Dr. Marshalyn Yeargin-Allsopp SBC

Dr. Marshalyn Yeargin-Allsopp

Thumbs up to Dr. Marshalyn Yeargin-Allsopp, associate director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who will be Sweet Briar College’s graduation speaker next month when the Amherst school sends the Class of 2019 into the world.

Yeargin-Allsopp occupies a prominent role in Sweet Briar’s history. In the 1960s, the school and its board of directors went to court in Amherst County to break the provision of the college founder’s will that established Sweet Briar but specifically excluded women of color from being admitted. After a long legal battle, a judge granted the college’s motion and nullified the provision excluding African Americans.

The first African American woman to be admitted as a student? That’s right. Dr. Marshalyn Yeargin-Allsopp. At the age of 17, she entered Sweet Briar College in 1966, graduating just two years later. She went on to make more history by becoming the first African American woman to be admitted to Emory University School of Medicine.

In 1981, she joined the staff of the CDC in Atlanta and is now the associate director for children with special health care needs, operating in the Division of Congenital and Developmental Disorders. She’s recognized as one of the country’s leading experts on autism and other childhood developmental disorders.

A member of the Sweet Briar board of directors, Yeargin-Allsopp will be on campus May 18 to send a new class of SBC alumnae into the world to make their own marks, just as she did one spring day back in 1968.

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Thumbs up to the organizers of the first-ever Celebrate Old Town Amherst, scheduled for the last Saturday in April in the Amherst County seat.

The downtown street festival will kick off April 27 at 11 a.m., and various sites will be staged along South Main Street and Second Street.

Linda Gurtler and Colleen Martinez, two members of the Village Garden Club, were planning the club’s annual Garden Fest plant sale when they noticed how many other events were also going on that day in town: a steak-and-chicken dinner fundraiser for the fire department, a cruise-in for antique cars and a church’s annual yard sale.

Everything just sort of fell together when the pair approached the club about one large event held throughout the town. As of now, there are 20 vendors from the county who’ll be setting up shop in the town hall parking lot and selling a variety of pottery and arts and crafts. There will also be a number of musical events throughout the day.

If you’d like more information about Celebrate Old Town Amherst and the events going on that day, download the schedule and map of events at www.AmherstVa.gov.

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