Campus News Society & Culture

Hunter-Gault named to American Academy of Arts & Sciences

Charlayne Hunter-Gault meets with students from Cedar Shoals and Clarke Central high schools outside of the Chapel before delivering the Holmes-Hunter Lecture in February 2018. (Photo by Andrew Davis Tucker/UGA)

The Peabody and Emmy Award winning journalist is a University of Georgia alumna

Charlayne Hunter-Gault, a Peabody and Emmy Award winning journalist, author and University of Georgia alumna, has been named to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.

“I am so honored to be included in this amazing list of new members of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences,” Hunter-Gault said. “But, I got here thanks to the shoulders I have stood on throughout my life. And I honor each and every one of them, for there were many.”

Charlayne Hunter-Gault in her office at the PBS “MacNeil/Lehrer Report” in 1983.

Hunter-Gault was one of eight members inducted in the Journalism, Media, and Communications section of the honorary society. The nearly 270 members elected to the Academy in 2023 are selected from academia, the arts, industry, policy, research and science and include more than 40 International Honorary Members from 23 countries. Joining Hunter-Gault in this year’s class are biochemist and geneticist Emmanuelle Charpentier; songwriter, actor, director, producer Lin-Manuel Miranda; and political scientist Daniel Ziblatt of Harvard University.

Charlayne Hunter-Gault gave the Commencement address at the University of Georgia on June 14, 1988. Photo taken 06/14/88. (Photo by Walker Montgomery/UGA).

“With the election of these members, the Academy is honoring excellence, innovation, and leadership and recognizing a broad array of stellar accomplishments,” said Academy President David W. Oxtoby. “We hope every new member celebrates this achievement and joins our work advancing the common good.”

Hunter-Gault along with Hamilton Holmes were the first two Black students to integrate UGA in 1961. After graduating from UGA with a degree in journalism, Hunter-Gault joined the staff of “The New Yorker,” followed by The New York Times, PBS’s “MacNeil/Lehrer Report” and what is now the “PBS NewsHour.” In 1997, she became the chief correspondent in Africa for National Public Radio. She joined CNN in 1999 as its bureau chief and correspondent in Johannesburg, South Africa, and returned to NPR as a special correspondent in 2005. Hunter-Gault has written several books including “To the Mountaintop: My Journey Through the Civil Rights Movement” and most recently, “My People: Five Decades of Writing About Black Lives,” published in October 2022.

Charlayne Hunter-Gault introduces Justice Robert Benham at the 2020 Holmes-Hunter lecture. (Photo by Peter Frey/UGA)

Founded in 1780, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences honors excellence and convenes leaders from every field of human endeavor to examine new ideas, address issues of importance to the nation and the world, and work together, as expressed in its charter, “to cultivate every art and science which may tend to advance the interest, honor, dignity, and happiness of a free, independent and virtuous people.”