and understandable by all.

    I have not come across any teacher in my life and bachelors, masters and PhD courses at UT better, more likable, or more knowledgeable than Dr. Guy. I was hoping that my nephews and nieces would get a chance to take Dr. Guy but he is now retired.

    Wish you all the best Dr. Guy. You have impacted so many generations of scholars !!

  • Guest
    Oye Talabi Thursday, August 26, 2010

    I was thinking back on my classroom experience at UT Austin, trying to remember the teachers I had and the one name that stood out unequivocally was Dr. Guy. As most other students will profess, in my humble option, he is by far the best professor I ever had during my sojorn at UT. I'm glad his dedication to teaching and more importantly to the development of students has been well recognized and rewarded. Thank Dr. Guy, if only you knew how much impact you've made directly and indirectly to the lives of many. May the Good Lord continue to bless you...

    Oye Talabi, BBA Math(Class of '01)

  • Guest
    Tanmay Desai Monday, January 24, 2011

    Dr. William Guy, Jr. was the best Math professors I ever met. He kindled in me a love for Math, and his teaching style was unique. I was never tired of his class. He continues to inspire me. May all his dreams come true!

  • Guest
    Stephanie Reece Tuesday, May 24, 2011

    Unfortunately, Dr. Guy passed away last night.

  • Guest
    Dan Ryan Tuesday, November 29, 2011

    Wow, what sadness I feel at his passing, but what a great professor he was. Without a doubt my favorite professor during my time at UT.

    He will be missed.

    Dan Ryan ('95)

  • Guest
    Dixon Wall Coulbourn Monday, May 25, 2015

    12:25 AM Sat., 23 May 2015
    Dr. Bill Guy

    I had several courses from Dr. Bill Guy in the UT Math Department. My favorite memory was in an exam that had about 4 questions. The first question had a fairly obvious answer, but it wasn’t like Dr. Guy to give anything away, so I went on to the rest of the quiz. I worked the other problems to my satisfaction, and then returned to the first problem. Then, my subconscious mind was ready, and I had a flash of insight, and came up with what I thought was an ingenious answer. I wish I could remember the question, but another thing about Dr. Guy. He taught such abstruse matter, that it was hard to get graders, who could make more money doing something more interesting at one of the research labs. It was maybe a legend, but i heard that he had piles of ungraded quizzes on the back seat of his Volkswagen bug. He was the head of the department, but he was probably miscast, as he was a fantastic teacher.
    Another memory, was from when I took potential theory, and couldn’t do all of the homework. I should have dropped the course, but got an F. Two years later, when he taught the course again, I audited it and was finally able to do the homework. One day, I presented a sheaf of papers to him, and he said, “Well. Coulbourn, you’re very thorough. Slow, but thorough.” But he never changed my grade. The funny thing about that was I later used the theory, along with a book I got from the Air Academy, via Half-Price Books, Fundamentals of Astrodynamics, to calculate the forces between the Sun, Earth and Moon. I wrote a 100-step program to calculate the orbital parameters. I think I got it right, but I didn’t have a grader, as it was self-inflicted. I started working on it in 2007 and finished it in 2013. The program is still on my HP 35S programmable Calculator.
    Another thing about Dr. Guy. He was a Texas Aggie, like me, except he got a PhD from Cal Tech, and my MSEE was from UT.
    When Dr. Guy was on travel, he would get Dr. Yett to sub. for him. I knew a man who was at UT Rec. Sports with me, Fowler (Surname I can’t remember). When my friend had Dr. Yett, and he called the roll, and got to Fowler, he said, “You may be ‘Fowler,’ but I am Fowler Yett.”

    1 AM

  • Guest
    Dixon W. Coulbourn Saturday, June 13, 2015

    Well, I did find the quiz problem I was trying to remember. It was in a letter I wrote to Dr. William T. Guy trying to get the F in potential Theory upgecganged. It was "What is the equation for all of the straight lines in the X-Y plane. The answer was d^2Y/dX^2 = 0. I think I might have interchanged X and Y, but that leaves out any horizontal lines, as the slope, m is in the denominator when one solves for X in terms of Y, X = Y/m-b/m, starting with Y=m*X + b.

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