Edythe Evelyn Gandy (LL.B. ’43) has been elected to the Mississippi Hall of Fame by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH) board of trustees in a special December meeting. Born in 1920, Gandy is a 1943 graduate of the University of Mississippi School of Law and the first female elected Lieutenant Governor of Mississippi.
She was elected to the state legislature in 1947 and was a pioneer for women in Mississippi politics becoming the first female to serve as assistant attorney general, commissioner of public welfare, state treasurer, commissioner of insurance, and lieutenant governor. As an elected official, Gandy was a champion for women’s rights and fought for advances in education and health care.
While at Ole Miss Law, Gandy was the only female in her law school class, the first female editor of the Mississippi Law Journal, and the first woman to be elected president of the Law School Student Body.
She was nominated for this honor by William “Brother” Rogers, director of the Stennis Center for Public Service in Starkville. “Evelyn Gandy was the most significant trailblazer for women political leaders in Mississippi and a strong, effective leader for us all,” said Rogers in a release by the MDAH. “This honor is a fitting tribute to her lifetime of public service. Her outstanding career shows why we need more women to seek public office in our state.”
Each year, the Mississippi Bar Women in the Profession Committee hosts the Evelyn Gandy Lecture Series, a CLE lectureship for women lawyers named for the late lieutenant governor. The committee also sponsors 2L and 3L female law students from both the University of Mississippi School of Law and Mississippi College School of Law to attend the series.
Gandy died in 2007 at the age of 87. Fellow inductees in the 2016 Mississippi Hall of Fame Class are James D. Hardy, who performed the first lung transplant; Aaron Henry, civil rights leader and legislator; Elvis Aaron Presley, the “king of rock and roll;” and Ida B. Wells, an award-winning journalist and women’s rights activist.
Only 136 Mississippians are in the Hall of Fame. Elections are held every five years and only five nominees can be elected at a time. Nominees must be a native or adopted Mississippian and deceased at least five year. Portraits of Hall of Fame members are hung throughout the Old Capitol Building in Jackson.