McBay, Shirley

McBay, Shirley , 1935-2021, American mathematician and educator, b. Bainbridge, Ga.,as Shirley Ann Mathis, Paine College (B.S., 1954), Atlanta Univ. (M.S., 1957), Univ. of Georgia (Ph.D., 1966). McBay graduated from college when she was 19 years old and became the first Black student to earn a doctorate at the Univ. of Georgia in any field, and the first woman to receive a mathematics doctorate. She taught at Spellman College (1960-1975), creating its Division of Natural Sciences, which she chaired, and serving as an Associate Academic Dean (1973-75). She joined the National Science Foundation to work on increasing opportunities for minority students (1975-80). As Dean of Students at M.I.T. (1980-90), she studied why Black students did not fare as well as their white peers at the school, undertaking a pioneering study, Quality Education for Minorities (1987-90). She left M.I.T. to run the Quality Education for Minorities Network (1990-2016), advocating for minority students in the sciences.

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