Carolina students from McDowell County, North Carolina, now have the opportunity to apply for a scholarship dedicated especially to them, thanks to Anne Hudgins Sullivan Barry and John M. Barry of New Orleans, Louisiana.
The Barrys have established the Daniel Edwards Hudgins and John M. Barry Chapel Hill Scholarship Endowment Fund at UNC-Chapel Hill, a recurring, need-based scholarship that will eventually support up to four students who hail from McDowell and surrounding North Carolina counties. Named after the influential men in Anne’s life, the scholarship honors her husband, best-selling author John M. Barry, and her late father and grandfather — Daniel Edwards Hudgins Sr. and Daniel Edwards Hudgins Jr.
Anne’s grandfather and father both graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill — her father in 1928 and her grandfather in the 1890s — and both were influential figures in their communities of Marion and Greensboro, North Carolina.
Anne’s father, Daniel Edwards Hudgins Jr., left his mark in numerous ways. At Carolina, he was elected as senior class president, and he was a member of the campus YMCA and the Dialectic Society — the first student organization at UNC-Chapel Hill. Later he served as president of the Alumni Association.
After Carolina, he received the Rhodes Scholarship — making him one of only 49 Carolina alumni to receive the prestigious postgraduate scholarship since it was first awarded in 1904. His dedication to his law career was equally matched by his service to the people of Greensboro, North Carolina.
As chairman of the school board, his prompt endorsement of the 1954 Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education led the way for a better community and a better country. As reported in a 1991 article in the Greensboro News & RecordOpens in new window, within 24 hours after the Supreme Court outlawed segregated schools, “the Greensboro board became the first in the state to pass a resolution promising compliance. The result was national publicity.” Another Greensboro News & Record articleOpens in new window from 1994 stated that “the board’s decision became North Carolina’s — and possibly the South’s — first official supporting vote to the Brown ruling by a school board.”
Although Anne never had the chance to meet her grandfather — he passed away while her father was in college — she is just as proud of his legacy. An attorney who often practiced with Sam Ervin, Daniel Hudgins Sr. is remembered for his generosity and his belief in the importance of education. At one point, the high school in Marion, North Carolina, was named after him.
“My grandfather cared about education more than anything in the world,” Anne avowed.
Anne’s husband, John M. Barry, The New York Times best-selling author of The Great Influenza and Rising Tide, among other works, knows firsthand how important a scholarship can be. He attended Brown University on a full scholarship.
“I can certainly appreciate what a scholarship means,” he said. “I wouldn’t have been able to afford college without it.”
Beyond their passion for education, Anne’s grandfather, father and husband all have at least one other thing in common.
It is part of Hudgins family lore that Anne’s grandfather played for Carolina’s first football team, fielded in 1888, which is certainly possible — he is listed as a letterman in 1891. Her father was manager of the 1927 Tar Heels football team; and her husband, John, was a football coach at Tulane in 1973. (And John really enjoys bringing up that Tulane beat Carolina 16 – 0 that year.)
Anne, who grew up in Greensboro and went to Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania, might not like to talk about herself, but her own career is arguably as impressive as the careers of her predecessors. She worked in Senator Sam Ervin’s office in Washington, D.C. for almost 20 years, and when he retired, she worked for Greensboro Congressman Richardson Preyer. During her tenure in politics, she wrote the Guide to the Privacy and Freedom of Information Act of 1974 as well as the Small Business Innovation, Research and Development Act of 1982, which has been hailed for its role in spurring the development of new technology companies.
Now, Anne and John divide their time between New Orleans, Louisiana, and Washington, D.C. They may live far from North Carolina, but the state where Anne grew up is never far from mind.
Five years ago, Anne and John visited Marion, North Carolina. The house where her grandfather and father grew up still stands, but little else of their legacy remains. Anne and John hope that by establishing this scholarship, they can help support the next generation of future leaders, who will make their own marks on the world.