The Fields Institute Turns Twenty-Five 170725 Final book with covers - Page 38

16 Carl Riehm who was enthusiastic about his proposal. I became the first Chairman of the Board, presumably because I was the oldest of the three of us, but my tenure in that position did not last for very long. Doug Wright suggested Peter Nicholson for that role. None of us had heard of Peter before, but he had a PhD in Mathematics (from Stanford) and he was known to be politically savvy. A perfect choice! In the meantime we also recruited Louis Nirenberg (Courant Institute, NYU) and David Mumford (Harvard) as members of the Board. During this period, there were several planning meetings. At one such meeting at our house, various names for the proposed new institute were discussed. Should it be called the Southern Ontario Institute for Mathematics? The Ontario Mathematics Institute? My wife, Elaine McKinnon Riehm, jumped up and suggested that the institute be named for John Charles Fields, who had been born in Hamilton, taught for over three decades at the University of Toronto, and moreover was known throughout the mathematical world for having established the Fields Medal. So the nascent Fields Institute was off to a flying start!