The son of a prominent chemist and academician, William H. Warner was born and grew up in Pittsburgh, where he graduated from Peabody High School at age 16. He then spent two years at Haverford College before transferring to the Carnegie Institute of Technology, eventually earning three degrees in mathematics: B.S. in 1950, M.S. in 1951, and Ph.D. in 1953.
Following a two-year postdoctoral position at Brown University, Bill came to the University of Minnesota as an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanics and Materials, which a few years later merged with Aeronautical Engineering. Immediately following the merger in 1959, the Aeronautical Engineering Building was remodeled to house the new department, at which time Bill moved into a new office Ń a university "home" that he has had for 36 years. There are surely very few offices at the University that are 36 years old and have had only one occupant!
Bill's research interests are very broad and have covered many branches of mechanics during his professional career. He has published research papers in the areas of plasticity, viscoelasticity, fluid mechanics and boundary layer theory, static and dynamic elastic stability, wave propagation in solids, and optimal structural design, and even one entitled "On Bus Schedules." The areas that have particularly intrigued him over the last few years are optimization methods in solid mechanics and approximation techniques for dynamical systems. BillŐs deep mathematical insight has served his colleagues and students well over the years his help and guidance have regularly been sought by faculty and students within and outside the Department.
Bill has played a significant role in the education of several generations of mechanicians. Fourteen students have written Ph.D. theses under his direction. Five became faculty members elsewhere, three became senior program managers at IBM, and several work at leading industrial and governmental research laboratories. More than thirty other students have received M.S. degrees under Bill's guidance.
Throughout his entire career at Minnesota, Bill has played a leadership role in both overseeing and teaching the undergraduate introductory mechanics courses. In 1959, he teamed with his departmental colleague Professor Lawrence Goodman to write vector- based statics and dynamics text books which were used for many years by a large number of universities. It was at about that time that the Department installed a closed circuit television system for the teaching of statics and dynamics at that time a revolutionary approach to classroom teaching at the University. Bill was one of the first television "stars" at the University, dressed in the mandatory blue shirt and (almost mandatory) bow tie.
Throughout his career Bill has been a tireless university citizen serving on numerous department, college, and university committees. His service to the department included lengthy appointments as the Director of Graduate Studies and the Director of Undergraduate Studies.
Bill Warner is a scholar with broad interests. The gentleman-usher Griffith in Shakespeare's King Henry the Eighth might well have been describing Bill when he remarks: "He was a scholar, and a ripe and good one exceedingly wise, fair-spoken and persuading."
He is an enthusiastic and knowledgeable devotee of Gilbert and Sullivan, and Bach and Beethoven in a more serious vein. He has been a life-long philatelist, and a part-time collector of bad puns. Bill is an avid reader with a broad spectrum of literary tastes. He claims that he is probably the only person to have read the whole of Dante's Divine Comedy on MTC bus trips between downtown Minneapolis and the University.
Bill and his wife Janet like to travel - an activity which Bill's retirement will allow them many more opportunities to pursue. His colleagues and students take this opportunity to express their appreciation of the role that he has played in the intellectual life of the Department and the University. We wish him and Janet a long, joyous, and exhilarating retirement.