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Mary Lovenia Deconge-Watson

Mary Lovenia DeConge

3 October 1933
Wickliff, Louisiana
Nationality United States of America
Spouse(s) Roy Watson, Sr.

Mary Lovenia DeConge-Watson (born 1933) is an American mathematician and former nun in the Order of the Sisters of the Holy Family. She was the 15th African-American woman to earn her Ph.D. in mathematics.

Early life and education

DeConge-Watson was born in 1933 in Wickliff, Louisiana as the seventh of nine children of Adina Rodney DeConge and Alphonse Frank DeConge. She joined the Sisters of the Holy Family at age 16, later becoming a nun in the Holy Order of the Sisters of Saint Francis. Between 1952 and 1955, Deconge taught elementary school in parochial schools in Baton Rouge and Lafayette. She then attended Seton Hill College where she studied mathematics and science. In 1962, Deconge received a master's degree in mathematics from Louisiana State University. In 1968, she received her Ph.D. in mathematics and a minor in French from St. Louis University for her dissertation 2-Normed Lattices and 2-Metric Spaces.


While in graduate school, DeConge-Watson worked as a teacher at Holy Ghost High School in Opelousas, Louisiana and Delisle Junior College in New Orleans. After receiving her Ph.D. she worked as an assistant professor of mathematics at Loyola University New Orleans from 1968 to 1971. In 1971 she became an assistant professor at Southern University in Baton Rouge. In 1982, she became a full professor and was appointed Chair of the Department of Mathematics at Southern University in 1986.

DeConge-Watson has had her work published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, The Notices of the American Mathematical Society, and the Journal of Mathematical Analytical Applications. She is known for her publications related to Cauchy's Problem for Higher-Order Abstract Parabolic Equations.

Personal life

DeConge-Watson left the religious order in 1976. She married Roy Watson Sr in 1983.

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