Verdelle Bellamy, a national leader in veteran healthcare, and one of the first two African Americans to earn a degree from Emory University in Atlanta, died on April 22. She was 88 years old.
Bellamy was a native of Birmingham, Alabama. She earned a bachelor’s degree at Tuskegee University in Alabama. In 1963, she received a master’s degree in nursing from Emory University. She was one of two Black students to earn a degree that day, the first African Americans to earn degrees from the university.
After graduating from Emory, Bellamy became the first African American administrator at the Atlanta VA Medical Center. She worked there until her retirement in 1998, rising to become chief of long-term care nursing at the facility. In 1974, Bellamy became the first African American to receive a gubernatorial appointment to the Georgia Board of Nursing.
In 2005, Bellamy was awarded the Emory Medal, the highest honored awarded to university alumni.