Mary W. Gray

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Mary Lee Wheat Gray (born April 8, 1938) is an American mathematician, statistician, and lawyer. She is the author of books and papers in the fields of mathematics, mathematics education, computer science, applied statistics, economic equity, discrimination law, and academic freedom. She is currently on the Board of Advisers for POMED (Project on Middle East Democracy) [1] and is the Chair of the Board of Directors of AMIDEAST (America-Mideast Educational and Training Services, Inc.).[2]

Biography and career[edit]

Gray completed her undergraduate degree from Hastings College and her Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Kansas. She also completed her J.D. from Washington College of Law. She is a member of the District of Columbia and U.S. Supreme Court bars.

Gray was one of the founding members of the Association for Women in Mathematics (AWM) and the first President of the AWM from 1971 to 1973. As reported in "A Brief History of the Association for Women in Mathematics: The Presidents' Perspectives", by Lenore Blum, "As Judy Green remembers (and Chandler Davis, early AWM friend, concurs): 'The formal idea of women getting together and forming a caucus was first made publicly at a MAG [Mathematics Action Group] meeting in 1971 ... in Atlantic City. Joanne Darken, then an instructor at Temple University and now at the Community College of Philadelphia, stood up at the meeting and suggested that the women present remain and form a caucus. I have been able to document six women who remained: me (I was a graduate student at Maryland at the time), Joanne Darken, Mary [W.] Gray (she was already at American University), Diane Laison (then an instructor at Temple), Gloria Olive (a Senior Lecturer at the University of Otago, New Zealand who was visiting the U.S. at the time) and Annie Selden...It's not absolutely clear what happened next, except that I've personally always thought that Mary was responsible for getting the whole thing organized ....'".[3] Mary W. Gray was the early organizer, placing an advertisement in the February 1971 Notices of the AMS, and writing the first issue of the AWM Newsletter that May. Again as reported by Lenore Blum, "What I remember hearing about Mary [W.] Gray and the Atlantic City Meetings, indeed what perked my curiosity, was an entirely different event, one that was also to alter dramatically the character of the mathematics community. In those years the AMS was governed by what could only be called an "old boys network," closed to all but those in the inner circle. Mary challenged that by sitting in on the Council meeting in Atlantic City. When she was told she had to leave, she refused saying she would wait until the police came. (Mary relates the story somewhat differently: When she was told she had to leave, she responded she could find no rules in the by-laws restricting attendance at Council meetings. She was then told it was by "gentlemen's agreement." Naturally Mary replied "Well, obviously I'm no gentleman.") After that time, Council meetings were open to observers and the process of democratization of the Society had begun."[3] "A Brief History of the Association for Women in Mathematics: The Presidents' Perspectives" dedicates a chapter to Mary W. Gray titled "Mary Gray (1971-1973): The mother of us all".[3]

Gray has received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Engineering, and Mathematics Mentoring from President George W. Bush. She has also received honorary degrees from the University of Nebraska, Mount Holyoke College, and Hastings College. She is a fellow of the American Mathematical Society.,[4] The American Statistical Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Association for Women in Science.

Published works[edit]


  • Gray, Mary W. (1970). Radical approach to algebra. Reading, Massachusetts: Addison-Wesley Pub. Co. OCLC 80899. 
  • Gray, Mary W. (1972). Calculus with finite mathematics for social sciences. Reading, Massachusetts: Addison-Wesley Pub. Co. ISBN 9780201025736. 

Journal articles[edit]

Gray has published over 80 articles.[5]


  • 1959 Fulbright Fellowship[6]
  • 1959-1963 NDEA fellowship [7]
  • 1963-1964 NSF fellowship
  • 1994 Mentor Award for Lifetime Achievement from the American Association for the Advancement of Science[8]
  • 1979 Georgina Smith Award from the American Association of University Professors for her work on the status of women in collective bargaining[9]
  • 2001 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Engineering and Mathematics Mentoring[10]
  • 2012 Elizabeth L. Scott Award from the Committee of Presidents of Statistical Societies[11]


  • Chair of the Board of Directors of the American Middle East Education Foundation[12]
  • Statistics Without Borders
  • Co-director of the Patricia Roberts Harris Fellowship program at American University[13]
  • President of the Association for Women in Mathematics, 1971–1973
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science: Chair of Committee on Scientific Freedom and Responsibility, 1997 - 1999 [14]


  1. ^ "Board of Advisers". Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED). Retrieved 2015-10-25. 
  2. ^ "Board of Directors". AMIDEAST. Retrieved 2015-10-25. 
  3. ^ a b c "A Brief History of the Association for Women in Mathematics (from Notices): How it was". Retrieved 2015-05-28. 
  4. ^ List of Fellows of the American Mathematical Society, retrieved 2013-01-19.
  5. ^ "Mary Gray". American University. Retrieved 2013-10-17. 
  6. ^ "Mary Lee Wheat Gray". University of St Andrews, Scotland. Retrieved 2013-10-17. 
  7. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)>
  8. ^ "Mary Gray". Agnes Scott College. Retrieved 2013-10-17. 
  9. ^ "Presidential Awards For Excellence In Science Mathematics And Engineering Mentoring". enGrant Scientific. Retrieved 2013-10-17. 
  10. ^ "Awards". Retrieved 2013-10-17. 
  11. ^ Becker, Abbey (2012-04-12). "Mary Gray Receives Mentorship Award". American University. Retrieved 2013-10-17. 
  12. ^ "American Middle East Education". Retrieved 12 June 2014. 
  13. ^ "American University - Prof. Mary Gray profile". Retrieved 12 June 2014. 
  14. ^ "Mary W. Gray". AAAS Archives and Records Center. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]