Official Obituary of

Dr. James A Donaldson

April 17, 1941 ~ October 18, 2019 (age 78) 78 Years Old

Dr. James Donaldson Obituary

Dr. James A. Donaldson

April 17, 1941 – October 18, 2019

Washington, D.C.

James A. Donaldson was born in 1941 in Madison County, Florida to parents Audrey Brown and Oliver Donaldson. In 1961, James graduated with his A.B. degree in mathematics from Lincoln University in Pennsylvania. He continued his studies at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, where he received his M.S. degree in mathematics in 1963, and his Ph.D. degree in mathematics in 1965.

Upon graduation, James served as professor of mathematics at Southern University, Howard University, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and the University of New Mexico. His scholarly interests included analysis, differential equations, applied mathematics, the history of mathematics, mathematics education and the training of mathematics teachers. Dr. Donaldson joined the faculty at Howard permanently in 1971 as a professor in the Department of Mathematics. He served as chairman of the department from 1972-90 and played an integral role in the development of its Ph.D. program in mathematics—the first and only doctoral program at a Historically Black College and University (HBCU)—and oversaw the development of tenured faculty. On November 1, 1999, Dr. James A. Donaldson became dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Howard University. He served in this role until 2012. In May 2018, he was awarded an honorary Doctoral Degree by his undergraduate alma mater -- Lincoln University in Pennsylvania.

Jim travelled extensively in Africa, Canada, Europe, Asia, and the U.S. as a mathematician and for the enjoyment of learning about the diverse cultures and languages of the world. Jim was fluent in French. He had plans to visit Haiti in December.

James was baptized and joined Jeslamb A.M.E. Church in Madison, Florida at an early age.  He was an active member of Metropolitan A.M.E. Church throughout his years in Washington, DC.

James was preceded in death by two sisters, Theora Donaldson Nickson and Julia Donaldson; and six brothers:  Oliver Donaldson Jr., Rufus Donaldson, Clarence Donaldson, Chandler Donaldson, Enoch Donaldson, and Joseph Donaldson.

He leaves to cherish fond memories:  one  brother, Albert Donaldson of Madison, Florida; one sister, Ollie M. Wall of Wake Forest, North Carolina; one brother-in-law, Henry G. Wall, Jr. of Wake Forest, North Carolina; four sister’s-in-law, Louise Donaldson and Dorothy Jean Donaldson of Wilmington, Delaware, Eula Donaldson, and Josephine Donaldson of Madison, Florida; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends around the world.

Washington DC Services:

Saturday, October 26, 2019 9:30 am – 11:00 am

Cramton Auditorium on the campus of Howard University

2455 6th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20059


Madison, Florida Services:

Saturday, November 2, 2019 11:00 am

Jeslamb AME Church

185 Almond Avenue, Madison, Florida, 32340

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November 1, 2019

3:30 PM to 5:30 PM
Cooks & Cooper Funeral Home
162 Southwest Third Avenue
Madison, FL 32340

Celebration of Life
November 2, 2019

11:00 AM
Jeslamb A.M.E. Church
185 NE Almond Ave
Madison, FL 32340


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