Ivan Allen Jr. Prize for Social Courage

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The Ivan Allen Jr. Prize for Social Courage is an international award established in 2011 by the Georgia Institute of Technology[1] in recognition of the late Ivan Allen Jr., a pivotal leader during America's struggle for racial integration during the 1960s. As mayor of Atlanta, Georgia, USA (1962–1970), Allen risked his place in society, his political future, and his life to advance African American civil rights when he provided pivotal testimony at the behest of President John F. Kennedy in support of what became the Civil Rights Act of 1964.[2]

The Ivan Allen Jr. Prize for Social Courage recognizes individuals who stand up for moral principles and render service to humanity without regard for publicity. Recipients positively affect public discourse in spite of the risk to their careers, their livelihoods, and even their lives.[3] The Prize is funded in perpetuity by a grant from the Wilbur and Hilda Glenn Family Foundation. It was awarded for the first time on March 15, 2011 and replaced the existing Ivan Allen Jr. Prize for Progress and Service, which has been awarded 2001-2010 to prominent individuals for a lifetime of achievement and with strong connections to Atlanta or Georgia.[4]

Prize Recipients[edit]

Senator Sam Nunn[edit]

The first recipient of the Ivan Allen Jr. Prize for Social Courage was former United States Senator Sam Nunn of Georgia who served from 1972-1996.

He co-authored the Nunn-Lugar Act in 1991, which set up the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program that is credited with aiding former Soviet republics in ridding their territories of nuclear weapons. As of August 2012, the program had contributed to the deactivation of more than 7,500 nuclear warheads, neutralized chemical weapons, safeguarded fissile material, converted weapons facilities for peaceful use, mitigated bio-threats, and redirected the work of former weapons scientists and engineers.[5] Senator Nunn is also the co-chairman and CEO of the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), a non‐profit, nonpartisan organization that focuses on reducing global threats from weapons of mass destruction.[6]

Announcing Senator Nunn as the recipient of the Ivan Allen Jr. Prize for Social Courage, Georgia Institute of Technology President G. P. "Bud" Peterson stated, “While some individuals talk about achieving world peace, Sam Nunn has actively pursued this vision and created a legacy that continues to reap results long after his exit from public office.” Peterson lauded Nunn for courage and commitment to his own moral compass, for standing up for his beliefs, and for enacting meaningful and sustainable solutions for making the world a better, and more peaceful place.[7]

Dr. William H. Foege[edit]

In March, 2012, Dr. William H. Foege was honored as the second recipient of the Ivan Allen Jr. Prize for Social Courage.[8]

An American epidemiologist, Dr. Foege is best known as the architect of the surveillance and containment strategy that successfully eradicated smallpox from the face of the earth. Through leadership in the CDC, the Carter Center, and the Task Force for Child Survival (now the Task Force for Global Health), he oversaw the eradication of Guinea worm disease, polio, and measles, and the elimination of river blindness.[9][10] At times risking his own health and safety, Dr. Foege’s efforts have brought about extraordinary progress across an astonishing breadth of health issues, literally saving millions of lives.[11][12]

Upon receiving the Ivan Allen Jr. Prize for Social Courage, Dr. Foege remarked, “I use the occasion also to encourage everyone to believe that the health situation in the world is both dire and correctable. It takes hope and action, and absolute tenacity.”[13]

“Like former Atlanta Mayor Ivan Allen Jr., Dr. Foege has envisioned a better world and created communities for realizing that dream in the face of seemingly insurmountable problems,” said Jacqueline J. Royster, Dean of the Georgia Institute of Technology Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts. “His courage to do the right thing and his steadfastness, sometimes in the face of staunch opposition, has saved millions of lives and reshaped the global dialogue about what is possible in health and social progress.” Georgia Tech President G.P. “Bud” Peterson stated, “Dr. Foege’s ability to develop and implement innovative health strategies has alleviated much human suffering in our world today and for generations to come. It is our privilege to honor Dr. Foege for his deep moral commitment to humanitarian progress and his lifetime of service through Georgia Tech’s Ivan Allen Prize for Social Courage.”[14]

Prize History[edit]

The Ivan Allen Jr. Prize for Social Courage was established in 2010 by the Georgia Institute of Technology. The international award honors individuals whose life and work embody the moral courage personified by former Atlanta Mayor Ivan Allen, Jr.[15] The Prize underscores the Institute’s mission to improve the human condition by recognizing those around the globe who, like Mayor Allen, have risked everything to stand up for moral principle and have made a positive difference in the world.[16]

The Prize is funded in perpetuity by a grant from the Wilbur and Hilda Glenn Family Foundation.[17]

The forerunner of the Ivan Allen Jr. Prize for Social Courage was the Ivan Allen Jr. Prize for Progress and Service, which was awarded annually from 2001 through 2010 by the Georgia Institute of Technology .[18]

Nominating Committee[edit]

About the Committee[edit]

The nominating committee is responsible for assessing candidates who meet the requirements of the prize, demonstrating social courage in adverse circumstances. Each year after deliberation, the committee will submit a nominee to the President of Georgia Institute of Technology.

Voting Members[edit]

Joseph R. Bankoff, Chair, President & CEO, Woodruff Arts Center; Ms. Susan E. Eisenhower, Chairman Emeritus, The Eisenhower Institute, United States Department of Energy, Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future; Dr. Helene D. Gayle, President and CEO, CARE U.S.A.; Dr. Kenneth J. Knoespel, McEver Professor of Engineering and the Liberal Arts, Georgia Institute of Technology; Mr. Charles H. McTier, Retired President, Robert W. Woodruff Foundation; The Honorable Sam Nunn, Former U.S. Senator from Georgia, Co-Chairman & CEO, Nuclear Threat Initiative, Chairman, Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Co‐Chairman, Euro‐Atlantic Security Initiative (EASI), Faculty member, Sam Nunn School of International Affairs, Georgia Institute of Technology; Dr. Catherine Ross, Director and Harry West Chair, Center for Quality Growth & Regional Development, College of Architecture Georgia Institute of Technology; Dr. Jacqueline Jones Royster, Dean, Ivan Allen College of the Liberal Arts, Georgia Institute of Technology; Mr. William J. Todd, Professor of the Practice, Ernest Scheller College of Business, Georgia Institute of Technology[19]

Non-voting Members[edit]

Mr. Inman Allen, Former Chairman, Allen Workspace, Atlanta, Georgia; Ms. Marta H. Garcia, Assistant Vice President for Development, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia [20]

Award Ceremony[edit]

The award ceremony for the Ivan Allen Jr. Prize for Social Courage takes place at the Annual Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts Founder’s Day Celebration. The Celebration is held on the Georgia Institute of Technology campus on or about March 15th, which was Ivan Allen, Jr.’s birthday. This event takes place to honor Mayor Allen’s legacy through symposia and festivities to highlight research, teaching, endeavors, and innovation that are addressing global challenges. It culminates with the presentation of the Ivan Allen Jr. Prize for Social Courage.[21]


  1. ^ G. P. "Bud" Peterson President Georgia Institute of Technology. "Ivan Allen Jr. Prize for Social Courage". Georgia Institute of Technology. Retrieved 4 February 2013. 
  2. ^ Mayor: Notes on the Sixties. Ivan Allen, Jr., Paul Hemphill. Simon and Schuster, New York 1971.
  3. ^ http://ivanallenprize.gatech.edu
  4. ^ http://ivanallenprize.gatech.edu/news/release.php?nid=63120
  5. ^ http://www.ajc.com/ap/ap/defense/us-senator-ex-senator-honored-for-nuke-efforts/nRN3p/
  6. ^ http://www.iac.gatech.edu/news-and-events/annual-founders-day/ivan-allen-jr-prize-recipients
  7. ^ http://ivanallenprize.gatech.edu/news/release.php?nid=63120
  8. ^ http://ivanallenprize.gatech.edu/news/release.php?nid=118371
  9. ^ http://www.sph.emory.edu/GHI/aboutUs/advisoryBoard/foege.php
  10. ^ http://www.usnews.com/news/best-leaders/articles/2007/11/12/william-h-foege_print.html
  11. ^ http://www.usnews.com/news/best-leaders/articles/2007/11/12/william-h-foege_print.html
  12. ^ http://ivanallenprize.gatech.edu/news/release.php?nid=118371
  13. ^ Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts, G. I. o. T. (2012). Founder's Day: Address - William H. Foege. Videos from Founder's Day 2012 events
  14. ^ http://ivanallenprize.gatech.edu/news/release.php?nid=74321
  15. ^ http://ivanallenprize.gatech.edu/news/release.php?nid=58155
  16. ^ http://ivanallenprize.gatech.edu/home/
  17. ^ http://ivanallenprize.gatech.edu/news/release.php?nid=58155
  18. ^ http://ivanallenprize.gatech.edu/news/release.php?nid=58155
  19. ^ http://ivanallenprize.gatech.edu/nominating-committee/
  20. ^ http://ivanallenprize.gatech.edu/nominating-committee/
  21. ^ http://www.iac.gatech.edu/news-and-events/annual-founders-day

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