Dr. Rees had a long and distinguished professional career. She received a B.A. degree from Hunter College and Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Chicago, and began her teaching career in 1926 as a member of the Hunter College Mathematics Department. In addition to her more than 35 years at the City University, she served with the U.S. Office of Scientific Research and Development during World War II.
A distinguished mathematician and educator, she was acclaimed for the important role she played in mobilizing the resources of modern mathematics for the national defense during World War II, for helping to direct the enormous growth and diversification of mathematical studies after the war, for her influence in initiating federal government support for the development of the earliest computers, for helping to shape national policy for all basic sciences and for graduate education.
Dr. Rees was appointed the City University’s first Dean of Graduate Studies in 1961, when the doctoral programs were established. In 1969, she became the first president of the CUNY Graduate School , serving until her retirement in September 1972. She died in 1997.