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As one looks back for unsung heroes among natives whom Buford should acknowledge and identify, the name of Grace Hadaway stands tall. From humble beginnings and early struggle at the depth of the Great Depression of the 1930s to Ph.D. and college professor, she triumphed over difficulty and achieved goals considered beyond the reach in such circumstances. With her brilliant mind, resolute determination and pure work ethic, she beat the odds.

Hadaway earned a two-year associate degree from Reinhardt College, A.B. degree from LaGrange College, M.A. degree from the University of Georgia and Ph.D. from UGA. She taught at Reinhardt College, the University of Georgia, Mississippi State University and Monmouth College in Monmouth, Illinois. Her name is listed on LaGrange College’s Wall of Outstanding Alumni.

Grace was born in Buford on Dec, 19, 1925, the fourth of five children of Beulah Bennett Hadaway and Elton Olive Hadaway. Grace’s father died when she was 5 years old, just three months before she was to enter first grade in Buford Public Schools. Grace’s mother supported the family by working at the Bona Allen horse collar factory. Her older sister, Ruth, who had just graduated from high school, helped by working at the Bona Allen shoe factory.

Grace began first grade in 1931 and was a consistent honor roll student through elementary and junior high. She graduated from junior high (seventh grade) as first honor graduate. After the eighth grade, she was forced to drop out of school for two years to care for her sister Ruth Brackett’s baby daughter Jean. The shoe factory, where her sister worked, closed in October 1941 and Grace was able to go back to school.

For a while, she had a part-time job at school under the federal program the National Youth Administration. Recognized as an outstanding, mature high school student, she was assigned to work with advanced reading pupils of Miss Daisy Shadburn’s first grade and Miss Mozelle Fletcher’s second grade. From this experience, she became interested in teaching as a career.

During her sophomore year, Grace worked after school hours at a small store and lunchroom owned by Mr. Guy Bennett. The lunchroom served suppers to night shift workers employed at the nearby shoe factory, which was then being operated by the U.S. Army repairing army shoes. The following summer she worked a night shift job at the army shoe factory. When school started she continued to work at night and attend school full time. She graduated from Buford High School in 1945 as valedictorian of her class.

Grace has said she owes her determination to go to college to Buford school superintendent A. L. Clark, who recognized her potential and offered counsel and encouragement. He also recommended her for special college scholarships. She was then able to attend Reinhardt College in Waleska, Georgia, a two-year college, where she graduated in 1947 as valedictorian.

While a student at Reinhardt College, Grace worked part time in the office of President J. R. Burgess Jr. When she was ready to graduate, Burgess helped her secure a scholarship that allowed her to attend LaGrange College for her final two undergraduate years. She received her A.B. degree there in 1949. She then returned to Reinhardt to teach and was a faculty member there, teaching English and French, for four years. She spent her summers at the University of Georgia in Athens working toward an M.A. degree in English. She completed this degree in 1952.

Also in 1952, she married Dean Boswell, a math professor at Reinhardt. Both she and Dean taught at Reinhardt for one year and then moved to Athens to pursue doctoral degrees at the University of Georgia.

During a four-year stay there, Grace taught in the English department for a time and then studied full time for a year on an Alumni Foundation Fellowship. Her husband received his Ph.D. in mathematics in 1957, and they moved from Athens to Mississippi State University, where both taught for the next five years. Grace received her Ph.D. in English at the University of Georgia in 1960.

In 1962, the Boswells moved to Monmouth, Illinois, to teach at Monmouth College where Dean also served as head of the department of mathematics. In 1965, the family added a son, James Elton, and in 1968 a daughter, Deanna Grace.

Monmouth College awarded both Grace and Dean sabbatical leaves for the academic year 1969-1970 to study in England. They spent that year at the University of Warwick in Coventry. Grace attended seminars and lectures of her choice. She also had an opportunity to experience the English university system when she was invited to serve as tutor for a group of six students. After a delightful year in England, the Boswells returned to Monmouth.

In 1977, Grace’s husband became vice president of academic affairs and dean of the College at Rocky Mountain College in Billings, Montana, and the family moved west. Grace was a full-time mother except for answering occasional requests to teach.

Her husband later filled positions at Upper Iowa University and at Jacksonville State necessitating moves to Fayette, Iowa, and Jacksonville, Alabama, before retirement.

Grace and Dean were living in retirement in Colorado in 2010. 

Handsel Morgan

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