Born in 1936 in Havana, Cuba where she attended Catholic
elementary and secondary schools.
Won a medal in a competition about fractions in third grade
and ever after was the acknowledged leader in her class
Attended the University of Havana where most of her mathematics
and science instructors were women, all of whom had doctorates.
Obtained her Sc.D. degree in mathematics in 1960 in the
fields of differential equations and astronomy, writing her dissertation
on "Determination of Orbits Using Talcott's Method". She apparently was the
first Black woman to receive a doctorate in mathematics at that
Her son was born in 1955 and her daughter in 1959, the
year of the Cuban revolution. When her son's Catholic school
was taken over by the Communist government she chose to emigrate
to the United States, but her husband was forced to remain in
Cuba for three more years.
She taught in several American schools before joining the
mathematics faculty at Bishop College in Dallas, Texas, where
she was chairperson of the Department of Mathematical Science
from 1975 to 1978.
In 1979 she took a leave of absence from Bishop College
so that she could become a program manager with the Minority Institutions
Science Improvement Program in Washington, D.C. Since 1980 she
has been a program director for the Department of Education.
Became a naturalized American citizen in 1972.
Kenschaft, Patricia. "Black women in mathematics in the United
States," MAA Monthly, 88(8) (October, 1981), 592-604.
Bates, Karl. "Argelia Velez-Rodriquez," in Notable
Mathematicians, Robyn Young, Editor, Gale Research, 1998.