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Rogers Joseph Newman

Rogers Joseph Newman

  • Gender: M
  • Ethnicity: African American
  • Year of Birth: 1933
  • Place of Birth: Ramar, Alabama


  • Ph.D. Institution: University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 1969
  • MA Institution: Atlanta (now Clark Atlanta) University, 1949
  • AB Institution: Morehouse Colege, 1948


"My first AMS-MAA meeting was the one held in Washington, DC in January 1961. I had just picked up my degree from the University of Michigan at its mid-year commencement and I wanted to find out just what these meetings that many Michigan professors had talked so much about were like" Rogers J. Newman, AMS 100th Annual Meeting; Cincinnati, OH; January, 1994.

Rogers Joseph Newman was born in Ramar, Alabama near Montgomery, AL on December 22 as the only child of Jonathan Newman, a farmer and insurance agent and Vera Primos Newman, a school principal. Later in life when Rogers married his significant other, Dorothy Alice Willis Newman, their union also produced no daughters. However, it did produce three sons; the late Rogers Joseph Newman, Jr.; Roy Oliver Newman and Robert Marion Newman. Rogers received his high school diploma from Alabama State College Laboratory School. He enrolled in Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia in 1944 and earned and A.B. Degree in Mathematics from that institution in 1948 One of his graduating classmates was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Immediately following graduation, he matriculated at Atlanta University (now Clark Atlanta University) Where he earned the M.A. degree in mathematics in 1949.

Rogers began his illustrious teacher career at Bishop college in Marshall, Texas (1949-50). He taught at Grambling College, Grambling LA (1950-51); at Jackson State College, Jackson, MS (1951-53); and at Southern University in Baton Rouge, LA (1953-55).

After the 1954-55 academic year, Rogers actively pursued a Ph.D. in mathematics at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, with duties as a teaching fellow during the 1957-58 academic year and as a junior instructor in (1958-60), while also doing limited teaching at Eastern Michigan University (1958-59). In the fall of 1960, Rogers returned to Southern University as a full time faculty member. In January 1961, he received his Ph.D. in Mathematics from the University of Michigan in Complex Variables, Dissertation Topic: Capacity and Tchebycheff Polynomials. In the Fall of 1961, he was appointed chair of the department of Mathematics at Southern University, a position held until Spring 1973. The Department flourished under his leadership.

In addition to college/university teaching, Rogers was Director of the Institute for Higher Education Opportunity - Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) in Atlanta , GA (1973-73) and Dean of the College of Science and Humanities at Alabama State University in Montgomery, AL (1974-76). Rogers also taught at Tulane University (Summer, 1965), Tuskegee Institute (Summer, 1969) and he was the Commonwealth Visiting Professor at Longwood College in Farmville, VA (1984-86). He returned to Southern University in Baton Rough, LA in the fall of 1986 and he remain there through the present.

During his more that 40 years of tenure as a mathematician and educator, Rogers has taught and influence scored of established mathematicians. His list of students who have earned doctorates include Stella Ashford, Juanita Bates, Roosevelt Calbert, Preston Dinkins and Delores Spikes. In addition to his contributions to teaching (selected Danforth Teacher in 1955 and University Teacher of the Year in 1981) he has been productive as a scholar with several written works and a number of scholarly presentations. His scholarly pursuits led him to further formal studies beyond the Ph.D. degree. Rogers did further study at Imperial College, University of London; London, England (1970-71) and Louisiana State University (Summer 1970, 1971).

During his professional career, he had been active with several professional organizations: The National Association of Mathematicians (NAM) - President, 1984-1994; The Mathematical Association of America (MAA) Bd of Gov., (1986-89); Task Force on Minorities (1986-Present), Chair of Committee to evaluate NAM and Task Force on Remediation; The American Mathematical Society (AMS) and Pi Mu Epsilon honorary Mathematical Society. Moreover, he has been a reader for National Science Foundation (NSF) and a reviewer for Mathematical Reviews. He has been an invited lecturer/consultant by several institutions, including Wabash College, VA State University and Winston-Salem State University. He gave the first Scholarly presentation at a NAM meeting in 1972.

For his many services and outstanding contributions, he has received several recognition's including the NAM Distinguished Service Award (1994), he was on of the few person selected to make a special presentation (which was published at AMS 100th Annual Meeting (1994)), and he is included as an exhibit among the outstanding African American Mathematicians i the Museum of Science, Chicago, IL (1996). Rogers continues to impact the Mathematical Sciences Community with his continuous professional involvement.

[Johnny L. Houston, Executive Secretary of NAM]

This biography first appeared in the NAM Newsletter, Fall Issue, 1996, p.6.