The University cabinet unanimously voted to rename facilities in honor of the first African American who received a doctorate in mathematics and the first three African Americans to graduate with their bachelors
Two University of Georgia facilities may be renamed after distinguished Black alumni who graced the halls of the school.
At the request of President Jere Morehead, the University Cabinet unanimously recommended that the Science Library be named in memory of Shirley Mathis McBay, the first African American to earn a doctorate from UGA.
A new residence hall may also be named after Harold A. Black, Mary Blackwell Diallo and Kerry Rushin Miller — the first Black students to enroll and complete their undergraduate degrees.
“Through these namings, we acknowledge the importance of these pioneers in the history of our institution,” said Morehead to the school’s paper UGA Today, after the vote on Wednesday. “We celebrate their remarkable achievements and recognize the profoundly positive, lasting impact they have made on the University of Georgia.”
The recommendation will have to be approved by the University System of Georgia Board of Regents before going into effect.
Once approved, the Science Library will be named the Shirley Mathis McBay Science Library.
McBay earned a doctorate in math from the university in 1966, just five years after the school integrated, following nearly 200 years of serving just white students.
The mathematician went on to become a math professor at Spelman College for 15 years, before working at the National Science Foundation and becoming the program director for their Minority Institutions Science Improvement Program.
A scholarship from the United Negro College Fund helped Shirley McBay pursue her doctorate at the University of Georgia. She was the first African American to graduate from the school, with a doctorate in math. McKay died on November 27, 2021 at the age of 86.(Photo Credit: UGA Today)
McBay ended her career working as a Dean of Student Affairs at MIT.
The university’s Georgia Groundbreaker profiled the pioneering scholar earlier this year and highlighted how she championed diversity in STEM for most of her life.
On November 27, 2021, McBay died at the age of 86.
The university’s new residence hall, which will house 545 first-year students, will be named Black-Diallo-Miller Hall.
Black is the university’s first African American male freshman and the first Black graduate of its Terry College of Business.
The now-retired professor has emeritus status at the University of Tennesee and has served as faculty at American University, Howard University, the University of North Carolina, and the University of Florida.
Diallo was the first Black student to enroll from Athens, the city in the northeast that played an integral role in the Civil War.
She went on to get her doctorate from Emory University and taught at several HBCUs like Morehouse College and Florida A&M University (FAMU), before retiring earlier this year.
Miller was the first African American to earn a bachelor’s in mathematics from the university in 1966, the same year that McBay earned her doctorate. After 29 years of service, she retired from BellSouth, an Atlanta-based telecommunications holding company.
“I have entered buildings on this campus for 45 years now, and I am extremely eager, humbled, and touched to enter the buildings that carry the names of these pioneers,” said vice president for student affairs, Victor K. Wilson, in a letter to the school community.
“Over the years, I have experienced many moments of personal pride for what my alma mater is doing in this regard, and I will certainly add this to the list,” he added.
In late November, the University System of Georgia said it would not be renaming its buildings, despite a recommendation from an advisory group.
Have you subscribed to the Grio podcasts, ‘Dear Culture’ or Acting Up? Download our newest episodes now!
TheGrio is now on Apple TV, Amazon Fire, and Roku. Download theGrio today!
The post UGA on track to rename facilities after African American alumni appeared first on TheGrio.