Georgia Institute of Technology will honor Congressman John Lewis – an icon of American civil rights – as a recipient of the Ivan Allen Jr. Prize for Social Courage during events to be held April 4, 2013. View the program.
“John Lewis put his life on the line for many years during the 1960s to bring about equality under the law for all Americans. His unflinching civil rights leadership and ongoing advocacy for social change throughout his career have elevated the causes of human rights around the world,” said Georgia Institute of Technology President G.P. “Bud” Peterson. “It is our privilege to honor the life and work of Congressman Lewis through the Ivan Allen Jr. Prize for Social Courage.”
Lewis became known around the world at the age of 25 when he called on President Lyndon Johnson for federal intervention following a brutal attack on peaceful protesters by law enforcement near Selma, Alabama. Lewis’ appeal on that “Bloody Sunday,” March 7, 1965, turned public opinion against those trying to maintain the old social order of the South and moved President Johnson two days later to present to Congress what would become the Voting Rights Act.
“Congressman Lewis is one among us who has had the discipline and tenacity to stand tall, even in the face of physical danger, and he continues the struggle to change the world and make it a better place. His courage in the non-violent movement for civil rights and his ongoing work to build communities of trust provide both a watermark and a signpost in the quest for human rights and human dignity in our world,” said Jacqueline J. Royster, dean of the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts.
Lewis was one of the “Big Six” leaders of the Civil Rights Movement. He is the last surviving keynote speaker from the 1963 March on Washington, of which he was a core architect. Lewis’ impact on civil rights for African-Americans included advocating desegregation laws and voters’ rights. A founding member and president of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), Lewis planned and led many of their activities. His personal courage was first evident when he led student sit-ins that resulted in the public accommodation of African-Americans at Nashville restaurants. He was one of the original 13 Freedom Riders who challenged legally sanctioned segregation on interstate buses. Despite repeated attacks on his dignity, physical beatings and arrests, Lewis remained staunchly committed to nonviolent work for social change.
Lewis was elected a U.S. Congressman from Georgia in 1986 and represents the state’s Fifth Congressional District including Atlanta and parts of four surrounding counties. He has remained an outspoken advocate for domestic and international social and human rights issues. As recently as 2009, he was arrested at the embassy of Sudan, where he was protesting the obstruction of aid to refugees in Darfur.
The Ivan Allen Jr. Prize for Social Courage recognizes individuals such as Lewis who, by standing up for clear moral principles in the social arena, have positively affected public discourse at the risk of their own careers, livelihoods and even their lives. The Prize is endowed in perpetuity by the Wilbur and Hilda Glenn Family Foundation.
Past Recipients of the Prize
William Foege is an American epidemiologist who worked in the successful campaign to eradicate smallpox in the 1970s. Dr. Foege became chief of the Smallpox Eradication Program of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and was appointed director of the CDC in 1977. He attended Pacific Lutheran University, received his medical degree from the University of Washington, and his master's degree in public health from Harvard University.
In 1984, Foege and several colleagues formed the Task Force for Child Survival, a working group for the World Health Organization, UNICEF, The World Bank, the United Nations Development Program, and the Rockefeller Foundation. Its success in accelerating childhood immunization led to an expansion of its mandate in 1991 to include other issues that diminish the quality of life for children.
Dr. Foege joined The Carter Center in 1986 as its executive director, fellow for health policy and executive director of Global 2000. In 1992, he resigned as executive director of The Carter Center but continued in his role as a fellow and as executive director of the Task Force for Child Survival and Development. In January 1997, he joined the faculty of Emory University, where he is presidential distinguished professor of international health at the Rollins School of Public Health. In September 1999, Dr. Foege became a senior medical adviser for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He retired from both Emory and the Gates Foundation in December 2001. In October 1999, Dr. Foege resigned as executive director of the Task Force for Child Survival and Development.
Dr. Foege has championed many issues, but child survival and development, injury prevention, population, preventive medicine, and public health leadership are of special interest, particularly in the developing world. He is a strong proponent of disease eradication and control and has taken an active role in the eradication of Guinea worm disease, polio, and measles and the elimination of river blindness. By writing and lecturing extensively, Dr. Foege has succeeded in broadening public awareness of these issues and bringing them to the forefront of domestic and international health policies.
Dr. Foege has received many awards, holds honorary degrees from numerous institutions, and was named a fellow of the London School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene in 1997. He remains active in many organizations and is on the Advisory Board for the Emory University Global Health Institute and Professor Emeritus, Rollins School of Public Health at Emory.
The author of more than 125 professional publications, Dr. Foege’s recent book, House on Fire (University of California Press, June 2011) tells the story of how smallpox, a disease that killed, blinded, and scarred millions over centuries of human history, was completely eradicated in a spectacular triumph of medicine and public health.
Sam Nunn is co-chairman and chief executive officer of the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), a charitable organization working to reduce the global threats from nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons. He served as a United States senator from Georgia for 24 years (1972-1996) and is retired from the law firm of King & Spalding.
During his 24-year tenure in Congress, Nunn served as chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. In this capacity, he was the guiding force in reshaping American policy toward the former Soviet Union in the wake of the break-up of the Soviet Empire. The Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program, which provides assistance to Russia and the former Soviet republics for securing and destroying their excess nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, has been hailed as “the most significant congressional achievement in nuclear affairs since the dawn of the nuclear age.”
Although Nunn retired from the U.S. Senate in 1996, he has continued to provide leadership against the dangers of terrorism and nuclear weapons. Together with fellow Georgian and CNN founder Ted Turner, he established the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), a non-profit, nonpartisan organization that focuses on reducing global threats from weapons of mass destruction. NTI will be will be celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2011, having made significant achievements with a lasting legacy to make the world a safer place.
NTI triggered significant U.S. and global funding for securing loose nuclear bomb-making material through its bold initiative to remove vulnerable materials from Yugoslavia. The organization also conceived of and helped create the first international organization focused on nuclear security, the World Institute for Nuclear Security. Most recently, NTI, through the generosity of Warren Buffett, supported the development of an international nuclear fuel bank, which gives countries an alternative to producing their own nuclear fuel and avoiding the introduction of technology that can be used either for peaceful reactors or for creating bombs.
In an effort to galvanize global support for and action on the vision of a world free of nuclear weapons and the urgent steps needed to reach that goal, Nunn joined former Secretary of State George P. Shultz, former Defense Secretary William J. Perry and former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger. Their Wall Street Journal op-ed in 2007 reframed the terms of the global debate on nuclear issues.
Nunn serves as chairman of the board of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C. In addition to his work with NTI and CSIS, Nunn is also co-chair of the Euro-Atlantic Security Initiative (EASI), an international commission sponsored by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, aimed at identifying the challenges and opportunities for strengthening cooperation in Euro-Atlantic security.
Raised in the small town of Perry, in middle Georgia, he attended Georgia Tech, Emory University, and Emory Law School, where he graduated with honors in 1962. After active duty service in the U.S. Coast Guard, he served six years in the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve. He first entered politics as a member of the Georgia House of Representatives in 1968.
During his tenure in the U.S. Senate, Senator Nunn served as chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. He also served on the Intelligence and Small Business Committees. His legislative achievements include the landmark Department of Defense Reorganization Act, drafted with the late Senator Barry Goldwater, and the “Nunn-Lugar” Cooperative Threat Reduction Program, which provides assistance to Russia and the former Soviet republics for securing and destroying their excess nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons.
Senator Nunn is Distinguished Professor in The Sam Nunn School of International Affairs in Georgia Tech’s Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts. He received an honorary Doctor of Philosophy from Georgia Tech in 2008 and was the recipient of the Ivan Allen Jr. Prize for Progress and Service in 2004. He is a board member of the following publicly-held corporations: Chevron Corporation, The Coca-Cola Company, Dell Inc., and General Electric Company. He is married to the former Colleen O'Brien and has two children, Michelle and Brian, and two grandchildren.
Awarded annually from 2001-2010, the Ivan Allen Jr. Prize for Progress and Service has honored individuals who have contributed to the progress of American civilization through his or her service to a field or profession associated with the academic disciplines taught in the Ivan Allen College. Recipients: Senator Zell Miller (2001), President Jimmy Carter (2002), the late columnist Molly Ivins (2003), Senator Sam Nunn (2004), electronic games innovator Will Wright (2005), civil rights and business leader Jesse Hill Jr. (2006), and philanthropists and conservationists Charles & Lessie Smithgall (2007), media visionary, entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Turner (2008), and president and CEO of CARE USA, Helene D. Gayle (2009), William J. Todd (2010). Read more about these extraordinary individuals below.
William J. Todd has spent his entire 38-year career in Atlanta in healthcare and technology management. He currently serves as President and CEO of the Georgia Cancer Coalition, a strategic public-private initiative to move Georgia to the leading ranks of cancer care in the nation. The Coalition has invested over $300 million in programs, projects, and initiatives in Georgia institutions to support research and prevention efforts to reduce cancer deaths in the state.
Prior to his appointment with the Coalition in 2003, Todd was the founder of Encina Technology Ventures in 2000 and was founding president of the Georgia Research Alliance in 1990.
For nearly twenty years prior to the creation of the Research Alliance, Todd served in a variety of administrative posts in divisions of the Emory University system – at Grady Memorial Hospital, Wesley Woods, Emory Clinic, the School of Medicine, and ultimately as Assistant Vice President for Health Affairs in the Woodruff Health Sciences Center.
Todd is a 1971 graduate of the College of Management at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and attended the Institute for Educational Management at Harvard University. In 2000 he received an Honorary Doctor of Science degree from the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland, in recognition of his work to establish a research alliance in that Province to create technology-based economic development to further the Peace Process.
Todd serves on the Board of Directors of the American Cancer Society and the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, the Board of Trustees of the Georgia Tech Foundation, Georgia Tech Ireland, and is immediate past Chairman of the Board of the Georgia Tech Alumni Association. He serves on the Georgia Tech Strategic Planning Committee, Campaign Steering Committee, and was a member of the Presidential Search Committee. He is a Past President of the Rotary Club of Atlanta and a member of the Board of Curators of the Georgia Historical Society. He is a member of the Commerce Club, 191 Club, Druid Hills Golf Club (serving as a Board member), and East Lake Golf Club.
Todd and his wife Elizabeth have two sons, both graduates of Georgia Tech. Hayes, MGT ’05, serves as a senior project engineer with Holder Construction Company, and David, MGT ’07, is a supply chain engineer with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
Helene D. Gayle is president and CEO of CARE USA. An internationally recognized expert on health, development and humanitarian issues, she decided early in her profession to focus on matters of social justice and equity.
Gayle spent 20 years with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), focusing primarily on combating HIV/AIDS. She directed the HIV, TB and Reproductive Health Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In 2006, she joined CARE, one of the world’s premier international humanitarian organizations. Gayle leads CARE's efforts to end poverty through programs in more than 70 countries.
Named one of the Wall Street Journal’s “50 Women to Watch” in 2006, Gayle has published numerous scientific articles and has been featured in media outlets as diverse as the New York Times, Washington Post, Glamour, O magazine, Ebony, Essence, the Financial Times, National Public Radio and CNN.
Born and raised in Buffalo, NY, Gayle earned a B.A. in psychology at Barnard College, an M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, and an M.P.H. from Johns Hopkins University. Gayle serves on boards including the Centers for Strategic and International Studies, ONE, the American Museum of Natural History, the Institute of Medicine and Johns Hopkins University.
She lives in Atlanta, Georgia.
Ted Turner—media visionary and mogul, business entrepreneur, champion sportsman, and legendary philanthropist.
With this award, the College seeks to recognize not only Turner's past contributions as a businessman to the progress of Atlanta, but also his service to the nation and the world as one of the most influential philanthropists of our time.
For over 30 years, Turner's base of operations has been Atlanta. Like Ivan Allen Jr., Turner began his business career working in the family business, Turner Advertising Company, which specialized in outdoor advertising. He entered the television business in 1970 when he acquired Atlanta independent UHF station Channel 17. In 1976, Turner launched TBS Superstation, thereby originating the "Superstation" concept. He also purchased Major League Baseball's Atlanta Braves that year, and the following year also acquired the National Basketball Association's Atlanta Hawks, enabling both teams to gain national exposure through Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.
Over the next two decades, the company built a portfolio of unrivaled cable television news and entertainment brands and businesses, including CNN Headline News, CNN International, TNT, Cartoon Network and Turner Classic Movies.
Turner now dedicates his time and resources to making the world a better, safer place for future generations. Just over a decade ago, Turner announced his historic pledge of $1 billion to the United Nations Foundation (UNF). The organization supports the goals and objectives of the United Nations to promote a more peaceful, prosperous and just world. UNF has identified four core priorities: women and population; children's health; the environment; and peace and security. And in early 2001, together with former Senator Sam Nunn, NTI Turner launched the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), a foundation he co-chairs with Nunn that is working to close the growing and increasingly dangerous gap between the threat from nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and the global response.
In addition, he remains actively involved in business with the rapidly expanding Ted's Montana Grill restaurant chain. As the nation’s largest private landowner, Turner, as chairman of Turner Enterprises, Inc., also manages over two million acres in 12 states and in Argentina, on which resides some 45,000 head of bison, the largest commercial bison herd in North America.
Over his career, Turner has been the recipient of numerous honorary degrees, industry awards and civic honors, including being named Time magazine's 1991 Man of the Year and Broadcasting and Cable’s Man of the Century in 1999. Now, he adds to his many kudos recognition as the Ivan Allen Prize winner for 2008.
For more information on Ted Turner, please visit www.tedturner.com
In the spring of 1988, a remarkable letter arrived on the desk of Dr. John P. Crecine, then president of Georgia Tech. The letter began by thanking him for taking whatever action was necessary to name a proposed new college at Tech for Ivan Allen Jr., 1933 alumnus and former Mayor of Atlanta.
The letter went on to confirm the writer's commitment of $3 million to Georgia Tech, but only “if it is able to honor Ivan Allen in the manner we have agreed.” Then the writer states, “It is of utmost importance to me that there be no public or private acknowledgement of my making these gifts and I appreciate your pledge to maintain the confidentiality I seek.”
And so, for the next two decades, Georgia Tech honored the writer's wish to keep his gift a secret from his friend and classmate. Accordingly, when Ivan Allen Jr. died in 2003, he went to his grave never knowing of the extraordinary act of friendship and generosity that had led to the naming of a college in his honor—to date, still the only alumnus to be so honored at Georgia Tech.
This year, almost 20 years after that fateful letter landed on President Crecine's desk, the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts is proud to acknowledge this historic gift by awarding its donor, Charles Smithgall ('33), with the 2007 Ivan Allen Jr. Prize for Progress and Service. As in the past, the Prize will be awarded at the College's annual Founder's Day luncheon on Thursday, March 15, the birthday of Mayor Allen.
This year the occasion will mark a new precedent, in that the prize will be awarded posthumously for the first time, inasmuch as Charles Smithgall died in 2000. And in also honoring his widow, Lessie Smithgall, as co-recipient, the 2007 Allen Prize breaks precedent again in being the first award made to a couple.
The gift to name the college was hardly the first or the last that Charles and Lessie Smithgall bestowed on Georgia Tech, Atlanta, and the State of Georgia. All told, they have contributed more than $20 million in property and money over the course of their lifetimes, which has had an extraordinary impact upon both the natural and built environment.
Their gifts to the state and city include:
At the University of Georgia, Lessie Smithgall's alma mater, the Smithgalls funded the Lambdin Kay Chair for the Peabodys, which endows the director of the prestigious annual broadcasting awards that Lessie Smithgall was instrumental in bringing to UGA.
At Tech, the Smithgall's philanthropy is responsible for no less that three chairs in the College of Science as well as the building that houses the Student Services division and support for student athletic facilities. Last but by no means least on this distinguished list, of course, is the anonymous endowment of a new college in the name of their mutual friend and college classmate.
Besides their gifts, the Smithgalls have had a significant impact on conservation philanthropy itself. Charles Smithgall's acquisition and gifting of Smithgall Woods is now considered a model for private land use development by conservationists nationally. Twice the Georgia State legislature voted unanimously to recognize his philanthropy and service on behalf of the citizens of the state.
Besides being honored along with her husband for their many gifts, Lessie Smithgall has herself been recognized for her own philanthropic efforts, receiving the Global Conservation Award in 2004 from the Diane Fossey Gorilla Fund International.
Born in St. Louis, Missouri on May 30, 1926, Hill arrived in Atlanta in 1949 after completing a Bachelor of Science in math and physics from Lincoln University and an MBA in Actuarial Science from the University of Michigan . Joining the Atlanta Life Insurance Company initially as an actuarial assistant, Hill rose to become the firm's third president, chief executive officer, and chairman of the Executive Committee in 1973.
As an executive and CEO of the largest African-American owned financial institution in America, he continued to build upon the company's strong tradition of supporting human and civil rights activism. Over the course of his successful career, Hill has compiled a long list of “door-opening firsts” for African-Americans.
Appointed by Mayor Allen to chair the bargaining committee that negotiated the purchase of what was to become Metropolitan Area Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA), Hill was the first African American member to sit on MARTA's Board of Directors. He also was the first African-American selected to serve on the Board of Regents for the University System of Georgia. In 1977, he was elected president of the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, the first African-American to hold such a position in a major U.S. city. He also was elected as the first black member of the Board of Trustees of the Commerce Club, the elite venue of Atlanta 's previously all-white power structure.
During the 1960s, Hill directed his company to quietly underwrite civil rights initiatives throughout the South, such as providing bail money to release individuals arrested in sit-ins and other protests. For over fifteen years, he also served as chairman of the Board of Directors of the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Social Change. In addition, Hill served on the Board of Directors and in various leadership capacities for the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Hill also founded The Atlanta Inquirer , the weekly newspaper that became the voice of the civil rights movement in Atlanta.
Will Wright co-founded Maxis in 1987 and is its Chief Designer. He began working on what would become SimCity—The City Simulator in 1985. SimCity was released in 1989, and has since won 24 domestic and international awards. In addition, Wright co-designed SimEarth—The Living Planet in 1990 and SimAnt—The Electronic Ant Colony in 1991. SimCity 2000 and SimCopter are also part of Wright’s recent repertoire. SimCity 3000 Unlimited (1999), the definitive version of 1989’s best-selling game SimCity 3000, continued in the tradition. The long-awaited 4 th generation, SimCity 4, was released in January 2003. SimCity 4’s first expansion pack, SimCity 4 Rush Hour, and SimCity 4 Deluxe Edition were shipped in September 2003.
Wright’s ground-breaking game The Sims, puts players in charge of the lives of a neighborhood of simulated people. Released in February of 2000, this wildly popular title has become a cultural phenomenon. The Sims has inspired six expansion packs. Livin’Large, House Party, Vacation, Unleashed and Superstar allow players to put their simulated families into new extreme situations and settings. The final expansion pack, Makin’ Magic, was released in October 2003. Taking its bow in December 2002 was Wright’s much anticipated The Sims Online™, which was featured in a cover story in Newsweek Magazine. The next generation of The Sims PC products debuted in September 2004 with The Sims 2, which became the fastest selling PC game ever selling more than a million copies in the first ten days worldwide.
In 1999, Will was included in Entertainment Weekly’s “It List” of “the 100 most creative people in entertainment” as well as Time Digital’s “Digital 50”, a listing of “the most important people shaping technology today.” In 2002, he was #35 on Entertainment Weekly’s Power List and was also inducted into the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences’ Hall of Fame. In 2003, Will was features in Game Informer’s ‘Top 10 Developer List of 2003’. Each year Wright, along with his daughter Cassidy, takes part in the annual Battlebot competition which was broadcast nationally on Comedy Central. His interest in plastic models of ships and airplanes during his childhood in Georgia eventually led to his designing computer models of cities, ecosystems and ant colonies.
As co-chairman and chief executive officer of NTI, Nunn works to reduce the global threats from nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. He brings to this mission his extensive experience as a U.S. Senator from Georgia for 24 years (1972-1996).
During his tenure in the U.S. Senate, Nunn served as chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. He also served on the Intelligence and Small Business Committees. His legislative achievements include the landmark Department of Defense Reorganization Act, drafted with the late Senator Barry Goldwater, and the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program, which provides assistance to Russia and the former Soviet republics for securing and destroying their excess nuclear, biological and chemical weapons.
In addition to his work with NTI, Nunn has continued his service in the public policy arena as a distinguished professor in the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs and as chairman of the board of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.
Raised in Perry, Georgia, Nunn attended Georgia Tech, Emory University and Emory Law School, where he graduated with honors in 1962. After active duty service in the U.S. Coast Guard, he served six years in the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve. He first entered politics as a member of the Georgia House of Representatives in 1968.
A nationally syndicated columnist whose views may be read each Monday on the Op-Ed Page of the Atlanta Constitution, Ms. Ivins is one of a handful of journalists over the past few decades who have developed both a uniquely individual and a uniquely female voice on national and international affairs.
The primary selection criterion for the Allen Prize is rather broad - namely, that recipients over the course of their careers have contributed significantly to the progress and service of a subject area or field relevant to one of the disciplines in the Ivan Allen College. As an award-wining journalist and a role model for many women in the field of journalism and elsewhere, the committee felt that Molly Ivins clearly meets this criterion.
As a nationally syndicated columnist who appears regularly in the Atlanta Journal and Constitution and other papers around the state, not to mention her appearances on C-SPAN and PBS as a news analyst or commentator, her Georgia presence - another criterion of the prize - is quite prominent. In addition to these perennial criteria, the committee exercised its license to acknowledge other circumstances in their selection duties.
To this end, the committee made great note of the fact that the 2002-2003 academic year is a one in which the Institute is honoring many "firsts" by women during their 50 year presence on campus—the first enrollee, the first graduate, the first student government president, the first "Buzz," and the like. Hence, we are proud and honored that the 2003 prize is to be awarded to its very first woman recipient.
Former U.S. President and Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter is an alumnus of Georgia Tech ('46). Since he left the presidency in 1981, President Carter has headed the Carter Presidential Library and Center at Emory University, where he is University Distinguished Professor. Awarded the Ivan Allen Jr. Prize for Progress and Service in 2002, he received the Nobel Peace Prize a year later for his lifetime of commitment to the nonviolent resolution of conflict.
Out-spoken U.S. Senator, nationally-acclaimed governor, best-selling author, university professor, Zell Miller is one of the most colorful and controversial political figures in America today. He was awarded the first Ivan Allen Jr. Prize for Progress and Service for his leadership in creating the Hope scholarship program, which provides free college tuition for every high school graduate with a B average and a voluntary statewide pre-kindergarten program for all four year olds.