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Lida Baker Kittrell Barrett, 1989-1990 MAA President

Born: May 21, 1927, Houston, Texas

Lida Baker Kittrell Barrett is a retired mathematics professor and administrator with an extensive record of service to mathematics. She continues to serve on many committees and boards and contribute to mathematics, mathematics education, and increasing the participation of members of underrepresented groups in mathematics.

Presidency: 1989-1990

Barrett advocated keeping the MAA headquarters at its current location and supporting its historical preservation. She supported national awareness initiatives such as Mathematics Awareness Week (later Mathematics Awareness Month) and strengthened the relationship between the MAA and the American Mathematical Society (AMS) that remains to this day.

As the second female president of the MAA, she sought to increase minority membership and involvement in the MAA and within the mathematics community. She helped initiate and enhance MAA programs and committees highlighting minority interests.

Education and Career

1946 Rice University, B.A.
1949 University of Texas, M.A.
1954 University of Pennsylvania, Ph.D.

Barrett has taught at the Texas State College for Women (now Texas Woman's University), the University of Connecticut, and the University of Utah. She was a faculty member and administrator at the University of Tennessee (department head, 1973-80), Northern Illinois University (associate provost), and Mississippi State University (Dean of Arts and Sciences).

While at the University of Tennessee, she also worked at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, in applied mathematics. Barrett's professional interests also include general topology and mathematics education.

After leaving Mississippi State University, Barrett served as a senior administrator in the Directorate for Education and Human Resources of the National Science Foundation for four years and then returned to teaching mathematics as a professor at West Point for three years.

Barrett has been active in MAA committees, the AMS, the Harvard Calculus Consortium, the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards, and the Mathematical Science Education Board. Her extensive record of service earned her the 2008 MAA Gung and Hu Distinguished Service to Mathematics Award.

External Resources

Agnes Scott College biography

Gung and Hu Distinguished Service to Mathematics Award citation

MAA Officers Records, Lida K. Barrett, President at the Archives of American Mathematics

The Mathematics Genealogy Project

"Mathematics Goes Public," MAA FOCUS, Volume 12, Number 2, pages 1-2

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