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I got a PhD in Mathematics in 1986 and soon after I got interested in writing an undergraduate textbook in Linear Algebra, (which I have made available on the web with the LateX source). I spent many hours fussing with the symbols and was unable to make it look right. I figured that I needed a program that knows how to make the stuff as readable as possible, and obviously that led me to TeX.
In the course of using the system I became incredibly impressed by the community. I wanted to help out so when Robin complained one day about the lack of USA CTAN mirrors, I offered to set one up. I eventually took over the main American node of CTAN, one of the core servers. I'm enjoying that work a great deal.