Remembering Beverly Bethune

It is with sadness that Grady College announces the death of Beverly Bethune (ABJ ’50), a Grady College alumna and one of the first female professors to teach at Grady.

“I remember her as a groundbreaking faculty member,” said J. Thomas Russell, who served as dean from 1983 to 2000. “Beverly did much more than just teach photojournalism…and she did that with excellence.”

Bethune joined the Grady College faculty in fall of 1967, after earning a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota-Duluth and a Master’s degree from the University of Florida. While a student at UGA, Bethune was involved with the Zodiac Honor Society and Phi Beta Kappa.

Beverly Bethune looking at a negative sheet
Beverly Bethune looks at a developing proof sheet with a student in this undated photo.

Russell recalls that Bethune spearheaded the movement to make photojournalism a certificate program and helped the College earn a Gannett grant, allowing the department to make improvements and expand. She was also editor of “Six Shooter,”  the NPPA regional publication. She was also one of the first female faculty members to earn tenure.

Bethune conducted research in photojournalism, contributing findings and profiles about daily newspaper photographers. Some of her work was cited in Journalism Quarterly.

Bethune retired in 1991.

Wally Eberhard, an emeritus faculty member who died in 2018, had fond recollections of Bethune when he shared his memories during the Centennial celebration for the College.

Eberhard remembered: “She was one of the best and most committed teachers I’ve come across in a century of academic life.  She taught the then-required Journalism 101 survey to 300 souls….and they loved her and the way she brought them into the material.”

Bethune was also remembered fondly by her former students.

When Eugenia Harvey (ABJ ’82) was profiled for a feature in 2021, she cited Bethune as the reason she changed her major to journalism.

“Dr. Bethune patiently met with me after class and helped navigate, among other things, how to tell my mother that I would, in fact, not become a doctor,” Harvey remembered.

In a separate profile about Yvonne Lamb (ABJ ’75) earlier this year, Lamb again cited the impact of Bethune on her education.

“I will always remember two classes at the Grady College that helped to shape my career as a journalist,” Lamb said. “Dr. Beverly Bethune’s journalism course was one of them. I learned fundamentals that I applied and sharpened over the years. Dr. Bethune’s class prepared me to tackle my first newspaper internship, a stint on the campus newspaper The Red and Black, and the editorship of PAMAJO, the black student newspaper.”

Beverly Bethune talks with Mr. and Mrs. Ernie Hynds at a reception
Beverly Bethune talks with Ernie Hynds, former Department of Journalism Department head, and his wife, Mary Ann, in this undated photo.

Please read her official obituary for more details.