Joan P. Behr
Merlyn Behr taught for 23 years at NIU before retiring and moving to Baton Rouge in 1992 to continue his research and teaching at Louisiana State University. He was born in 1932 in Rock Rapids, Iowa. After graduating from Rock Rapids High School he served four years in the U. S. navy during the Korean War. Behr earned a bachelor’s degree at Iowa State University in 1958 and a master’s degree at the University of Illinois in 1961. In 1967, he received a Ph.D. degree from Florida State University. Behr joined NIU’s mathematics faculty in 1969. “Merlyn Behr was a major figure in the study of how children learn mathematics,” said faculty colleague Robert Wheeler. “He had an outstanding international reputation for his work in this area, which extended over several decades…In addition, he was a wonderfully kind human being and a very inspiring colleague.” William D. Blair, the former chair of NIU’s mathematical sciences department, notes that Behr published an extensive list of papers, books, chapters, and articles that he delivered innumerable lectures and presentations here and abroad, and that his record of National Science Foundation funding was truly remarkable. “He was a friendly, warm, affable individual,” Blair says. “He was also the sort of person you could always go to and talk to and get good solid advice. He was always there if you needed someone to listen to you.” This scholarship has been established in memory of Dr. Merlyn J. Behr by Joan P. Behr.