Mary Frances Early Lecture Series

Each year, an invited speaker delivers a lecture that honors the quiet determination and dignity with which Mary Frances Early pursued her efforts to ensure that the state's flagship university became an institution of higher learning for all the people of Georgia. The annual lecture demonstrates the progress that has been made while also recognizing that work still remains in order to fully realize Ms. Early's vision. With pride, we salute Ms. Early for all that she has accomplished and for the excellence, integrity, fortitude, and grace that she represents.

In 1999, Graduate and Professional Scholars (GAPS) members Tracey Ford and Valerie White proposed that Ms. Early serve as the featured speaker for the GAPS Spring Lecture. Her selection was prompted in part by her appearance in Foot Soldiers for Equal Justice, the documentary chronicling the desegregation of the University of Georgia. Dr. Maurice Daniels, the former GAPS co-advisor, served as senior researcher and executive director of the Foot Soldiers project.

Following Ms. Early's keynote address on April 18, 2000, GAPS renamed its annual spring lecture in her honor. In 2010, in consultation with Ms. Early, the Graduate School assumed responsibility for the event, working in partnership with GAPS to promote and maintain the event's visibility and consistency.

Previous Lecturers

2014 Donna Brazile Vice Chair of Voter Registration and Participation for the Democratic National Committee
2012 Cynthia Tucker Charlayne Hunter-Gault Distinguished Writer-in-Residence at UGA
2011 Rep. John Lewis U.S. Representative of Georgia's 5th District
2010 Ambassador Andrew Young GoodWorks International LLC
2009 Dr. Maurice Daniels Dean of UGA School of Social Work
2008 Ms. Harriet A. Washington Medical ethicist
2007 Ms. Elaine Brown, Esq. Politician, activist
2006 Dr. Michael Eric Dyson Religious scholar, commentator
2005 Ms. Charisse Jones & Dr. Kumea Shorter-Gooden Authors
2004 Dr. Nai'm Akbar Professor of Psychology
2003 Dr. Mitchell F. Rice Political scientist
2002 Dr. Sharon Ames Dennard 2002 Working Mother of the Year
2001 Dr. Reuben Warren Bioethics researcher
2000 Ms. Mary Frances Early Civil rights pioneer, music educator