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Friday, May 10, 2024

University’s First Black Graduate Hands His Granddaughter Her Diploma 59 Years Later

Ronald and Deana Yancy

Nationwide — On a momentous graduation day at Georgia Tech, history came full circle as Ronald Yancey, the university’s first Black graduate, proudly handed his granddaughter, Deanna Yancey, her diploma 59 years after he made history and broke barriers at the institution.

At Georgia Tech’s recent graduation ceremony in McCamish Pavilion, countless students celebrated the culmination of their years of hard work. Among them was Deanna, who proudly earned her master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering, according to WALB.

For Deanna, this achievement held special significance. Her grandfather, Ronald Yancey, was the first Black graduate of Georgia Tech. A statue of him stands in Clough Commons, symbolizing the barriers he broke and the doors he opened for future generations.

Reflecting on her journey, Deanna remarked, “He’s broken barriers and he’s opened doors that I will never have to experience opening myself.”

Having completed her undergraduate studies at Penn State, Deanna chose Georgia Tech for her master’s degree, considering it one of the nation’s top engineering schools.

On her graduation day, she not only received her diploma but also had the honor of being congratulated by her grandfather, Ronald Yancey, who presented it to her.

“I couldn’t thank Georgia Tech enough,” Deanna expressed, acknowledging the significance of her grandfather’s legacy and the opportunities it provided her.

Ronald Yancey’s pioneering spirit continues to inspire current and future students at Georgia Tech.

“It’s just beyond me how someone could be so strong in such a hard time,” she said.