Ivan Allen Jr. Prize for Social Courage Recipients to Be Honored for Being Pioneers in Classroom and Beyond

The late Hamilton Holmes and Charlayne Hunter-Gault have been named recipients of Georgia Tech’s 2020 Ivan Allen Jr. Prize for Social Courage, which will be presented on February 5, 2020. 

The Ivan Allen Jr. Prize honors those who have made a positive difference by standing up for moral principle at the risk of their careers, livelihoods, and even their lives. Dr. Holmes and Hunter-Gault, both Atlanta natives, showed significant courage by enrolling as the first African American students at the University of Georgia (UGA) — in the midst of segregation in higher education. Both awardees went on to lead courageous, inspirational lives as role models in their fields of medicine and journalism.

Holmes was an orthopedic surgeon in Atlanta. He was also the first African American student admitted to the Emory University School of Medicine, where he earned his medical degree in 1967. He completed his residency at Emory after serving in the military and later became an associate dean. Additionally, he worked as chief of orthopedics at the Atlanta Veterans Administration hospital, in private practice, and as chairman of orthopedic surgery at Grady Memorial Hospital.

Holmes died at his home in Atlanta in 1995. He left a lasting legacy in the city, with several Atlanta landmarks named in his honor, including Hamilton E. Holmes Elementary School, Hamilton E. Holmes Drive, and the H.E. Holmes MARTA station.

Hunter-Gault is an award-winning journalist and author. She has worked as a reporter for The New Yorker, The New York Times, and PBS NewsHour, where she currently contributes to the “Race Matters” series looking at solutions to racism. She has also worked as Africa correspondent for National Public Radio and South Africa bureau chief for CNN. Hunter-Gault has received numerous awards for journalism, including two national news and documentary Emmy Awards and two George Foster Peabody Awards.

She has also been recognized by numerous organizations, including the National Urban Coalition and the American Women in Radio and Television. She was named Journalist of the Year by the National Association of Black Journalists and received the Washington Press Club Foundation’s 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2015, Hunter-Gault was also inducted into the Atlanta Press Club Hall of Fame. 

The Ivan Allen Jr. Prize will be presented during a daylong series of events, starting with a symposium at the Biltmore Ballrooms in Tech Square. The symposium is open to the public and will focus on how personal courage influences social impact and creates inspirational role models for the next generation.

The symposium will be moderated by Marian Alexis Scott, veteran Atlanta journalist and publisher. Panelists will include:

·      Dr. Jim Bootle, son of Judge William Bootle, who issued the ruling that admitted Holmes and Hunter-Gault to UGA.

·      Valerie Boyd, UGA professor and the Charlayne Hunter-Gault Distinguished Writer in Residence.

·      Steve CarMichael Jones, United States district judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia and a former Georgia Superior Court judge.

·      Michelle Garfield Cook, vice provost for Diversity and Inclusion and Strategic University Initiatives, and chief diversity officer at UGA.

·      Tom Johnson, journalist and former CNN president.

·      Dr. Arthur Yancey, a retired faculty member in the Emory University School of Medicine and practicing emergency physician at Grady Memorial Hospital, an Emergency Medical Services medical director for Fulton County and deputy director for Emergency Medical Services in the Fulton County Department of Health and Wellness.

The day also includes an invitation-only awards luncheon and student-only town hall forum with Hunter-Gault in the Student Center Theater.

The inaugural Ivan Allen Jr. Prize in Social Courage was awarded in 2011 to former Sen. Sam Nunn. Past recipients include former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and first lady Rosalynn Carter, U.S. Rep. John Lewis, humanitarian activist Nancy Parrish, and former Ambassador Andrew Young. The award is named for Georgia Tech alumnus and former Atlanta Mayor Ivan Allen Jr., after whom Georgia Tech’s Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts is also named. It is funded in perpetuity by a grant from the Wilbur and Hilda Glenn Family Foundation. This year’s recipients will share a $100,000 prize.

For additional information, go to https://ivanallenprize.gatech.edu/

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  • Charlayne Hunter-Gault to receive the Ivan Allen Jr. Prize for Social Courage

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