Mary Frances Early College of Education

February 27, 2020
by Jere W. Morehead, President

This week, the University of Georgia celebrated a momentous occasion—the naming of the Mary Frances Early College of Education in honor of UGA’s first African American graduate. Ms. Early made history when she completed her master’s degree in music education here in 1962, and she has made history once again as the first African American to have a college or school named in their honor at this institution.

Ms. Early has been a trailblazer throughout her life, holding a number of prominent roles in the field of music education, including Director of Music for Atlanta Public Schools, Chair of the Music Department at Clark Atlanta University, and the first African American President of the Georgia Music Educators Association. She also helped found the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s Talent Development Program, which provides musical training to African American and Latino students to increase diversity in the orchestral music field.

At the University of Georgia, Ms. Early has served on the UGA Alumni Association Board of Directors, the Graduate School Advancement Board, and the College of Education Board of Visitors. She also served as the speaker for the Graduate Commencement ceremony in 2007. In 2013, she received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University, and in 2018, she was awarded the President’s Medal for her numerous contributions to this institution. 

I am deeply appreciative of Ms. Early’s sacrifice, her service, and the profound impact that she continues to have on the University of Georgia and the citizens of our state. All of us in the UGA community are excited for what this historic naming means for our institution and for the future educators who will become proud graduates of the Mary Frances Early College of Education.