Campus News

Remember the time-patrick

In the 50 years since Charlayne Hunter-Gault and Hamilton Holmes became the first African Americans to register for classes at UGA, a total of 10,592 black people have become alumni of this institution. Each of them has a story to tell about their time her

Class of 1991 and 1994
For Adrian Patrick, earning two degrees from UGA was only part of his education.

Graduating from UGA twice in the 1990s-once with a bachelor’s degree in finance in 1991 and again with a law degree in 1994-showed him two different sides of human nature, he said.

During his undergraduate years, he experienced problems-police officers would pull him over while driving or ask what he was doing on campus and sometimes he’d get called names by a student-but he also found professors who cared about his education and treated him with respect.

“I wouldn’t say the incidents at UGA were bad by any means. The racial environment there wasn’t any different from what some people experienced outside the university environment-if anything it was better. I’m from Cordele, and I’ve lived in Atlanta, and we had incidents there as well that were probably more numerous than at the University of Georgia,” he said. “The treatment I received from professors was always fair. And as far as the benefits I received from going to UGA-I’m still experiencing those. What happened to me during those years were non-frequent incidents.”

Patrick now runs his own law firm specializing in criminal law, divorce, construction, probate and general legal services in Atlanta. His wife, Kimberly Miller Patrick, graduated from the UGA School of Law in 1996 and currently works as an attorney with the city of Atlanta.

“The black community at UGA at that time was very close. There was a lot of unity among us, which was a benefit,” he said. “In most of my classes we’d have from six to eight black students, and at a place this large that made us a pretty thriving community
. . . everybody knew everybody.”

That kind of community, he said, probably won’t exist again at UGA. As the university and the culture at large change, myths about race have faded and the way it’s perceived has changed, he said.

“I don’t know if UGA is different, but I think black students are different now. I think people who are my age were more conscious of blackness than most of the black kids I talk to today,” he said. “They think everybody is no different. We’ve even got a black president. So, in a way, the level of black consciousness has declined.

“Not that it’s a bad thing. You’ve got more interracial marriages and more biracial or mixed-race children, so generally the consciousness of race has gone down,” he added. “If you talk to people who graduated in 1998, 1999 and later, you’re going to notice a big difference in their views.”