Ben Wehrung was born in Owensboro, Kentucky, where he attended Sutton Elementary. During his first two years, Ben was in a class of nearly 50 first, second, and third grade students. At this young age, his mind had been shaped into believing that counting to MM by V's was GREAT FUN. In the middle of his third grade year while other students his age were adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing with two and three digit numbers, Ben was allowed to learn mathematics with the fourth graders. Of course, this meant that he would be challenged beyond his years to add, subtract, multiply, and divide using, dare I say it, four and sometimes even five digit numbers. What a tremendous step for such a young boy. It should be noted that there were other signs that Ben was a little more disturbed than most. During his early years, Ben found propelling himself into the air by way of a bamboo pole quite exhilarating. It did, however, lead to Ben winning his first Olympic Gold medal in the Pole Vault in the Cub Scout Olympics held at the Nine-Ten Center.
During the Spring of 1977, which I understand is a time before most of you were born, Ben and his parents moved to Bowling Green, Kentucky, the home of the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers and the General Motors Corvette Plant. Here, he continued his education at the respected McNeill Elementary. It was here that Ben earned his first, dare I say it, "D" in mathematics. (Please say it is not so.) Oh, it is true, but Ben quickly picked himself up off the floor of this crushing defeat. He later graduated from McNeill and went on to Bowling Green Junior High School, where Ben was introduced formally to Algebra. Ben had found his place. In this classroom, he could sit and ponder on such things as the relationship that exists between the sides of a right triangle.
After finishing his one and only year at Bowling Green Junior High, Ben entered Bowling Green High as a member of its first Freshman Class. Mr. Houston, the football coach and Ben's Algebra II teacher, tried to convince Ben to play quarterback for his Junior Varsity squad. The coach quickly came to the conclusion that this was not in the cards. Although Ben did not mind contact sports, it was obvious he was not well suited for a game where the primary goal is to hit often and hard. Ben did become an active member of the Math Club, Band, and Chorus. He ran Cross Country in order to stay in shape for BASKETBALL. But, without fail, every Spring, Ben returned to the track where he continued to Pole Vault. Needless to say, he had graduated from the bamboo stick he had used during his Cub Scout years.
One day during his Senior year, Ben was making his way with friends to Birmingham, Alabama. Leaving a snow storm in Kentucky and Tennessee to find a beautiful sunny place called Samford University, Ben quickly decided that he could continue this love of the Pole Vault nearly year round in such an environment. Thus, with the intention of getting joint degrees from Samford University and the Engineering School at Georgia Tech, Ben enrolled at Samford University. With his growing interest in Religion, he switched his double major in Engineering and Physics to Religion and Mathematics. (What was with that?)
Upon graduation, Ben found himself faced with the decision of attending Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, an institution that was increasingly becoming very conservative, and Auburn University, a place where Ben could grow in both the areas of Mathematics and Religion. Ben was introduced to Analysis by Johnny Henderson. It was in Johnny's class that Ben was being shaped into the Mathematician that he hopes one day to become. It did not take long before a Masters Degree turned into a Doctorate of Philosophy. (Isn't eight years a long time?)
It was while attending Auburn First Baptist that Ben was introduced to Lisa, a lovely young schoolteacher who stole his heart. Following a glorious IRON BOWL victory for Auburn University, Ben proposed. In the Spring of 1998, Ben and Lisa were wed the day after Ben received his Ph.D. in Mathematics. Then three weeks later, they loaded a small moving van with all of their possessions and made their way to the Rose Capital of the World, Tyler, Texas. It is here that Ben found a home at the University of Texas at Tyler. Ironically, having attended Bowling Green High as a member of the first freshman class, Ben began his career with the first freshman class to enter the University of Texas at Tyler.
Soon after settling into a newly built home, Ben and Lisa decided that it was time for children. A couple of years later, their prayers were answered. Both their hearts and their home were filled with the births of three little girls. In a moment, life for Ben and Lisa changed forever. As the girls begin to grow, there is a desire yearning within Ben and Lisa to find a home more firmly located in the southeastern United States where they would be close to both family and friends. With Ben finding a new position among the mathematics faculty at the storied Jacksonville University, this search leads them to the growing community of Jacksonville, Florida, where they recently have found a new place they call home.
There you go; everything you ever, and never, wanted to know about the life and mystery of the one they call Ben Wehrung.