Franklin Brittain Matthews awards Legacy Award

Published: November 16, 2022

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The Auburn Black Alumni Council recently announced the creation of an award to spotlight the excellence and exceptional achievements of outstanding Black alumni.

The Franklin Brittain Matthews Legacy Award, named for Harold A. Franklin and Josetta Brittain Matthews, is a unique opportunity to recognize and honor outstanding Black alumni who are stellar leaders to the Auburn University community, their college and schools and in their local communities through professional, volunteer or personal contributions.

Harold A. Franklin ’20

Franklin was the first Black student to integrate Auburn in 1964 as a master’s student, but left before completing his degree. He later earned a master’s degree in international studies from the University of Denver and enjoyed a 27-year career teaching in higher education. Franklin was recognized for his important contribution to Auburn history with an honorary doctorate in 2001 and was allowed to defend his thesis and receive his long-sought master’s from Auburn in 2020.

Josetta Brittain Matthews ’66

Matthews made history as Auburn's first Black student to earn a degree from Auburn with a master’s in 1966 and later a doctorate in 1975, both in education. She later became the first full-time Black faculty member at Auburn University when she joined the College of Liberal Arts as a history instructor in 1972. The Auburn Board of Trustees awarded her an honorary doctorate in 2005, and the Josetta Brittain Matthews residence hall was named in her honor in 2021.

Read more about the award and nomination criteria here.

Submitted by: Derek Herscovici