University of Georgia to name facilities after distinguished Black alumni

by Nate Morris
UGA
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At the request of University of Georgia President Jere W. Morehead, the University Cabinet unanimously approved two facilities at the University be named for some of the institution’s most distinguished Black graduates.

A new residence hall named Black-Diallo-Miller Hall will begin housing freshmen in 2022. The building’s name honors Harold A. Black, Mary Blackwell Diallo, and Kerry Rushin Miller; first Black students to enroll as freshmen and complete their undergraduate degrees.

The building will be five stories tall and cost an estimated $50 million.  First-year students will begin moving in on the 60th anniversary of when Black, Diallo, and Miller enrolled as freshmen.

The Science Library will be renamed in honor of Shirley Mathis McBay, the first African American to earn a doctorate from UGA.

Shirley Mathis McBay earned a doctorate in mathematics from the university in 1966, after earning her master’s in mathematics and chemistry from Atlanta University. She is the first African American to earn a doctorate of any kind from the University of Georgia.

After earning her doctorate McBay became a Professor of Mathematics at Spelman College, the oldest historically Black college for women in America. She left Spelman to work in Washington D.C. for the National Science Foundation. McBay would later go on to become the Dean of Students at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.).

While at M.I.T., she launched an institution-wide study of the obstacles keeping minority students from realizing academic success. That study later resulted in the establishment of the Quality Education for Minorities (QEM) network. McBay gladly agreed to lead the network’s efforts. The QEM network aims to promote the achievement and development of women and other underrepresented groups nationwide.

UGA leaders say building names will honor ‘pioneers’ of school’s history.

“It is a privilege to recognize the incredible contributions of these individuals,” said Michelle Cook, a vice provost at UGA. “They were instrumental in paving the way for so many who have come behind them, and these namings will ensure that their stories are forever a part of our institution’s history.”

“Through these namings, we acknowledge the importance of these pioneers in the history of our institution,” said President Morehead. “We celebrate their remarkable achievements and recognize the profoundly positive, lasting impact they have made on the University of Georgia.”

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