The Holmes-Hunter Lecture Series was established in 1985 in conjunction with the University of Georgia’s Bicentennial to honor Dr. Hamilton Holmes and Charlayne Hunter-Gault, the first black students to enroll at UGA. The lecture is given by a distinguished scholar or public figure and focuses on race relations, aspects of higher education with implications for race relations or black history.
Marilyn Holmes is a long-time friend and supporter of the University of Georgia who has helped open doors for students and has made the UGA campus more inclusive through her advocacy and generosity.
The wife of the late Hamilton Holmes, Sr., one of the first two students to integrate the University of Georgia, Marilyn is a graduate of Wayne State University.
After a 16-year career in teaching, she retired in 2003. Since then, she has volunteered as a reading tutor in Atlanta Public Schools and Quality Living Services Senior Center. She is a former member of the board of the Atlanta History Center and past Chair of the Board of Advisors of the Atlanta Speech School.
Marilyn is an active member of her local chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, and is an alumna member of The Links, Incorporated. At the University of Georgia, she has contributed to the 1961 Club and the Hamilton E. Holmes Professorship and has supported the School of Social Work and Franklin College.
A native of Detroit, Michigan, Marilyn now lives in Atlanta, Georgia. She always looks forward to visiting UGA for the annual Holmes-Hunter Lecture, and this year, she will share her thoughts on her family’s legacy at the University.
Dr. Holmes earned a bachelor’s degree cum laude in 1963 and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. Following graduation from UGA, he became the first black student admitted to the Emory University School of Medicine. At the time of his death, on October 26, 1995, Dr. Holmes was an Orthopedic Surgeon in Atlanta, Associate Dean and a member of the faculty of Emory University School of Medicine, and Chairman of the Orthopedic Unit at Grady Memorial Hospital.
Ms. Hunter-Gault received a bachelor’s degree in journalism in 1963. She wrote for The New York Times for eight years, and then was long associated with PBS’s MacNeil/Lehrer News Hour. After two years as chief correspondent with National Public Radio, Ms. Hunter-Gault left the position and began working for CNN International in Johannesburg, where she served as bureau chief until 2005. Ms. Hunter Gault has received numerous awards for reporting, including two Peabody Awards for her coverage of Africa. Her memoir about her experiences at University of Georgia, In My Place, was published in 1992. Ms. Hunter-Gault dedicated her papers to UGA’s Richard B. Russell Library in 2011 during the University’s 50th anniversary celebration of its desegregation.