Brief History

Edgar DeCou was born in Thamesville, Ontario on July 13, 1868.  In 1902 he became a Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oregon until his retirement in 1939, serving as Professor Emeritus until 1944.  Dr. DeCou was an early NCTM member, and a man of many accomplishments. 

In February, 1939, as he neared the 71st year of his life, Dr. DeCou contacted a group of Portland-area math teachers with a proposal for the formation of a local chapter of NCTM.  The petition was signed by nine of the attendees remaining after the Sunday afternoon meeting.  The following spring at a conference at Reed College, Dr. DeCou presented the charter to Lesta Hoel of Grant High School, the new President of the organization called the Portland Council of Teachers of Mathematics.  With membership in the Council expanding beyond the metro area, the Council voted in 1943 to rename the group Oregon Council of Teachers of Mathematics.  That actual petition with nine signatories remains in the OCTM archives today, written on Dr. DeCou’s personal stationary.

Any of us, who have ever attended an OCTM conference or workshop, received an OCTM scholarship, implemented a lesson from TOMT, or simply gathered to enjoy the fellowship and support from fellow OCTM members, remain greatly indebted to Dr. DeCou’s vision, today.

  • Many thanks go to Jim Specht, former OCTM Historian, for the contents of this introduction