Published on January 26, 2018 by William Nunnelley  

Bruce W. Atkinson, retired former chair of the mathematics and computer science department at Samford University, died Jan. 24. He was chair of the department from 1995 until 2016, when he retired.

Services for Atkinson will be Monday, Jan. 29, at Vestavia Hills Baptist Church. Visitation will be at 1 p.m. and the service at 2 p.m.

Atkinson, in a retirement article in the university magazine, Seasons, said one of the highlights of his Samford tenure was "hiring the people that now make up the full-time members of the department." He described it as "a congenial department" that worked well as a team.

Computers represented the most significant change that occurred in his field over the years, Atkinson told the magazine. "The use of computers in the mathematics classroom essentially did not exist in our department, with the exception of elementary statistics. Now, by the end of the senior year, many of our students have learned to work with the computer algebra system Mathematica and have made it an integral part of their senior paper and presentation."

Prior to joining Samford, Atkinson taught at Palm Beach Atlantic University during 1985-95, the University of Florida in 1983-85 and the University of Southern California during 1980-83. He held the B.A. degree from Pomona College and the Ph.D. from the University of California, San Diego.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.