In the spring of 1949, at a meeting of the Gupton-Jones College, it was decided to establish Alumni Clubs in the southeast to serve as a means of continuing education. The college’s first club was a joint North Carolina and South Carolina Organization; Georgia was founded next and then Florida, Tennessee and Kentucky. On Halloween night in 1954 at the Westview Cemetery, the Georgia Alumni Club, with A.R. King as President, voted to reorganize and establish an institution open to all licensed embalmers to promote continuing education and fellowship.
At a meeting held at the Biltmore Hotel the Chairmen of the Reorganization Committee A.R. King, Jr. of Macon, the President of the Gupton-Jones Alumni Association, and J. Hoke Smith of Tifton called the meeting to order and on that day, May 5, 1955, at 2:00 PM the Academy of Graduate Embalmers of Georgia was born.
In effort to continue the Academy’s means of higher education for funeral service during the annual academy held on April 18, 1989, the Richard L. Stewart Memorial Scholarship Fund was established. The fund is to honor Mr. Richard L. Stewart, a pioneer in funeral service education who was very active in founding the academy and for several years taught on the faculty of the Gupton-Jones College of Funeral Service. He later founded the Georgia Casket Company in Macon.
Selection of the scholarship recipient is comprehensive to GPA, attendance and good work ethics within the funeral homes where they are employed. Also the recipient needs to have demonstrated qualities of professionalism, which is very vital to the success in funeral service today.