The first Ph.D. Program at an HBCU

or a History of

Mathematics at Howard University

A History

graduates to earn a Ph.D.

Ph.D.'s awarded at Howard

A History

Perhaps the first african american to study graduate mathematics, Kelly Miller, was appointed as Professor of Mathematics at Howard University in 1890. The first, Elbert Frank Cox, and second, Dudley W. Woodard, african americans to earned a Ph.D. were members of the faculty of Howard University in 1929 (with Woodard as a dean). The Master of Science Degree program at Howard University was begun in 1929, the year Cox was hired. Woodard and Cox managed gather many of the early Black Ph.D.'s; e.g., George H. Butcher, Jr. Such strength guaranteed Howard's mathematical program as an elite institution for mathematics studies among the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HCBUs).

David Blackwell was hired by Howard in 1944 and became chairman of Howard's math department in 1947 and hired William W. S. Claytor. From 1947-1951, Jeremiah Certaine was appointed Assistant Professor of Mathematics. By the time Blackwell left, in 1954, Howard's faculty for U. C. Berkeley, he had published 20 papers.

Elbert Cox was Chair of Mathematics from 1957 to 1961.In 1972, Howard University managed to attract one of the best young african american research mathematicians, James A. Donaldson. Under Donaldson's guidance, the Howard University Mathematics Department underwent a transformation ushering in a strong research program that justified the development and inauguration of the first and only Ph.D. degree program at an African American University. Mathematician/ Physicist/ Nuclear Engineer J. Ernest Wilkins was, at the time, a member of Howard's Physics Department. He also helped advise the setting up of a Ph.D. program in Mathematics.

In 1976, Howard University established the first (and still, the only) Ph.D. program in Mathematics at a Historically Black University and College. Raymond Johnson also joined Howard's faculty that year and the next to aid in the development of the program. By 1984 there were seven graduates of this program. program has become a major producer in America of African American holders of a Ph.D. degree in Mathematics. At present, 1999, Niel Hindman, on the faculty of Howard, has had more black Ph.D. students than anyone else in the U.S.


Graduates to earn a Ph.D.

A (partial) list of the graduates of Howard University's undergraduate program who have gone on to earn a Ph.D. in Mathematics (at another institution).

Marjorie Lee Browne (the first African American woman to earn a Ph.D. in Mathematics)

Nöel Bryson

George H. Butcher, jr.

William A. Hawkins, jr.

Eleanor Dawley Jones

Hampton Wright

Ph.D.'s awarded at Howard

A (partial) list of persons to obtain a Ph.D. in mathematics from Howard University. The Ph.D. advisor is after the year. Current employment is after the parenthesis.

Abdulkeni Zekeria (1984,)

Dennis Davenport (1987, Neil Hindman) Miami at Ohio

Hanson Umoh (1987, Neil Hindman) Delaware State Univerity

Abdulcadir Issa (1988, ?) North Carolina A&T

Amha Tume Lisan (1988, Neil Hindman) Louisiana State University

Vernise Steadman (1988, ?)

Leon Woodson (Combinatorics, Louis Shapiro) Morgan State University

Halima Ali (1993,?) Hampton University

Patty Anthony (1994, Neil Hindman) National Security Agency

Gregory Smith (1994, Neil Hindman) Norfolk State University

Dan Tang (1997, Neil Hindman) University of Lefbridge (in Alberta Canada)

Asamoah Nkwanta (1997 Louis Shapiro) Morgan State University

Elaine Terry (1997, Neil Hindman) St. Josephs College

Burns, Shea (2000, Neil Hindman) North Carolina A & T University

Jeffery Flemming (2001, Stanley Einstein-Matthews) Purdue University

Lynnell Matthews (2001, Shapiro) Pennsylvania State University

Jillian McLeod (2001,Neil Hindman) Hope College

Iris Gugu Moche (2002, Neil Hindman)

Gabriel Ayine (2002, Stanley Einstein-Matthews and Joshua Leslie)

Sean Brooks (2003, J.A. Donaldson and M. Mahmood)

Irene Moshesh (2006, Neil Hindman)

Chase Adams (2006, Neil Hindman)


Link to the Howard University Mathematics Department:

Observe that Howard University Professor Neil Hindman (pictured below with ex-student Jillian McLeod) has been Ph.D. advisor to more African Americans than anyone else in the world.

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