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Remembering Rosalynn Carter, '46

Georgia Southwestern State University is mourning the loss of former First Lady Rosalynn Carter '46 who passed away on Sunday, November 19, 2024 at the age of 96. She was very special to this campus, to our community, and to those all over the world. She leaves a legacy far too grand to be explained. We will always remember her incredible accomplishments and dedication to service, and will continue to build on her legacy of advocacy. We will never forget what she means to this University.


Rosalynn Carter as a student at GSW

Mrs. Carter began her leadership journey on Georgia Southwestern’s campus in 1945, where she served as Vice President of her class, a founding member of the Young Democrats Club, and a Campus Marshal. She was a "day student," traveling back and forth from Plains to Americus every day for classes. She also participated in the Tumbling Club. She graduated in Spring 1946 earning a Junior College Diploma. Mrs. Carter remained an active alumna receiving multiple awards and returning for speaking engagements. 

She is pictured here at far left with her fellow class representatives in 1946.



Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregivers

As First Lady, Mrs. Carter became an advocate for mental illness and caregiving. This work continued long after the White House when she established the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregivers on GSW’s campus in 1987 and took her dream of supporting caregivers nationwide. Mrs. Carter's dear friends, John and Betty Pope, created a scholarship at GSW for students who were either pursuing an education in the caregiving field or had a personal/professional caregiving experience.

The Carters are pictured here with Pope Fellows in 2018.

Rosalynn Carter Health and Human Sciences Complex

Two buildings on GSW's campus bear her name as part of the Rosalynn Carter Health and Human Sciences Complex, with a bronze statue of Mrs. Carter placed in front. The two-phase project, Carter I and Carter II, cost an estimated $15 million. Carter I, completed in 2011, included the construction of a 46,000 square foot, state-of-the-art classroom and clinical space for the College of Nursing and Health Sciences. Carter II, completed in 2012, was the 35,000 square foot construction of the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregivers, the psychology and sociology department, and additional lab space for the sciences. 

Pictured here is Carter I which houses GSW's School of Nursing.

Carter I, Nursing Building
Rosalynn Carter Awards

In 2006, the Carters received the Excellence in Philanthropy Award, and in 1975, Mrs. Carter was recognized as the first recipient of GSW's Aeolian Award recognizing distinguished alumni in their respective fields. Nominated by GSW in 1987, Mrs. Carter received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, and in 2001, GSW awarded Mrs. Carter an honorary Doctory of Humane Letters degree. In 2011, Mrs. Carter earned the Regents Hall of Fame Alumni Award from the University System of Georgia after her nomination by GSW.

The Carters receive the Excellence in Philanthropy award from the (late) Betty Pope.

Wreath-laying Service
Media Inquiries
Tribute Site
Condolence Book

A wreath-laying service will take place on Monday, November 27 at 11:00am in front of Carter I of the Rosalynn Carter Health and Human Sciences Complex. GSW President Neal Weaver and RCI CEO Jennifer Olsen will place two wreaths at Mrs. Carter's bronze statue.

The public viewing area will be in front of the Education Center only. Please note that Glessner Street and GSW Drive will be closed from approximately 10:00am-12:00pm. The parking lots for Carter I & II and Magnolia II/Education will be blocked off. Additional parking will be available in the Library, Storm Dome, and softball/baseball field lots. 

Wreath-laying Map

All media requests and inquiries should be made to The Carter Center by emailing

GSW questions and interviews can be made to GSW's Department of University Relations by emailing

The family's official online condolence book, schedule updates, official bio, and a tribute to Rosalynn Carter's life and legacy can be found at

A condolence book will be available to sign at Georgia Southwestern State University inside Carter I of the Rosalynn Carter Health and Human Sciences Complex. Hours are as follows:

  • Friday, November 24 - 12:00pm to 6:00pm
  • Saturday, November 25 - 10:00am to 3:00pm
  • Sunday, November 26- 10:00am to 3:00pm
  • Monday, November 27 - 12:00pm to 6:00pm
  • Tuesday, November 28 - 9:00am to 6:00pm
  • Wednesday, November 29 - 9:00am to 6:00pm