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Can You Guess That Grad?

Who was the first African American woman to earn a doctorate in mathematics from U-M? See the answer below.
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After earning her bachelor’s from Howard University, MARJORIE LEE BROWNE, MS’39, PHD’50, taught for a year at Gilbert Academy in New Orleans, then enrolled in U-M to earn her master’s. She began teaching at Wiley College in Marshall, Texas, and used her summers to work on her doctorate at U-M. In 1947, Browne became a teaching fellow at U-M and began attending full-time until completing her degree in 1949 (the graduation ceremony was held in February 1950.) She was the first African American woman to earn the degree from U-M., and one of the earliest in the U.S. (joining Euphemia Haynes from the Catholic University of America in 1943 and Evelyn Boyd Granville from Yale in 1949). Browne went on to a distinguished career at North Carolina Central University.

Since 1999, LSA’s Department of Mathematics has hosted the Marjorie Lee Browne Colloquium, where a guest speaker discusses both their professional research and the topic of diversity in the sciences. The department also offers the Marjorie Lee Browne Scholars Program, which provides opportunities for graduate fellowship funding and teaching experience.

For a list of other notable U-M grads, visit

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