Shirley Mathis McBay



Born: May 4, 1935

Birthplace: Bainbridge, Georgia

B.A. Chemistry (1954), Paine College; M.S. Chemistry (1957), Atlanta University. In mathematics, she earned an M.S. Mathematics (1958), Atlanta University

Ph.D. Mathematics (1966) University of Georgia
thesis: The Homology Theory of Metabelian Lie Algebras; Advisor: Thomas Brahana

: President of QEM Network in Washington D.C.

 On the porch, Shirley Mathis and her mother sat in the old swing. "The math contest is between you and a high school student, isn't it?" her mother asked.

"Yes, but if I put my mind to it, I'll win." Shirley liked math. That was not the problem.

The swing moved quietly back and forth. "You know, Mama, sometimes the kids tease me. They don't see any sense in studying."

 "I know," her mother said.

"But learning things makes me feel good." Just saying it aloud made Shirley feel better.

"And will you feel good tomorrow when you win?" her mother asked.

Shirley began to smile again. "I'll feel great!"

The next day, Shirley's teacher had everything ready. Shirley stood on a chair at the chalkboard. That gave her the same space to work as the high school student, who was much taller.

The math problems were hard. Shirley did them all. When she finished, she looked around. She had finished first. Her teacher checked the answers. Shirley's were all correct!


When school was over, Shirley ran all the way home. She sat on the porch swing waiting for her mother to come from work.

As soon as Shirley Mathis saw her mother she ran to her. "I did it, Mama, I won!".

Shirley Mathis McBay earned her B.A. in Chemistry from Paine College (1954) and an M.S. in Chemistry from Atlanta University in 1957. In mathematics, she earned an M.S. from Atlanta University (1958), and a Ph.D. in Mathematics at the University of Georgia (1966). In 1972 she was Chief of the Division of Natural Sciences at Spelman College. After administering National Science Foundation programs for several years, Dr. McBay became. in 1980, Dean of Students at the Massachusettes Institute of Technology. In 1990 she reisgned this possition to become president of the Quality Education for Minorities Network

references: [Verheyden-Hilliard, 1985, pp. 8-13)] [MIT student Newspaper] []

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