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Math Department Anniversaries

book stack

            We celebrate in 2023 the 75th anniversary of the creation of our PhD program. The first PhD in mathematics at UGA was awarded to William Peeples in 1951, and since that time the department graduated about 260 new PhDs in mathematics. Shirley McBay (1935-2021) was the first woman to be awarded a PhD in our department in 1966. She was also the first African-American to receive a PhD in any field at UGA. Zerotti Woods (UGA PhD 2019) interviewed Dr. McBay in 2018. The Science Library was named the Shirley Mathis McBay Science Library in December 2021 and was officially dedicated on October 7, 2022.

            The book Mathematician and Administrator, Shirley Mathis McBay, ends with the following quote from Dr. McBay to young men and women who come to ask for her advice: "Study hard, whether your friends do or not. And always believe in yourself. Remember, if you don't try you'll never know if you can succeed".

            The year 2018 was the 100th anniversary of UGA opening its doors to women. In 2021 UGA celebrated the 60th anniversary of desegregation. Among the first three African American first year students to enroll at the University of Georgia and graduate four years later was Kerry Rushin Miller (BS ’66), a mathematics major. Miller went on to a career in telecommunications. She was the second African American woman hired into Atlanta’s Western Electric regional engineering headquarters and retired after 29 years from Southern Bell management in Charlotte, N.C. A scholarship has been established by the Department of Mathematics in honor of Mrs. Kerry Rushin Miller.

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