Coker Alumna receives Honorary Doctorate

    Coker Alumna receives Honorary Doctorate


    Hellen Jeanette Jackson received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Coker University on December 8, 2023, at Winter Commencement. 

    Hellen Jackson was born in Chambers County, Alabama, in 1931. She lived in Alabama until the
    age of five when her family moved to Arkansas. After one year in Arkansas, her family moved to
    Hartsville, South Carolina. Hellen graduated valedictorian of her class, Hartsville High School,
    in 1947 at the age of 16.

    Hellen attended Coker College and received scholarship support from “unknown friends” in
    Hartsville. Hellen’s sister, Lemerle, had begun at Coker two years prior (and graduated from
    Coker in 1949). Hellen began Coker in 1947 and graduated in 1951, majoring in History and
    Spanish. Hellen was editor of the Coker College newspaper her senior year. She also served on
    the May Court in 1951 and has kept her beautiful May Court dress on display as
    a reminder of her wonderful years at Coker.

    Following graduation from Coker, Hellen received a master’s degree in History from Emory
    University in Atlanta in 1953. She also began teaching History and Spanish at Carrollton High
    School (Georgia) in the fall of 1952. While at Carrollton High School, Hellen was the faculty
    liaison to the yearbook staff and the student newspaper staff.

    In 1963, Hellen left Carrollton High School and went to West Georgia College (also in
    Carrollton) for 29 years. Among other history courses, Hellen taught English History and
    introduced Women’s History to West Georgia College. While at West Georgia, Hellen
    completed all of her course work towards her Ph.D. in history at Auburn University and had
    begun writing her dissertation. She had to stop, however, because of family illness.

    Hellen retired from West Georgia College in 1992 and stepped down from a teaching career that
    spanned 40 years. Upon retirement, she received an accommodation from the Georgia House of
    Representatives recognizing 40 years of teaching. She was also awarded the title of Assistant
    Professor Emerita by the Board of Regents and honored by the Mayor of Carrollton who
    proclaimed “Hellen Jackson Recognition Day” shortly thereafter.