By John Frierson
Along with earning more than 50 career wins in the circle during her five years with the Bulldogs, Georgia softball graduate student Mary Wilson Avant has left a lasting mark on the University of Georgia and the Athens community.
Avant, from Macon, Ga., has been a Student-Athlete Advisory Council representative, a L.E.A.D. inductee, and a member of the SEC Community Service Team, among many honors and activities beyond the diamond.
Community service has been important to her for many years. Back in high school, she started a fundraising drive called Strikeouts for Hunger, in which people would pledge money for every strikeout she got, and the money was donated to the United Way of Central Georgia.
Despite the time demands of being a Georgia student-athlete, Avant said she was intent on continuing to help others during college, as well.
“That was something was something that I knew that I wanted to try to carry throughout college,” she said. “Coming in as a freshman, it’s immediately overwhelming, so I tried to just build up what I was doing each year, working within different organizations that I was in.
“This year, I was the community service committee head for the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, so I was able to really have, hopefully, a bigger impact than I have throughout the past four years.”
Among the important initiatives she’s been involved with at Georgia, and it’s one she initiated, was working with the community shelter Bigger Vision of Athens in its “Abundant Life Program” that provides resources to homeless people in Athens, such as job skills.
Avant has already earned a Marketing degree and is working on her Master’s in Marketing Research. When she’s done playing softball she’ll eventually, after the pandemic, be moving to New York to work for the marketing firm Forethought. Once she’s settled into her new home and new neighborhood, Avant wants to find a way to be over service in New York, too.