UM to Honor Pioneering African-American Mathematician

March 09, 2018

Gloria Hewitt, who taught math at UM for 38 years, became one of the first African-American women nationally to receive a doctorate in mathematics.MISSOULA – The University of Montana will honor Gloria Hewitt, one of the first African-American women in the United States to receive a doctorate in mathematics and UM professor emeritus, on Monday, March 19.

UM’s Department of Mathematical Sciences will host a colloquium in the Math Building at 3 p.m. and a reception recognizing Hewitt in the Turner Hall Dell Brown Room at 4 p.m.

The colloquium will feature a keynote by Edray Herber Goins, president of the National Association of Mathematicians, titled “Yes, Even You Can Bend It Like Beckham,” and will use sports to explain both experimental and mathematical analyses.

Hewitt taught at UM for 38 years and served as chair of the math department from 1995 to 1999. She served on numerous national committees and panels, including the Mathematical Association of America, the National Science Foundation, the National Security Agency, the College Board and the National Academy of Sciences.

During her UM tenure, Hewitt raised more than $500,000 in gifts to endow new programs supporting undergraduate and graduate mathematics students. She received a 1999 UM Academic Administrator award for her work and was profiled in the 1998 book “Notable Women in Mathematics.” She retired from UM in 1999, and the Montana University System Board of Regents named her a professor emeritus.

To celebrate Hewitt’s many accomplishments and strong leadership in mathematics, UM and the University of Washington are creating scholarships in her name. Both will be formally announced at the reception following the colloquium. Fundraising is underway for UM’s Gloria C. Hewitt Graduate Scholarship in Mathematical Sciences, which provides support for master’s and doctoral students in mathematics with a preference for students from underrepresented minorities.

To support the scholarship, call Marci Bozeman, senior director of development in UM’s College of Humanities and Sciences, at 406-243-2646 or email marci.bozeman@umontana.edu. For more information on the event, call Emily Stone, chair of the UM Department of Mathematical Sciences, at 406-243-5365 or email emily.stone@umontana.edu.

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Contact: Marci Bozeman, senior director of development, UM College of Humanities and Sciences, 406-243-2646, marci.bozeman@supportum.org; Emily Stone, chair, UM Department of Mathematical Sciences, 406-243-5365, emily.stone@umontana.edu.