Published: Dec. 21, 2017 By

Dr. Rudy Horne was a highly respected and beloved community member and educator who touched the lives of many. Since his recent passing, those who knew him have mourned his loss but have reflected on and celebrated his great accomplishments and contributions to the academic world. 

At the University of Colorado Boulder, Dr. Horne received his M.S in Applied Mathematics and Physics and his PhD in Applied Mathematics, making him the first African American to graduate with a PhD from the Department of Applied Mathematics. Since then, he spent time as an Assistant Professor at Florida State University and an Associate Professor at Morehouse College.

One of Dr. Horne’s many passions was education, where he had a contagious love for the world of mathematics. Dr. Horne exemplified this passion both through his teaching in higher education and many other professional endeavors. 

In 2016, he was asked to contribute his expertise to the Oscar-nominated film Hidden Figures.  Dr. Horne spent four months with 20th Century Fox Studios working on the movie as a mathematics consultant, ensuring that the mathematical references were accurate and historically consistent. 

Dr. Horne had many other professional achievements including eleven publications, four grants, and nine contributed presentations. Additionally, he was hosted as a guest on The National Public Radio’s, “Closer Look” where Dr. Horne discussed his work on Hidden Figures. The interview can be found here.

The Rudy Lee Horne Memorial Fellowship Fund has been established in his honor to provide graduate fellowship support for students in the Applied Mathematics Department at the University of Colorado Boulder. 

Through this fellowship, the department seeks to increase the diversity of the department’s student body and faculty, to maximize the educational benefits of diversity, and to increase the number of professors who can and will use diversity as a resource for enriching the education of all students. The hope is students who receive the Rudy Horne Memorial Fellowship would, through their presence in the department, contribute to the diversity of the department of Applied Mathematics and of the campus, and more generally, of the community of mathematicians. The commitment of this fellowship is forward looking and inclusive, with the intention of having long-term impact to identify and attract students to the department who can help transform the future. 

Any contribution is welcome and appreciated. 

Give Now Rudy Lee Horne Memorial Fellowship Fund


A memorial Celebration of Life for Dr. Rudy Horne, is planned for Saturday, March 17, 2018, from 10-12 in the University Memorial Center, Room 235, on the Boulder campus. There will also be an informal gathering afterwards to share stories and memories of Rudy.

Additionally, there is a Facebook page about Rudy's Celebration of Life memorial. It also includes an RSVP counter, and we hope that you might write some comments or share some memories about Rudy. The Facebook link is:

Finally, we would like to create a slide show for use at the memorial, so we are trying to collect some good quality photos of Rudy. If you have any, please upload them to the Facebook page, and if you don't mind, please also email them to so we can be sure the photo resolution is preserved. If you do send some photos via email, please be sure to add "Rudy Horne Photos" to the subject line.