A native of Marshallville, Georgia and a 1943 alumna of Fort Valley State University (FVSU), Dr. Anne Richardson Gayles-Felton has dedicated much of her life to the field of education through both teaching and philanthropy. Born into a family of educators, Dr. Gayles-Felton began her love of learning as a young student in the public school system of Chicago. She would later attend Lamson Richardson, a congregationalist boarding school founded in 1886 in her hometown of Marshville by her grandmother, Anna Wade Richardson.
She would go on to graduate from FVSU with a degree in secondary education and social sciences becoming the first alumnus to make multiple six-figure gifts to the university exceeding a total of $600,000. Today, the FVSU campus includes an academic building named in her honor – the Anne Richardson Gayles-Felton Academic Classroom and Laboratory.
After earning a bachelor’s degree from FVSU, she would continue her passion and pursuit of education at Teachers College, Columbia University graduating with a Master of Arts degree; and a Doctor of Education degree from Indiana University. She also pursued studies at other prestigious institutions including Florida A&M University (FAMU), Oregon State University, Florida State University and Harvard University.
Dr. Gayles-Felton’s extensive professional background in education spanned 55 years where she taught at all academic levels throughout the country. She retired in 2003 after serving decades at FAMU in a variety of roles including Undergraduate and Graduate Professor of Secondary Education and Foundations, College Supervisor of Interns, Director of Student Teaching, Curriculum Coordinator, and Head of the Department of Secondary Education and Foundations.
Dr. Gayles-Felton is the recipient of numerous high honors including induction as a Distinguished Member of the National Association of Teacher Educators. Her outstanding generosity has been felt across multiple universities through various gifts to scholarships and educational funds that have helped countless students realize their dream of receiving an education. Her life-long commitment to educating others and devotion to nurturing Historically Black Colleges and Institutions will be forever legendary and inspirational.