In the aftermath of World War I, with a nationwide food shortage raging, the doors of the University of Georgia were opened to women.
Ultimately, the demand for technically trained female teachers and home demonstration agents dissolved the resistance to women enrolling at UGA.
A bachelor’s degree for women was approved within the Division of Home Economics, part of the UGA College of Agriculture, in February 1918, and the first 12 female students enrolled that September.
Championed by College of Agriculture President Andrew Soule, the Division of Home Economics eventually became the College of Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS).
The college now has an alumni base of almost 20,000 and is celebrating its centennial throughout 2018.
“Those women who went before us were driven to learn and understand more, to do more with their education and to contribute more to improving the lives of others,” FACS Dean Linda Kirk Fox said.
One of the key features of the centennial celebration is the launch of a special website, www.fcs.uga.edu/centennial, that includes timelines, oral histories, and photos and biographies of the “FACS 100 Centennial Honorees,” people who brought strength and commitment to the ideals of the profession.
They were nominated and selected by a committee of faculty, staff, alumni and students.
The Centennial Honorees, along with members of the Honor Hall of Recognition, the highest honor given by the college, will be celebrated at the “FACS 100 Gala: A Centennial Celebration,” on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018, at The Classic Center in Athens, Georgia.
“I am proud to join with others in recognizing these individuals who have embraced and influenced the ideals to which our college aspires, including student-centered education, research to improve the human condition, generosity and a spirit of public service,” Fox said. “All of the Centennial Honorees and the members of the Honor Hall of Recognition are to be applauded for their contributions to our success.”
Several of the honorees have long ties to UGA Cooperative Extension, including current faculty members Elizabeth Andress and Judy Harrison and former 4-H and Morgan County Extension Coordinator Carolyn Ainslie.
Honorees even hail from the same family. Ava Rodgers, former housing specialist and U.S. Department of Agriculture deputy administrator for home economics and human nutrition, was selected along with her nephew, Tom Rodgers, former director of Georgia 4-H and UGA Extension director of county operations.
You can review the bios of the honorees at www.fcs.uga.edu/centennial/facs_100_honorees.
The honorees also will be recognized in the 140-page pictorial history book, “Enriching Lives: Family and Consumer Sciences at UGA,” which will be published this summer.
“The partnership between the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and the College of Family and Consumer Sciences to engage the university with the people of Georgia is unique,” said Don Bower, a retired Extension human development specialist and one of the Centennial Honorees. “State and local faculty from both colleges work together closely to discern local needs and to deliver practical, research-based information to improve the lives of individuals, families and communities. This partnership has proven successful for the last 100 years and continues today with Georgia as a national leader in Cooperative Extension engagement.”