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Evelyn Boyd Granville Biography

Produced on May 1, 1924, in Washington, D.C., Evelyn Boyd Granville became just the second black woman to earn a Ph.D. in math. Granville embarked on a 30-year career as a professor in 1967, and continued to support mathematical studies after retiring in the classroom.

African American mathematician and teacher Evelyn Boyd Granville was born on May 1, 1924, in Washington, D.C. Her dad, William, held various occupations, including custodian, chauffeur and messenger for the FBI; her mom, Julia, became a money inspector for the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing after splitting from her husband.

One of five valedictorians of her Dunbar High School senior class, Granville registered at Smith College in 1941 using a partial scholarship from Phi Delta Kappa, a national sorority of African American teachers. She graduated summa cum laude from Smith in 1945 with honours in math, and went to become just the second black woman to earn a Ph.D. in math, from Yale University in 1949 (after Euphemia Lofton Haynes, who earned a math Ph.D. in 1943).

After graduation, Granville spent a year as a research assistant and part time teacher at New York University Institute of Mathematics. Discovering that she loved teaching, she became an associate professor of math at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee.

In 1952, Granville briefly left teaching to be a mathematician for the National Bureau of Standards in Washington, D.C., her work centering on the analyzation and use of math toward the development of missile fuses. In 1956, Granville took a job with all the International Business Machines Corporation (IBM).

Her abilities in high demand, Granville moved to La in 1960 to perform research on computing orbits for the Computation and Information Reduction Centre of Space Technology. In 1962, Granville taken work on the Apollo Project at North American Aviation. She returned to IBM a year after, when the firm offered her a senior mathematician place using its Federal Systems Division.

Granville retired from teaching and moved from Los Angeles to Texas in 1984, but her retirement did not last long. She taught basic computer abilities to eighth grade pupils in the Van Independent School District after that year, and from 1985 to 1988 she was a professor of computer science and math at Texas College. She eventually retired in the classroom in 1997, but continued to encourage the need for math in academia and inspire others as a public speaker.

Evelyn Boyd Granville Biography