Frank Harary was born in New York City on March 11th, 1921, the oldest child of immigrant parents from Syria and Palestine. He was a first generation Jewish American son. Blessed with the great good fortune of extraordinary mental faculties he also had a deep thirst for knowledge and a lifetime love of learning.
Frank had a beautiful spirit! He had a great j'oie de vivre which overflowed naturally and spontaneously. He had a sweet heart and gentle disposition. He had a deep and abiding love for his mathematics. He was a free spirit, who walked to the beat of a different drummer. He loved the arts and attended theater and concert performances with great appreciation. He was fun loving, had a great sense of humor and was a delight to be around.
He obtained his Bachelor's and Master's degrees from Brooklyn College in 1941 and 1945 respectively and his doctorate from University of California at Berkeley in 1948. He held a faculty position in Mathematics at University of Michigan from 1948-1986 where he was also a member of Institute of Social Research from 19?5-1982. He was a Distinguished Professor (and later Distinguished Professor Emeritus) in the Computer Science Department at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces from 1987 until the time he passed away.
Dr. Harary was widely recognized as the "father" of modern graph theory, a discipline of mathematics he helped found, popularize, and revitalize. An author of numerous books and articles, his book "Graph Theory", published in 1969, is a modern classic that helped define, develop, direct and shape the field of modern graph theory. It is one of the most cited and influential scholarly works in modern scientific literature. Dr. Harary taught what were the first graph theory and combinatorial theory courses ever in 1955 at University of Michigan. He was also the founder of the Journals of Combinatorial Theory and of Graph Theory and served on the editorial boards of many more. During his long and productive career, Dr. Harary authored/coauthored more than 700 scholarly papers in areas as diverse as Anthropology, Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Geography, Linguistics, Music, Physics, Political Science, Psychology, Social Science and of course Mathematics which brought forth the usefulness of Graph Theory in scientific thought. Dr. Harary guided 16 Ph.D. students many of whom have gone on to be distinguished scholars themselves. Dr. Harary was a recipient of many national and international honors including the Distinguished Alumnus and Lifetime Achievement awards from Brooklyn College and honorary degrees from University of Aberdeen, Scotland (D.Sc. in Mathematics), University of Lund, Sweden (Fil. Dr. in Social Sciences), University of Exeter, UK (D.Sc. in Computer Science), University of Macedonia, Thessaliniki, Greece ($/Delta/rho$ of Economics and Social Sciences) and University of Louisville (Ph.D. in Mathematics). Dr. Harary was also a fellow at Oxford (Wolfson College 1973-74) and Cambridge (Churchhill College 1980-81) Universities and an honorary fellow of Indian National Academy of Sciences and Vice-President of the Calcutta Mathematical Society. Dr. Harary loved to travel all over the globe to spread the gospel of graph theory - he delivered over a thousand conferences and invited lectures in more than 87 countries in four different languages. Dr. Harary was a true scholar with a genuine love for graph theory which was an endless source of new discoveries, beauty, curiosity, surprises and joy for him till the very end of his life.
For his numerous contributions to the field, Dr. Harary was fondly referred to as "Mr. Graph Theory" by his colleagues, peers and students.
Frank passed away at Memorial Hospital on January 4, 2005. He is survived by four of his children, Miriam, Shoshana, Tom and Joel. Two of his daughters, Judy and Chaya, predeceased him. He will be greatly missed by all of us.