It is a privilege to serve as the incoming president of the UGA Black Alumni Leadership Council (BALC). My experiences as a student and alumna of the University of Georgia have been the most positive, impactful, and rewarding experiences of my lifetime. I am the direct beneficiary of the courage, accomplishments, and tenacity of trailblazers who were determined to keep the Arch open to all.
As we continue to honor our trailblazers, BALC is delighted to join the university in celebrating the legacy of Dr. Harold A. Black (BBA ’66), Dr. Mary Blackwell Diallo (AB ’66, MA ’73), Kerry Rushin Miller (BS ’66), and Dr. Shirley Mathis McBay (PHD ’66). The university named its newest residence hall Black-Diallo-Miller Hall and it will house over 500 first-year students beginning this fall, the 60th anniversary of the year that Black, Diallo and Miller became the first Black students to enroll as freshmen and complete their undergraduate degrees at UGA. Additionally, the university will officially rename the Science Library in memory of Dr. Shirley Mathis McBay, the first African American to earn a doctorate from UGA. Their names on these buildings will ensure that their stories are forever a part of the institution’s history.
The strides that we have made in 60 years have been incredible and there is still more to achieve. As I transition into the role of President, I look forward to welcoming a phenomenal group of new council members who are passionate about the university and committed to our mission to Recruit, Retain, Engage, Donate, and Serve. We look forward to meeting and re-connecting with all UGA family and Bulldog Nation again soon!
Jacinta Smith (BS ’01, MS ’04)
President, Black Alumni Leadership Council