In 1918, on the heels of World War I and at the height of a nationwide food shortage, women earned the right to enroll as undergraduates at the University of Georgia in the newly-created division of home economics.
This years-long effort to break down barriers to higher education for women in Georgia, and the growth of the division of home economics into what is now known as the UGA College of Family and Consumer Sciences, is chronicled in “100 Years Enriching Lives: Family and Consumer Sciences at UGA,” a new book distributed by UGA Press.
Through black and white and color photographs, biographies and timeline facts, this vivid pictorial history celebrates the rich and unique history of a college that first opened its doors to 12 trailblazing women in September 1918.
Mary Creswell, the first woman to receive an undergraduate degree from UGA, was named director of the upstart program and later served as the first dean of what was then known as the School of Home Economics.
“This book is designed to show how our programs have responded during periods of change and the conditions at the time in our country, and indeed, in the world,” FACS Dean Linda Kirk Fox said. “So many people have played a role in the development and advancement of our college, and we’re proud to recognize some of them in this book while also shining a light toward what we hope the future holds for us. For anybody interested in our college and the unique role we have played in the history of the University of Georgia, this book is a must-have.”
Written by freelance author Sharon Shannon-Paximadis, the book opens with a prologue that details the origins of domestic science and the legislation that laid the foundations for land-grant institutions.
The book also contains a foreword from UGA President Jere Morehead.
“For 100 years, the College of Family and Consumer Sciences has provided leadership through its outstanding teaching, research and public service,” Morehead said. “As we look to the next 100 years, I am certain the college will continue on its course to enhance lives and communities for generations to come.”
Paximadis said researching the book gave her a renewed appreciation for the many men and women who made countless contributions to the college, persevering through times of great scarcity and unique challenges brought on by changing culture and technology over the course of a century.
Several key figures in the college’s history are highlighted through “personal journey” features that accompany each chapter, many of them drawn from intense research that included personal correspondence and photographs.
“Facts, figures and dates are an integral part of a historical review,” Paximadis said. “But history is not complete without learning about the people who lived it. The letters, diaries and photographs provided glimpses into the lives of the dedicated women and men who have helped build FACS into the great college it is today. Most importantly, it helped me tell a story of a century of commitment to excellence in education, research and public service.”
You may also buy the book during the FACS convocation ceremony on December 14 at the Georgia Center.
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