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Pierce, Joseph Alphonso  

Thomas R. Williams

mathematician and educator, was born in Waycross, Georgia, the son of William Arthur Pierce, a Methodist minister, and Fannie McGraw. Orphaned at an early age, Pierce was raised by his maternal uncle, Joseph McGraw, in Waycross. Following studies in sociology and business and participation in varsity football, Pierce in 1925 received a BA degree from Atlanta University. He accepted an assignment as assistant coach at Texas College in Tyler, Texas, but upon arrival he learned that he would also be required to teach mathematics. Four years of teaching mathematics proved so agreeable that Pierce adopted it as his profession. He returned to school at the University of Michigan to earn an MS in Mathematics in 1930, and he became professor of mathematics at Wiley College in Marshall, Texas. Pierce married Juanita George in 1933; they had one child.

In 1938 Pierce earned a ...


Spikes, Dolores Margaret Richard  

Ann Zeidman-Karpinski

mathematician and university president, was born Dolores Margaret Richard in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to Lawrence Granville Richard, a worker in the chemical division of the Exxon refinery, and Margaret Patterson. Spikes attributed her academic success to her father's love of reading and her parents' insistence that she and her sisters attend college. Her father attended primary school and got his general equivalency diploma (GED) after his children graduated from college. Her mother had a little more formal schooling, having completed tenth grade. Spikes attended Southern University in Baton Rouge on a scholarship and graduated in 1957 summa cum laude with a bachelor of science. The following year she attended the University of Illinois at Urbana on a fellowship and earned a master's degree in 1958. Just weeks after graduating she married Herman Spikes a fellow mathematician and a classmate from Southern University They had ...