These two women who made significant contributions to Georgia’s history will be inducted into the Georgia Women of Achievement Hall of Fame on Thursday, March 7, 2019 at 11:00 AM at Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia. The Georgia Women of Achievement Induction Ceremony is an annual free event held during Women’s History Month and is open to the public. This year’s event will begin at 11:00 AM in Pierce Chapel on the Wesleyan Campus and will be followed by a reception and seated luncheon in the stately Anderson Dining Hall, Wesleyan. The luncheon requires a reservation: https://www.georgiawomen.org/2018-induction-ceremony
Mary Dorothy Lyndon
(August 13, 1877 - April 5, 1924)
Wesleyan College Class of 1896
The first female graduate from the University of Georgia*
Born in 1877 in Newnan, Georgia, and reared in Athens, Mary Dorothy Lyndon graduated from Wesleyan College in 1896 as its first dramatic arts degree holder. She continued her education in dramatic arts and history at Columbia University in New York City. In 1911, Lyndon was offered a position teaching history at the Lucy Cobb Institute, in Athens, which permitted her to take summer classes at the University of Georgia, a male only institution. The University had a policy that those who desired to become teachers could earn credit during summer school.
Lyndon accumulated enough summer credits to earn the master of arts degree on June 17, 1914 - the first UGA degree awarded to a woman and four years before women were admitted to the University as regular students.
It was not until 1918 that university trustees authorized full admission of women and their inclusion in undergraduate studies — initially for a new program in home economics established by the College of Agriculture. During the 1919-1920 school year, Lyndon was nominated by UGA Chancellor David C. Barrow and then elected by the University board of trustees to the positions of associate professor of education and dean of women.
Lyndon taught classes in the Peabody School of Education, directed the Thalian Dramatic Club, helped organize the University chapter of the Phi Mu Sorority, UGA’s first sorority (founded at Wesleyan College in 1852), and founded the Pioneer Club. Lyndon was active in the Athens community as the recording secretary for the Athens YMCA, secretary of the local Daughters of the American Revolution chapter, writer for the Athens Banner Herald, and Sunday school teacher at the First Methodist Church of Athens.
Both the local and University community mourned Mary Lyndon’s untimely death from pneumonia on April 5, 1924. In 1936, a women’s dormitory on the University of Georgia campus was named Mary Lyndon Hall in her honor.
Mary Lyndon was part of a long legacy of Wesleyannes, including her mother Lucy Yates Lundie Lyndon, Class of 1869, two sisters, Clyde Lyndon Lenoir, Class of1894 and June Lyndon Bocock, Class of 1905, and her sister-in-law Annie Margaret Miller Lyndon, Class of 1911 (married to Mary Dorothy's brother, Andrew Jackson Lyndon, Jr.).
*The University of Georgia became the nation’s first chartered state university in 1785 and classes began in 1801. For more than a century, the University’s student body numbered only a few hundred — all male. On June 17, 1914, Wesleyan alumna Mary Dorothy Lyndon, class of 1896, became the first woman to be awarded a degree from the University of Georgia. It would be four more years before women were admitted to the University as regular students.
Dr. Leila Alice Daughtry Denmark
(February 1, 1898 - April 1, 2012)
Pioneer in pediatric medicine
When she retired in 2001, Leila Daughtry Denmark, M.D., was America's oldest known practicing physician. She was one of the first women pediatricians in Atlanta, and has been seeing patients and advising parents for more than seventy years. Her remarkable career had been reported locally and in the national news, and in 1998, when she was 100 years old, her ongoing work was featured in a profile in People magazine.
Click here to read Lelia Daughtry Denmark’s biography.