NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – As 22News celebrates Black History, we’re recognizing African Americans who have made contributions in western Massachusetts.
Smith College alum Evelyn Boyd Granville was the second African American woman to receive a Ph.D in Mathematics, something Smith College Professor Jim Henle said remains a challenge for all women today.
Evelyn Boyd Granville was born in Washington, D.C in 1924, during a racially divided time.
Despite the country’s attitudes towards blacks, it didn’t stop Granville from achieving academic greatness.
Granville graduated from Smith College in 1945 and later enrolled at Yale University.
“There’s a question of ability and there’s a question of knowledge, but far more important than that it’s a question of grit and determination and confidence,” said Professor Jim Henle, mathematics and statistics professor at Smith College.
Granville later joined IBM in 1956 to research the application of computers to science. She also worked for NASA.
According to Professor Henle, out of the seven women who attend doctorates program from Smith, only one is African American. Henle also told 22News approximately 6% of all U.S. women earning PhDs in mathematics graduated from Smith College in 2014.