Person: Hewitt (2), Gloria
Gloria Hewitt is an American mathematician who undertook research in algebra. She became the first African American woman to chair a university mathematics department in the United States.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- However, for simplicity we will refer to her as Gloria Hewitt throughout this biography.
- This co-educational school for black pupils was a boarding school and Gloria's parents had to pay for her education there.
- At this stage in her education Gloria told people that she wanted to be a nurse.
- Hewitt was fortunate that the head of mathematics at Fisk was Lee Lorch.
- Hewitt had performed poorly in the entrance examinations, she never understood why that was the case, and as a result she was put in a low level mathematics class.
- Hewitt had never heard of calculus but she followed the advice of her head of department and enrolled for calculus in her second year.
- Hewitt was able to return to her undergraduate studies at Fisk University and she graduated with a B.A. in mathematics in 1956.
- Hewitt's undergraduate degree had been aimed at making her a high school mathematics teacher but once she had been awarded the degree she knew that this was not the right career for her.
- Hewitt had always enjoyed sport and this helped her greatly at the University of Washington.
- On the academic side she was strongly encouraged by Edwin Hewitt (1920-1999).
- Edwin Hewitt had been awarded a Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1942 and had served on the faculty at the University of Washington from 1954.
- Edwin Hewitt encouraged her to aim at a Ph.D. and Richard Scott Pierce (1927-1992) became her advisor.
- With her weak mathematical background, Hewitt found it hard going and at times considered giving up.
- When she was first offered the position, Hewitt turned it down.
- However, some time later Livingston made a second offer to Hewitt and, after persuasion from Edwin Hewitt, she accepted and took up the position in 1961.
- In 1963 Hewitt published The existence of free unions in classes of abstract algebras in the Proceedings of the American Mathematical Society.
- In 1966 Hewitt was awarded a National Science Foundation postdoctoral fellowship which enabled her to spend a year at the University of Oregon.
- At the second session of the Mathematical Association of America held in 1971 there was a discussion on "Women in Mathematics" to which Hewitt contributed.
- Although Hewitt regretted not having enough time to undertake research projects at the University of Montana, nevertheless she wrote two reports, namely A one model approach to group theory (1978) and Emmy Noether's notions of finiteness conditions - revisited (1979) which both appeared as University of Montana Reports.
- Hewitt retired from the University of Montana in May 1999 and was given the title of Professor Emeritus.
- Professor Hewitt has served on numerous national committees and panels for various professional organizations and agencies including the Mathematical Association of America, the National Science Foundation, the National Security Agency and the National Academy of Sciences.
- Professor Hewitt was recently recognized for her work with the 1999 UM Academic Administrator award.
Born 26 October 1935, Sumter, South Carolina, USA.
View full biography at MacTutor
Tags relevant for this person:
African American, Origin Usa, Women
Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive