Written by Parker Middleton
Athens, Ga. – Award-winning journalist, author and distinguished University of Georgia alumna Charlayne Hunter-Gault has established a new endowment, Giving Voice to the Voiceless. The endowment, created by Hunter-Gault and her husband, Ronald Gault, will provide grants to university students to promote social justice and global understanding by giving voice to the voiceless, the charting light of the life and work of Hunter-Gault.
“From Athens to Africa and beyond, my ‘journeys to the horizon’ as a journalist have tried to find people whose voices need to be heard so they can realize their dreams for themselves and their communities,” Hunter-Gault said. “I hope this fund will encourage Georgia Dawgs from anywhere in the university to travel near and far, as I have tried to do, to give voice to those whose voices are unheard.”
Hunter-Gault announced the fund during her keynote address at the fifth annual Chess and Community Conference at the Georgia Center on April 1. Hunter-Gault has reported on the Chess and Community program, created and directed by UGA alumnus Lemuel LaRoche, on PBS.
“Charlayne Hunter-Gault is an instrumental figure in the history of this institution,” said UGA President Jere W. Morehead. “We are honored that she and Ron have established this fund, which will further Charlayne’s profound legacy and will positively impact the lives of our students.”
Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication Dean Charles Davis lauded “the remarkable work and commitment of Charlayne Hunter-Gault-from her PBS program ‘Race Matters’ that has shown us Lemuel LaRoche’s dedication to chess and community in Athens, to her Peabody-winning stories and her service on the Peabody Board of Jurors, and as a champion of journalism the world over.
“Her subjects give voice, and their personal stories move from our ears to our hearts,” Davis said, echoing the citation accompanying Hunter-Gault’s second Peabody Award.
“We are grateful to be the stewards of Charlayne and Ron’s vision for this fund,” Davis said. “As it grows, it will help generations of students engage in innovative projects, internships, study abroad experiences, field study and other endeavors that give voice to the voiceless.”
“Ron and I are honored to launch this fund with our contribution,” Hunter-Gault said. “We hope others will join to help students to give voice to voiceless individuals and their stories, and in so doing, to advance social justice, global understanding and the human good.
“This is especially a time when the voices of all good people need to be heard,” she said. “I hope this fund will help students find and affirm the voices of people everywhere who fight for freedom, justice and equality for themselves and their people.”
Hunter-Gault will present a public lecture on “Giving Voice to the Voiceless” at UGA this fall.
Hunter-Gault, a 1963 graduate of Grady College, was the first African-American woman to attend UGA. After graduating, she joined the staff of The New Yorker, followed by The New York Times, PBS’ “MacNeil/Lehrer Report” and what is now the “PBS NewsHour.” In 1997, she became the chief correspondent in Africa for National Public Radio. She joined CNN in 1999 as its bureau chief and correspondent in Johannesburg, South Africa, and returned to NPR as a special correspondent in 2005. She has authored several books, including “To the Mountaintop: My Journey Through the Civil Rights Movement.” Hunter-Gault has been honored with several awards, including two Emmy Awards and three Peabody Awards.
About Grady College
Established in 1915, the UGA Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication offers undergraduate majors in advertising, entertainment and media studies, journalism and public relations. The college offers several graduate degrees and is home to the Peabody Awards, internationally recognized as one of the most prestigious prizes for excellence in electronic media. For more information, see grady.uga.edu or follow @UGAGrady on Twitter.