Dr. Pat Hickey grew up in San Antonio, Texas. While attending San Antonio Junior College she became interested in mathematics and mathematics education. When she transferred to Baylor as a Junior, she worked as a tutor in the Math Department. It was pleasing and gratifying to her when students began to understand mathematics concepts. Upon graduation in 1955 with a B.A. degree in mathematics, she took a job at Shell Oil Company Exploration Division in Houston, Texas. Her title was “Computer” since her department did the computations on the geologic exploration data. There she met her husband, Jim, who was also a “Computer”. After a year on a field exploration crew, he decided to attend Baylor for graduate work in mathematics. Pat taught one year at La Vega High School and then began graduate work in mathematics at Baylor receiving her M.A. degree in 1960. She received her Ph.D. degree in Mathematics Education from the University of Texas in 1980.
Pat taught in the Mathematics Department while a graduate student, and as full-time faculty for 31 years. She retired in 1992 as Emeritus Associate Professor of Mathematics. During her Baylor University tenure, she taught many pre-service mathematics teachers with a focus on teacher preparation. She presented papers on An experiment in secondary teacher preparation and The interaction of student characteristics & instructional style. The second was a summary of her Ph.D dissertation A Long Range Test of the Aptitude Treatment Interaction Hypothesis in College Level Mathematics.
She and her husband established the Jim and Pat Hickey Endowed Scholarship Fund in Mathematics in 1997. This scholarship was established in gratitude and loyalty to Baylor and to assist deserving students in mathematics or mathematics education as a tribute to those former students who made teaching rewarding. Dr. Jim Hickey passed away on March 24, 2005.
During their tenure at Baylor University, she and Jim were fans of all Baylor University sports teams and especially of women's teams. From 1986 to 1991, Pat served as a member of the Faculty Athletic Council. Supporting the young women student athletes who represent Baylor University became an important goal for the Hickeys and they established the Jim and Pat Hickey Endowed Athletic Scholarship Fund in Women's Basketball in 2002. After Jim passed away, Pat has kept up her avid support of women's athletics at Baylor, in particular, women's basketball.
Both of their children, Brenda and James, received their Bachelors’ degrees in Computer Science from Baylor after “growing up” in the Math Department.