ATHENS – The University of Georgia will hold a ceremony to officially name its College of Education in honor of Mary Frances Early, the university’s first African American graduate, on Wednesday at 2 p.m. in Hugh Hodgson Concert Hall at the University of Georgia Performing Arts Center.
Early also will tour a new exhibit honoring her life and legacy at 10 a.m. in UGA’s Aderhold Hall.
The event will feature a keynote address from Marion Ross Fedrick, president of Albany State University, as well as remarks from Early.
The ceremony also will include a musical performance by a member of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Talent Development Program in recognition of Early’s many contributions to music education.
Early earned her master’s degree in music education in 1962 and her specialist in education degree in 1967. In 2013, she was presented with an honorary doctorate from the university. The Mary Frances Early lecture was established in 2001 by the Graduate and Professional Scholars student organization to honor Early.
Approved by the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia on Oct. 16, 2019, the naming of the Mary Frances Early College of Education celebrates Early’s impact as a civil rights advocate and music educator. After helping integrate the university, she taught in Atlanta Public Schools, Morehouse College, Spelman College and served as head of the music department at Clark Atlanta University.