A Georgia Groundbreaker
Through her courage and determination, Mary Frances Early has made an indelible mark on UGA, and we are pleased to honor her legacy and lifetime accomplishments as a music educator and civil rights icon.
Aderhold Hall received several updates to commemorate the naming of the College in honor of Mary Frances Early. These updates, which are featured in the video above, include an interactive timeline of Early’s life, a display case featuring her personal belongings, her select honors and awards, and more.
Mary Frances Early (M.M.Ed. '62, Ed.S. '67) played an integral role in the campaign for racial equality that helped open the doors for generations of students at the University of Georgia. Her triumph as the first African American graduate of UGA made her a central figure in the struggle to desegregate the University and serves as an example to all.
The Mary Frances Early College of Education Endowment supports the College by addressing diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts and funding scholarships for students.
With approximately 4,000 students enrolled each year, the University of Georgia College of Education prepares students to create change and improve lives in areas such as teacher preparation, counseling, communication sciences and disorders, exercise science, and more.
Naming the College of Education for Mary Frances Early honors her long career as an educator and advocate. Born in Atlanta in 1936, she graduated as the valedictorian of Turner High School in Atlanta in 1953. Here are some select accomplishments from throughout her life.
As a master's student at the University of Michigan, Early is inspired by the violence surrounding Charlayne Hunter's and Hamilton Holmes' integration of the University of Georgia. She begins the process to transfer to UGA.
Early graduates from the University of Georgia with a master's in music education and becomes the first African American graduate of UGA.
Early graduates from UGA with her educational specialist degree.
During Spring Commencement, Early receives an honorary doctorate of law degree from UGA President Michael Adams.
Early receives the UGA President's Medal from President Jere Morehead and her portrait is unveiled in the Administration Building.
Documentary about Early's life, "The Quiet Trailblazer," premieres on Georgia Public Broadcasting; the film was produced by Maurice Daniels and includes interviews with U.S. Rep. John Lewis, Lonnie King, Michael Thurmond and others.
On Feb. 25, 2020, we celebrated the naming of the University of Georgia College of Education in honor of Mary Frances Early.
Mary Frances Early's autobiography, The Quiet Trailblazer, recounts her life from her childhood in Atlanta, her growing interest in music, and her awakening to the injustices of racism in the Jim Crow South.
Mary Frances Early remains a tireless advocate for racial equality and music education. In 2022, she celebrated the 60th anniversary of her graduation from UGA.
During the College's naming campaign, the University of Georgia produced a video to highlight Mary Frances Early’s impact and legacy. View the video above to learn more about her tireless advocacy for racial equality and access to music education for all.
"We have to activate ourselves and take on the responsibility to help make this world the kind of place it can be." Mary Frances Early
$250,000 – $1 million+
$25,000 – $249,999
Ada Lee and Pete Correll
Lyn and Larry Kirkland
David F. and Diana Mack
RISE (Retirees In Support of Education)
$10,000 – $24,999
$1,500 – $9,999
$1 – $1,499
Email the College of Education's Office of Development & Alumni Relations team or call 706-542-2893.