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(PHOTOS) Agnes Scott honors first Black graduate

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(PHOTOS) Agnes Scott honors first Black graduate

Agnes Scott College's first Black graduate, Edna Lowe Swift, class of 1971, sits on the bench in Woodruff Quadrangle dedicated in her honor during a ceremony on Wednesday, Nov. 17. Photo by Dean Hesse.
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By Dean Hesse, contributor 

Decatur, GA — Agnes Scott College honored Edna Lowe Swift, the college’s first Black graduate during a bench dedication ceremony on at the Woodruff Quadrangle on Wednesday, Nov. 17.

Swift graduated from Agnes Scott College in 1971 with a BA in Spanish and went on to teach with Atlanta Public Schools for 28 years before retiring in 2005. She continues to work part-time as a substitute teacher, tutor, translator and interpreter and serves on the Executive Board of the Atlanta Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Carrying on the Scottie tradition, Swifts daughter Shanika Swift and granddaughter Tori Cole Cervantes are both Agnes Scott alumnae.

Edna Lowe Swift, center, talks with Agnes Scott College Dean of Students Emerita Gué P. Hudson, left, and Associate Director of Academic Advising and Director of SUMMIT Advisers Machamma Quinichett on Wednesday, Nov. 17 before a bench dedication ceremony on the Woodruff Quadrangle honoring Swift 50 years after she became the first Black student to graduate from the college. Photo by Dean Hesse

Agnes Scott College President Leocadia I. Zak stands in the background as Edna Lowe Swift, with her daughter Shanika Swift by her side, looks at the bench honoring her as Agnes Scott College’s first Black graduate before the start of a dedication ceremony on Wednesday, Nov. 17. Photo by Dean Hesse.

Honoree Edna Lowe Swift’s granddaughter Tori Cole Cervantes, Agnes Scott class of 2018, on left, and daughter Shanika Swift, Agnes Scott class of 1993 attend the bench dedication ceremony on Wednesday, Nov. 17. Photo by Dean Hesse.

Agnes Scott College’s first Black graduate, Edna Lowe Swift, class of 1971, seated with her granddaughter Tori Cole Cervantes at the bench dedication ceremony honoring Swift on Wednesday, Nov. 17. Photo by Dean Hesse.

Agnes Scott College dedicated a bench to Edna Lowe Swift, the college’s first Black graduate (1971) during a ceremony on the Woodruff Quadrangle on Wednesday, Nov. 17. Photo by Dean Hesse.

Sydni Perry, class of 2021, sings “Rise Up” during a bench dedication ceremony honoring Agnes Scott College’s first Black graduate Edna Lowe Swift on Wednesday, Nov. 17. Photo by Dean Hesse.

Agnes Scott College President Leocadia I. Zak speaks during a bench dedication ceremony honoring Agnes Scott College’s first Black graduate Edna Lowe Swift on Wednesday, Nov. 17. Photo by Dean Hesse.

Students Leah Spearman and Tatianna Jordan, both class of 2022, perform a dance during a bench dedication ceremony honoring Agnes Scott College’s first Black graduate Edna Lowe Swift on Wednesday, Nov. 17. Photo by Dean Hesse.

Assistant Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Initiatives Regine Jackson speaks during a bench dedication ceremony honoring Agnes Scott College’s first Black graduate Edna Lowe Swift on Wednesday, Nov. 17. Photo by Dean Hesse.

Edna Lowe Swift’s granddaughter, Tori Cole Cervantes, Agnes Scott College President Leocadia I. Zak, Edna Lowe Swift and Swift’s daughter Shanika Swift cut the ribbon on a bench honoring Edna Lowe Swift, Agnes Scott College’s first Black graduate, during a dedication ceremony at the Woodruff Quadrangle on Wednesday, Nov. 17. Photo by Dean Hesse.

Edna Lowe Swift’s granddaughter, Tori Cole Cervantes, Agnes Scott College President Leocadia I. Zak, Edna Lowe Swift and Swift’s daughter Shanika Swift hold bows after cutting the ribbon on a bench honoring Edna Lowe Swift, Agnes Scott College’s first Black graduate, during a dedication ceremony at the Woodruff Quadrangle on Wednesday, Nov. 17. Photo by Dean Hesse.

Belita Stafford Walker, who became Agnes Scott College’s second Black graduate in 1972, stands as she is recognized during the bench dedication ceremony on Wednesday, Nov. 17. Photo by Dean Hesse.

Agnes Scott College Assistant Director, Communications and Operations Office of Internship and Career Development Phoenicia Battle embraces honoree Edna Lowe Swift during the bench dedication ceremony on Wednesday, Nov. 17. Photo by Dean Hesse.

Honoree Edna Lowe Swift reacts after receiving a Kente stole from Agnes Scott College Assistant Director, Communications and Operations Office of Internship and Career Development Phoenicia Battle during the bench dedication ceremony on Wednesday, Nov. 17. Photo by Dean Hesse.

Honoree Edna Lowe Swift’s granddaughter Tori Cole Cervantes looks over a framed feature story on her grandmother from the Agnes Scott alumnae magazine that was presented to Swift during the bench dedication ceremony on Wednesday, Nov. 17. Photo by Dean Hesse.

Edna Lowe Swift reacts to a speaker during a bench dedication ceremony honoring her as Agnes Scott College’s first Black graduate on Wednesday, Nov. 17. Photo by Dean Hesse.

Agnes Scott student Percie Thompson, class of 2022, introduces herself before reciting Audre Lorde’s poem ‘A Litany for Survival’ during a bench dedication ceremony honoring Agnes Scott College’s first Black graduate Edna Lowe Swift on Wednesday, Nov. 17. Photo by Dean Hesse.

Edna Lowe Swift receives a standing ovation as she takes the podium to speak during a bench dedication ceremony honoring her as Agnes Scott College’s first Black graduate on Wednesday, Nov. 17. Photo by Dean Hesse.

Edna Lowe Swift laughs as she makes closing remarks during a bench dedication ceremony in her honor on Wednesday, Nov. 17. Swift said, “This incredible bench has my name on it, but in truth it belongs to everybody who has worked hard to make it a reality and you know who you are. I think the hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings. Agnes Scott has been a blessing to me.” Photo by Dean Hesse.

Edna Lowe Swift is presented a bouquet of flowers from Witkaze (Agnes Scotts Black student association) by Kirnel Grishby, class of 2012 and Tesia Harrison during a bench dedication ceremony honoring Swift as Agnes Scott College’s first Black graduate on Wednesday, Nov. 17. Photo by Dean Hesse.

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