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Message regarding William Lee Bynum

William & Mary Provost Peggy Agouris sent the following message to the campus community on Dec. 15, 2020. - Ed.

Dear Colleagues,

I write to share the news that William Lee Bynum, Professor of Computer Science, Emeritus, died on November 22, 2020, at Patriots Colony Convalescent Center from complications of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia.  He was born June 28, 1936 in Carlsbad, New Mexico to Charles William Wesley Bynum and Jeffie Lee Bynum. He is survived by his widow Mary Ann Bynum and sisters, Mollie Beth Bynum of Anchorage Alaska and Sallie Belle Bynum of Irving, Texas.

Bill Bynum joined the faculty of William & Mary as an Assistant Professor of Mathematics in 1969.  He had received his B.S. from the Texas Technological College in Mechanical Engineering and his M.S. and Ph D. degrees in Mathematics from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.  His conversion to pure mathematics was dramatic.  He moved from the practical engineering curriculum to a doctoral thesis titled Linear Functionals on an Analytic Function Space.  He retired from William & Mary in 2001 after 32 years of service, and continued to teach as an adjunct professor until 2006.

During his tenure at William & Mary, Professor Bynum has made notable contributions to the literature on Banach Spaces, but it was his skill in and love for teaching that impressed his students.  His teaching efforts covered most of the more theoretical branches of both the undergraduate and the graduate programs.  Professor Bynum has always taken on more than his share of the workload in the Department and for the university, including service as chair of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science from 1979 through 1983.  During that time he oversaw the thorough redirection of the department’s graduate program.

In the Fall of 1984, Professor Bynum was one of five mathematicians and four computer scientists who split from the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science to form the new Department of Computer Science.  He helped to establish the undergraduate and Master’s degree curricula in 1984 and that of the doctoral program in the following year.  He is probably best remembered by students for his valuable and popular courses in Robotics.  He took the leadership in moving the curriculum from DOS machines to the Linux environment and for his authorship of software that provides for the electronic delivery of students’ programs.

As the son of musical parents, Bill had a lifelong love of music.  He sang with the Williamsburg Choral Guild in Williamsburg.  In 1987, at the urging of Richard Carr, Williamsburg Arts Center Director, Bill organized the founding of the Chamber Music Society of Williamsburg (CMSW) and served as its first president.  The CMSW continues to present concerts at the Williamsburg Library at a low cost to the community.  Bill served as a head usher at the Bruton Parish Church Candlelight Concerts, as page turner at the 11:00 a.m. service of Bruton Parish Church, and sorted and filed the choir music.  He also served on the Bruton Parish Church Library Committee.

A service celebrating the life of William Lee Bynum was held earlier in December.  Donations in Professor Bynum’s memory can be made to Bruton Parish Church, P.O. Box 3520, Williamsburg, VA, 23187-3520 or The Chamber Music Society of Williamsburg, P.O. Box 1526, Williamsburg, VA 23187-1526.