David Blackwell

David H. Blackwell Diversity Fund
David H. Blackwell
David H. Blackwell
B.A. Mathematics, 1938
M.A. Mathematics, 1939
Ph.D. Mathematics, 1941
Mission Statement
The Department of Statistics is extremely fortunate to have as alumnus, the inimitable, internationally recognized African American scholar of statistics, Professor David H. Blackwell. His illustrious accomplishments have inspired the Department to initiate several important programmatic efforts in his name, which will be partly supported by contributions to the David H. Blackwell Diversity Fund. With support from our friends and alumni, we will be able to continue our graduate scholarship program for diversity, establish an undergraduate summer research program aimed to create opportunities for underrepresented minority populations in statistics, and support a distinguished lecture series. The Department of Statistics at the University of Illinois is well poised to fulfill these programmatic efforts that are exemplary of Professor Blackwell’s name. Together we can support the next generation of statisticians.
Call To Action
Recent events have drawn attention to longstanding social disparities for African Americans in the United States. Clearly, the United States educational system and the science, technology, engineering, and mathematical (STEM) disciplines serve an important role in mitigating these social disparities. What is dismaying is that research continues to reveal significant challenges towards successful STEM participation for African Americans. Specifically, African Americans have significant challenges in preparedness in STEM areas as reflected in K-12 achievement tests and have marginal degree completion in STEM.
David H. Blackwell: A Profile of Inspiration and Perseverance
David Blackwell
African-American educator who overcame adversity and racism to become a leader in the field of statistics
David Blackwell had a distinguished career while living an extraordinary life. Against the backdrop of the Great Depression, World War II, the Cold War, and the Civil Rights Era, Blackwell’s life is one of inspiration. From the very beginning, Blackwell overcame insurmountable odds to become an influential contributor to the world of mathematics and statistics. Blackwell's journey started in Southern Illinois with modest yet noble goals of becoming an elementary school teacher. His remarkable life would culminate with twelve honorary Doctorates and numerous awards, honors, and leadership roles throughout his career.