Campus News

Hunter-Gault to give Charter Lecture on Nelson Mandela

Charlayne Hunter-Gault 50th anniversary talk-h
Charlayne Hunter-Gault speaks to UGA students in 2011 during the university's celebration of the 50th anniversary of its desegregation.  

Award-winning journalist and author Charlayne Hunter-Gault, the first African-American woman to attend UGA, will return to her alma mater on March 31 to deliver a Charter Lecture titled, “Reflections on Nelson Mandela.”

Open free to the public, the lecture begins at 11:15 a.m. in the Chapel.

“Charlayne Hunter-Gault is one of the towering figures in the history of the University of Georgia, and one of its greatest advocates,” said UGA President Jere W. Morehead. “Her role in the integration of UGA opened the doors of public higher education to tens of thousands of students. We are honored that she is returning to campus to deliver the Charter Lecture.”

Hunter-Gault, who graduated from the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication in 1963, has worked in several of the nation’s top print and broadcast news outlets and has been honored with several awards, including two Emmy Awards and three Peabody Awards. 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.

In 2007 she published the book New News Out of Africa: Uncovering Africa’s Renaissance and in 2012 published To the Mountaintop: My Journey Through the Civil Rights Movement.

A link to a live video stream of her Charter Lecture will be posted on UGA’s home page,

“Charlayne Hunter-Gault knows a lot about courage; her life and her career have exemplified it,” said Pamela Whitten, senior vice president for academic affairs and provost. “So it is particularly fitting that she is returning to campus to deliver a Charter Lecture that reflects on the life of Nelson Mandela, one of the world’s most courageous leaders.”

In 1985, UGA created the Holmes-Hunter lecture in honor of her and the late Hamilton Holmes, who registered for classes on the same day as Hunter-Gault and was the first African-American man to be admitted to UGA.

In 1988, Hunter-Gault became the first African-American to deliver the university’s Commencement address. In 1992, she and Holmes established an academic scholarship for black students at UGA. In 2001, the campus building where Hunter-Gault and Holmes registered for classes was renamed the Holmes-Hunter Academic Building to mark the 40th anniversary of the university’s desegregation. A decade later, Hunter-Gault donated her papers to UGA’s Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies as part of the university’s celebration of the 50th anniversary of its desegregation. She currently sits on the board of the George Foster Peabody Awards. Administered by the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, the Peabody Awards are the oldest honor in electronic media.