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Release: Jan. 16, 2001

UI math department holds Jan. 22 Martin Luther King Celebration

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The Committee for Minority Student Recruitment and Development in the University of Iowa department of mathematics will hold its first annual Martin Luther King Celebration from 3 to 4 p.m. Monday, Jan. 22 in the North Room of the Iowa Memorial Union.

The event, free and open to the public, is planned as an occasion for members of the UI community to celebrate progress toward making the university more diverse, as well as to share ideas on how to increase diversity.

The celebration will include reports on the department's diversity activities and future initiatives. Minority students will describe their graduate school experience, and an informal account will be given of the role of African Americans in the field of mathematics both nationally and here at Iowa. In addition, College of Liberal Arts Dean Linda Maxson, Associate Provost Leslie Sims, and Susan Mask, director of the Office of Affirmative Action, are scheduled to speak.

Underrepresented U.S. minority students presently account for 25 percent of the department's graduate student population, a statistic that has attracted national attention.

At the April 2000 David Blackwell and Richard Tapia Conference hosted by Cornell University's Mathematical and Theoretical Biology Institute, current Cornell President and former UI President Hunter R. Rawlings recognized the UI program and UI Math Professor Herbert Hethcote for contributing to the training of minorities in the mathematical sciences. UI Mathematics Professor Eugene Madison, chair of the department's Committee for Minority Student Recruitment and Development, accepted the award on behalf of the department.

During the past five years, the UI has received three GAANN (Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need) grants totaling about $1.5 million from the U.S. Department of Education to assist in training minority doctoral candidates in mathematics.

The department has a partnership with the mathematics department of Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Fla. to create a seamless transition between the curricula of the two departments for the purpose of producing African American doctoral candidates in mathematics. The partnership with the historically black institution involves faculty and student exchanges.

In 1999 the UI department of mathematics was one of two winners of the university's inaugural Catalyst Award, presented by the UI Office of Affirmative Action to individuals or organizations for work in diversity.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all UI-sponsored events. People requiring an accommodation in order to participate in this program are asked to contact the department of mathematics at 319-335-0714.