Harvard’s first black female Ph D dies

Rest in power, Dr Washington Brown. (Photo: Facebook @RulaRuelRBrown)

Respected American computer scientist Dr Deborah Washington Brown died peacefully Friday afternoon, June 5. She had been ill for a prolonged period and just celebrated her 68th birthday.

Dr Brown’s death was confirmed by her Jamaican husband, Ruel, to whom she was married for 41 years. The practising pianist died surrounded by her family and chaplain in their Atlanta home.

“It is with great sadness to inform you of the passing of my wonderful wife of 41 years, Dr. Deborah W. Brown who passed today from cancer… My two daughters, Laurel & Latoya were at her bed side at home with myself and a chaplain. Thank you all very much for the solid love, support and prayers. I will keep you all posted. We did everything to keep her comfortable during this past 16 months,” he said sombrely.

SUPER SAD DAY FOR ME: It is with great sadness to inform you of the passing of my wonderful wife of 41 years, Dr….

Posted by Rula Ruel Brown on Friday, June 5, 2020

Dr Washington Brown created history when she became the first black woman to receive a Ph. D in Applied Math from Harvard University in 1981. The milestone was also significant as she topped her graduating class of the Massachusetts-based institution.

She completed her Bachelor of Science in Mathematics, at the Lowell Technological Institute in 1975 – before going on to Harvard University to attain a Master of Science in Applied Mathematics in 1977.

Dr Washington Brown was born on June 3, 1952, in Washington DC.