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Notable Black UGA alumni to be honored on campus buildings

The buildings will be named after UGA's first Black freshmen to complete their undergrad degrees and the first Black student to finish a doctorate degree.

ATHENS, Ga. — It's been 60 years since the University of Georgia was desegregated. Now the university has received approval to honor several Black alumni by naming buildings after them.

In the near future, the names of Shirley Mathis McBay, Harold A. Black, Mary Blackwell Diallo, and Kerry Rushin Miller will be on display on campus, after the University System of Georgia Board of Regents on Tuesday approved UGA's proposal to name buildings after the graduates.

McBay became the first African-American to earn a doctorate from the university when she earned a Ph.D. in mathematics in 1966. She would later teach at Spelman College and become a dean at MIT. 

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McBay later testified before Congress in 1992, where she discussed minority populations and unequal access to quality education.

She died on November 27. Now UGA will be naming the campus' Science Library the McBay Science Library, with the change already reflected on the university's website

A short walk away from the library is a first-year student residence hall taking shape. The building, under construction, will be named Black-Diallo-Miller Hall, after the first African-American students to enroll at UGA as freshmen and complete their degrees. 

The three have previously spoken on campus about their groundbreaking time as students.

The university's Alumni Association quoted Black previously as saying, "Given that I knew my great grandmother, who was a slave, I can marvel at the changes that have occurred in this country and especially in this part of the country."

The university expects the new dorm to open in the fall of 2022, marking the 60th anniversary of the trio's freshman year.