Honoring 10 women of peerless valor, altruism and intellect

To commemorate the Savannah Women of Vision and their profound impact on the community, SCAD commissioned alumnus Michael Porten (M.F.A. painting, B.F.A. illustration) to create large-scale relief portraits of the honorees.

About the Artist

Mary Musgrove Matthews Bosomworth

(ca. 1700-ca. 1765)
Mary Musgrove Matthews Bosomworth was a pivotal interpreter, negotiator and cultural liaison between the English colonists and the local Native Americans. Notably, General James Oglethorpe and Chief Tomochichi were only able to communicate and reach accord through Bosomworth’s multilingual prowess and adroit diplomacy.

Abigail Minis

(1701-1794)
Abigail Minis, known as the “mother of Savannah’s Jewish community,” numbered among the first 40 Jewish settlers to arrive in Savannah, where she became a founding member of the U.S.’s third-oldest Jewish congregation. She was also a staunch supporter of the American Revolution, supplying the defenders of Savannah with money, food, ammunition and uniforms.

Mother Mathilda Beasley

(1832-1903)
Mother Mathilda Beasley, Georgia’s first African-American nun, once ran a secret, illegal school to educate African-American children during the mid 1800s. Mother Beasley went on to donate her considerable estate to the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in order to establish the St. Francis Home for Colored Orphans, which she operated for the remainder of her life. She also founded Georgia’s first group of African-American nuns, the Third Order of St. Francis.

Juliette Gordon Low

(1860-1927)
Juliette Gordon Low formed the American Girl Guides patrol in Savannah with 18 registrants in 1912. This group, now known as the Girl Scouts, includes approximately 3 million members in 92 countries and nearly 60 million alumnae. Today, Low remains an inspiration to generations of Girl Scouts, embodying the courage, confidence and character to which the troops aspire.

Flannery O'Connor

(1925-1964)
Born in Savannah, Flannery O’Connor is one of the most respected writers of the 20th century. Her short stories, novels, correspondence and essays earned her numerous accolades including three O. Henry Awards, the National Book Award, grants from the Ford Foundation and the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Rinehart-Iowa Fiction Award, a Kenyon Review Fellowship and inclusion in the Best American Short Stories anthology.

Nancy N. Lewis

(b.1927)
Nancy N. Lewis and her family continue to give and work in the name of public education, art and health. Local secondary learning academies and bastions of higher education, including SCAD, have benefited from her support. Since the opening of the Nancy N. and J.C. Lewis Cancer & Research Pavilion at St. Joseph’s Candler, Savannah has become known for its elite patient care.

Emma Morel Adler

(b.1930)
Emma Morel Adler has served on the Savannah-Chatham County Board of Education, the Georgia Humanities Council, the Lucas Theatre for the Arts board and the Savannah Council on World Affairs, securing Savannah’s future through public education, cultural stewardship and historic preservation, of which she is an ardent and outspoken national advocate. In Savannah, the Massie Heritage Center shines as Adler’s masterpiece.

Frances Wong

(1940-2010)
Frances Wong was a lifelong educator. After a celebrated career in the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System — where she was beloved by thousands of schoolchildren and their parents — she joined higher education and spent 10 years in administrative leadership roles at SCAD, including as vice president for academic services and vice president for student affairs.

Alice Andrews Jepson

(b.1942)
Alice Andrews Jepson has a passion for local education, health care, art and culture. The Bethesda Academy, the Jepson Center for the Arts, the Jepson House Education Center, Memorial University Medical Center, the Savannah Country Day School, Savannah Philharmonic, the SCAD Museum of Art and others stand as testaments to her positive influence and generous investment in the community.

Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears, retired

(b.1955)
Former chief justice of the Supreme Court of Georgia, Leah Ward Sears, was the first woman and youngest person to sit on the state’s highest court, as well as the first African American to serve as chief justice on any supreme court in the United States. She is currently a partner and practice group leader at Schiff Hardin.

Come and be inspired

See commissioned portraits celebrating Savannah’s Women of Vision and learn more about this elite cadre of trailblazers who profoundly transformed the city’s cultural, political and social landscape.