Campus News Society & Culture

Celebrating Georgia Groundbreakers: Charlayne Hunter-Gault and Hamilton E. Holmes

Charlayne Hunter and Hamilton Holmes are greeted by the press as they walk toward the Admissions Office in the Academic Building on Jan. 9, 1961, to enroll as the first African American students at UGA.

President Jere W. Morehead has appointed a committee to plan a celebration of the 60th Anniversary of Desegregation at the University of Georgia. The committee will work with the university community to develop a calendar of events, with a central focus of the annual Holmes-Hunter Lecture sponsored by the Office of the President on Feb. 23, 2021.

“Charlayne Hunter-Gault and the late Dr. Hamilton E. Holmes are two of our most notable alumni,” said Morehead. “Their courage and determination are important aspects of our institution’s history, and celebrating them will be a significant part of the year ahead for our campus community.”

On Jan. 9, 1961, Hamilton Holmes and Charlayne Hunter (now Hunter-Gault) became the first African American students to enroll at UGA. Today, they maintain a lasting footprint on the institution with the annual Holmes-Hunter Lecture, which focuses on race relations, civil rights and education, as well as the Holmes-Hunter Academic Building located on the historic North Campus.

The committee will be led by Dr. Michelle G. Cook, Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion and Strategic University Initiatives, and Alton Standifer, Assistant to the President. Cook said, “The work of these two pioneers has and will continue to change the lives of students and families for generations to come. Their bravery has opened doors for Black people at UGA, and I am excited to celebrate this historic milestone.”

Members of the planning committee are:

  • Michelle G. Cook, Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion and Strategic University Initiatives (Co-Chair)
  • Alton M. Standifer, Assistant to the President (Co-Chair)
  • Victor K. Wilson, Vice President for Student Affairs
  • Toby Carr, Vice President for Government Relations
  • Kathy R. Pharr, Chief of Staff and Interim Vice President for Marketing & Communications
  • Toby Graham, Associate Provost and University Librarian
  • Charles Davis, Dean, Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication
  • Alan Dorsey, Dean, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences
  • Susan Williams, Professor of Population Health, College of Veterinary Medicine, President of the Black Faculty and Staff Organization
  • Kierstin Hicks, Undergraduate Student, C. Herman and Mary Virginia Terry College of Business, Student Government Association
  • Carlton Smith, Graduate Student, Mary Frances Early College of Education, President of Graduate and Professional Scholars
  • Meredith Gurley-Johnson, Executive Director of Alumni Relations, Development and Alumni Relations
  • Elizabeth Beckett, Executive Director of Special Events, Development and Alumni Relations

Read more about Hamilton Holmes and Charlayne Hunter (now Hunter-Gault).