Mary Frances Early, who earned a master’s degree from the university in 1962, would go on to have a distinguished career in music education.
Early, a 1957 graduate of Clark College in Atlanta, enrolled in a graduate program at the University of Georgia, earning a master’s degree in music education in 1962.
Early will speak at the Aug. 15 event at the university, the school said.
“This is a significant event in the university’s history,” Pete Konenkamp, a university spokesman, said, speaking with BET.com. “She was not our first African-American student. But she was our first graduate. We think it’s important for us to honor her, not just for what she did here, but what she achieved afterward.”
Since then, she has had a lengthy and distinguished career in education. She spent many years as an elementary school teacher. Later, she worked as an adjunct professor at Morehouse and Spelman colleges and as a music coordinator and supervisor of Atlanta Public Schools.
She became the first African-American president of the Georgia Music Educators Association in 1981. As of 2003, Early was the head of the music department at Clark Atlanta University.
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(Photo: Courtesy of University of Georgia)