On Monday, March 15, the Institute presented Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, with the Ivan Allen Jr. Prize for Social Courage.
The Ivan Allen Jr. prize for Social Courage is an award presented to individuals who stand up for moral principles and render service to humanity, without regard for personal or professional peril.
It was founded in 2010, following the retirement of the Ivan Allen Jr. Prize for Progress and Service, which ran from 2001 to 2010.
Recipients of the award have included Andrew Young, John Lewis and Jimmy Carter.
Winners are given a $100,000 stipend funded by a grant from the Wilbur and Hilda Glenn Family Foundation.
“The prize itself works to shine a light on those around the world who greatly work to improve the human condition, often in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges,” said Stephanie Sigler, the Senior Institute Event Coordinator.
“It’s named for mayor Ivan Allen Jr., a man who had courageous leadership and advocacy for Civil Rights during the desegregation period as mayor of Atlanta in the 1960s,” she said.
Recipients of the award can be nominated by students and faculty from the Institute, the public at large and from the selection committee itself.
Once all of the nominees have been submitted, the committee begins narrowing down the submissions to see who best fits the mission of the award itself.
“The range of recipients of the award are not all related to Georgia Tech or even America and make clear what the prize seeks to honor,” said Joseph Bankoff, the chair of the Nominating Committee for the prize.
“My shorthand way of describing the criteria is ‘leadership against the wind’ to create social change.”
After all the nominees have been compared to these criteria, the committee makes a decision and selects three potential candidates for the award.
These selections are then ultimately submitted to the Institute’s president, along with the committee’s rationale for each selection.
Finally, a winner is selected.
It was announced by the Institute back in January that Fauci would be this year’s recipient.
Fauci was awarded most notably for his involvement with the coronavirus pandemic but also for his life-long devotion to medical research of infectious diseases.
He was previously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2008 for his work establishing a relief plan to address the global HIV/AIDS epidemic.
This time has been hallmarked by intense public backlash on the advice and reassurance from medical personnel for guidance on a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic.
Despite this, Fauci has stuck firm to his beliefs and has ultimately made an incredible difference in the United States’ fight against the novel coronavirus. Fauci joined the Tech community over a virtual ceremony to accept the award and field questions from students.
“I’m deeply honored to accept this award, with gratitude and profound humility,” he said during his acceptance speech.
Fauci’s trophy was shipped to him in Washington D.C, and he, of course accepted it virtually.
He addressed the Institute, reminding students and faculty to, “make sure you always stick with the truth, however inconvenient or uncomfortable it means to some people, because at the end of the day, the truth will always show.”
Individuals were allowed to watch the ceremony socially-distanced in the Ferst Theater.
The ceremony was also live streamed for participants who were not able to attend in-person.