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75th anniversary of the creation of our PhD program

The Department of Mathematics celebrates in 2023 the 75th anniversary of the creation of its PhD program. The program was authorized by the Board of Regents at its meeting in Athens on June 10, 1948, and was one of the first such program at UGA. 

The first PhD in mathematics at UGA was awarded in 1951, and since that time the department graduated about 260 new PhDs in mathematics. Shirley McBay (1935-2021) was the first woman to be awarded a PhD in our department in 1966. She was also the first African American to receive a PhD in any field at UGA. The Science Library was named the Shirley Mathis McBay Science Library in December 2021.

Over the last 30 years, our PhD program has had a fantastic upward trajectory and has grown 300%:

     1982 - 1992:  17 PhDs over 10 years produced by UGA math.
     2012 - 2022:  67 PhDs over 10 years produced by UGA math. 

The history of the mathematics department in the years leading to the creation of the PhD program is described in these pages. Long time Department Head and Dean of the Graduate School Roswell Stephens was instrumental in transitioning the department into a PhD granting department and hired Regents Professor Tomlinson Fort (NYT Obituary) to return to UGA to head the department in 1945.

Perhaps the single most important subsequent event strengthening the program occurred towards the end of the headship of Ray Kunze in 1989, when the teaching load of the research active faculty was reduced to make it competitive with other major research institutions in the country, allowing our department to further attract and retain researchers committed to the graduate program.

Below are four outstanding UGA PhD theses published in the most prestigious mathematics journals. More information on the publications of our graduate students is found here.

Kevin James, L-series with nonzero central critical value, J. Amer. Math. Soc. 11 (1998), no. 3, 635–641.
Ernest Croot, On a coloring conjecture about unit fractions, Ann. of Math. (2) 157 (2003), no. 2, 545–556.
Zubeyir Cinkir, Zhang's conjecture and the effective Bogomolov conjecture over function fields, Invent. Math. 183 (2011), no. 3, 517–562.
William Hardesty, On support varieties and the Humphreys Conjecture in type A, Advances in Math. 329 (2018), 392–421.


Visits by former members of the department:

Andrew Granville, University of Montreal, February 5-7.
Carl Pomerance, Dartmouth, February 5-9.

Carl's and Andrew's talks are on Monday February 6.

Ronald Burthe, UGA PhD 1995, AACC, February 4-7.
Jon Grantham, UGA PhD 1997, IDA Center for Computing Sciences, February 5-6.
Alex Rice, UGA PhD 2012,  Associate Professor, Millsaps College, February 5-6.
Jim Stankewicz, UGA PhD 2012,  IDA Center for Computing Sciences, February 5-6.
Sungkon Chang, UGA PhD 2005, Professor of Mathematics, Georgia Southern University, February 6.
Kevin James, UGA PhD 1997, Director of the School of Math. and Statistical Sciences, Clemson Univ., February 6.
Lee Troupe, UGA PhD 2016, Assistant Professor, Mercer University, February 6.

Daniel Mckenzie, UGA PhD 2019, Assistant Professor of Mathematics, Colorado School of Mines, February 7 (talk at 4:00 in 302).
Gerard Awanou, UGA PhD 2003, Professor of Mathematics, University of Illinois at Chicago, February 14 (talk at 4:00 in 302).
Victoria Baramidze, UGA PhD 2005, Professor of Mathematics and Chair, Western Illinois Univ., February 21 (talk at 4:00 in 302)

Sungkon Chang, UGA PhD 2005, Professor, Georgia Southern University, May 17-20, Talk at the INTEGERS Conference.
Alex Rice, UGA PhD 2012, Associate Professor, Millsaps College, May 17-20, Talk at the INTEGERS Conference.
Anitha Srinivasan, UGA PhD 1995, Professor, Universidad Pontificia de Comillas, Spain, May 17-20, Talk at the INTEGERS Conference.
Lee Troupe, UGA PhD 2016, Assistant Professor, Mercer University, May 17-20, Talk at the INTEGERS Conference.

Sarah Blackwell, UGA PhD 2022, NSF Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Virginia, October 2, Talk in the Topology Seminar.

Written by Dino Lorenzini

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