The Marjorie Lee Browne Colloquium was established in 1999 in the Department of Mathematics in observance of Martin Luther King day. The colloquium brings a distinguished speaker to campus to present a talk that highlights their research but also addresses the issue of diversity in the sciences. It honors the first African American woman to receive a Ph.D. in Mathematics from UM.
Marjorie Lee Browne received her B.S. in mathematics from Howard University (1935). She received her M.S. in mathematics from the University of Michigan in 1939, making her one of the first few African American women with a graduate mathematics degree. Ms. Browne taught at Wiley College while continuing graduate work during the summers. She received a Ph.D. in mathematics from Michigan in 1950, making her Michigan’s first known African American woman mathematics Ph.D. recipient. Her thesis, “On the One Parameter Subgroups of Certain Topological and Matrix Groups”, was directed by Professor G. Y. Rainich.
Dr. Browne taught at North Carolina Central University from 1949 until her death in 1979. She was the only faculty member with a Ph.D. for twenty five years, and a strong leader. She chaired the department from 1951 until 1970, supervised ten Masters theses, and inspired a generation of talented students to continue in mathematics. Dr. Browne also had a deep interest in continuing education for secondary school teachers. Under her leadership, the NSF funded a summer institute for secondary school teachers of mathematics for thirteen years, for which Dr. Browne also authored four sets of lecture notes.
Source: Patricia C. Kenschaft “Black Women in Mathematics in the United States,” American Mathematical Monthly, vol. 88 (1981), 592-604.
2023 Marjorie Lee Browne Colloquium
Date: Monday, January 16, 2023
Room: 1324 East Hall, 530 Church Street
Time: 4:00 pm
View recording of talk here
Speaker: Steven Kahn
Professor of Mathematics, Wayne State University (WSU)
Co-Founder, WSU Math Corps
Director, WSU Center for Excellence and Equity in Mathematics
Title: Math Corps: Social Justice Through Loving and Believing in Kids--and a few Equations
For over 30 years, the Wayne State University Math Corps—through summer camp and Saturday programs—has been working to provide Detroit’s children with the kinds of educational and lifetime opportunities that all children should have. Over the past several years, the Math Corps at U(M) has been doing the same, serving children from Ypsilanti. Rooted in social justice and based on a philosophy of “loving and believing in kids”, the Math Corps has achieved dramatic results and garnered national recognition and widespread acclaim. This talk will examine some of the principles and practices that drive the program, and that have been the most responsible for its success. Specific examples to be highlighted include: the “kids teaching kids” model of teaching and learning, the dedication to building a community that is centered, above all, around kindness, the belief in the importance of humor in all of our daily lives (“Three mathematicians walk into a bar...”), and most importantly, the absolutely unwavering vision that the kids in the Math Corps are all leaders in the fight for a better and more just world.