Dudley Weldon Woodard
Dudley Woodard was a gifted teacher in mathematics. Always the scholar, Weldon earned numerous degrees and was the second African American to receive a PHD in mathematics. Woodard taught as such prestigious schools as the Tuskegee Institute, Howard University, and the University of Chicago. He attained he PHD from Penn in 1928. Dudley Woodard devoted his entire professional life to the promotion of excellence in mathematics through the advancement of his students, teaching and research.
Dudley Weldon Woodard was born October 3, 1881, in Galveston, Texas,
where his father worked for the U. S. Postal Service. Woodard was a
smart child whose curiosity was supported by his family. After finishing
his primary education in his home state, Woodard attended Wilberforce
College in Ohio, receiving a bachelor degree in mathematics in 1903, and
an M. S. degree in mathematics at the University of Chicago in 1907.
From 1907 to 1914, Woodard taught mathematics at Tuskegee Institute and
then moved to join the Wilberforce faculty from 1914-1920.
In the early 1920s Dudley Woodard began taking advanced mathematics
courses in the summer sessions at Columbia University. It then became clear
that he was among the gifted mathematicians in the nation. Columbia's loss
was Penn's gain when in 1927 Woodard took scholarly leave from Howard and
spent a year at Penn, working under the direction of John R. Kline, one of
the best and brightest of Penn's mathematics faculty. On Wednesday, June 28,
1928, Woodard became the 38th person to receive a Ph.D. in Mathematics from
Penn. More significantly, Woodard was only the second African American in
the nation to receive that degree.
When he retired in 1947 as chairman of the department, he had led Howard's mathematics faculty through a quarter century of steady advancement. In an age of discrimination, Dudley Weldon Woodard had competed and triumphed in the face of overwhelming odds. Penn is proud to claim him among its most distinguished alumni.
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