College Fetes Eleven at Fifth Annual Ivan Allen College Distinguished Alumni Awards

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The Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts family convened at the Historic Academy of Medicine on March 12 to celebrate the substantial contributions of our alumni, students, friends, and faculty. This was an evening with good friends and food, and inspiring reflections from presenters and recipients of our Distinguished Alumni Awards.

The event began with a networking dinner reception. Promptly at 6:30 p.m., Dean Jacqueline J. Royster began the awards program. She emphasized our shared identity as liberal arts at Georgia Tech where values of rigor, compassion, and understanding nurture our collective identity and innovation.

On a personal note, Dean Royster announced that this would be her last appearance at the Awards as dean before stepping down from the position later this year.

“As I look back on the past eight and half years, one of my most cherished duties has been hosting the College’s signature events,” Dean Royster said. “These occasions constitute a remarkable space for the College community to reflect on the ways in which we are living up to our promise and fulfilling our mission, and demonstrate for all to see that we are functioning well as an asset for the Institute.”

Provost Rafael L. Bras graciously joined us again for what he called “this joyous event” and honored Dean Royster for her contributions and those of the awardees.

Three categories of awards were presented during the evening: the Ivan Allen Jr. Legacy Awards, the Distinguished Alumni Awards recognizing graduates from each of the College’s six schools, and the Dean’s Appreciation Award celebrating steadfast supporters of the College.

The Ivan Allen Jr. Legacy Awards are underwritten by Georgia Tech alumnus Col. Stephen C. Hall (IM 1966) and his wife Pamela who were present and brought with them a cadre of students from various disciplines. The awards honor students and faculty whose lives and work embody the spirit of Georgia Tech Alumnus and former Mayor of Atlanta Ivan Allen Jr. 

The recipients of the 2019 Ivan Allen Jr. Legacy Awards are: 

Next, chairs from each of the College’s six schools introduced alumni recipients. Selected by the school from which they earned their degree, the Distinguished Alumni Awardees were recognized for achieving notable success in their profession, in addition to their contributions to the College, Institute, or the public welfare.

Graduates from each of six schools who received the 2019 Distinguished Alumni Awards are:

  • Blake Butler – Science, Technology, and Culture 2003, a highly successful author and editor

  • Angelina Callahan – History and Sociology of Technology and Society M.S. 2009 and Ph.D. 2013, the Naval Research Laboratory Historian

  • Leisha DeHart-Davis - Public Policy M.S. 1993 and Ph.D. 2000, a professor of public administration and government at UNC-Chapel Hill

  • Andrew Harris - International Affairs M.S. 2009, Head of public policy for Amazon’s Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand region

  • Kristin Lundberg - International Affairs and Modern Languages 2006, Foreign Service Officer

  • Joseph B. Owens, Jr. - Economics 1977, CFO for Indego Africa Project

Recipient Blake Butler credited the LMC program with “setting him up to think differently about writing.”

Andrew Harris, speaking via a video sent from Singapore, said he is most indebted to Nunn School faculty. “Beyond all those piles of work…the professors were ready and willing to truly invest in their students, certainly through classroom instruction, but also in facilitating introductions to the outside world and in opening doors of opportunity…that would be critical to launching my career.”

The final award of the evening, the Dean’s Appreciation Award, was presented by Dean Royster to L. Reed Catlett and John M. Stern, trustees of The B and B Stern Foundation. Catlett and Stern’s involvement with liberal arts at Georgia Tech was celebrated for philanthropy that animating the legacy of one of the School's premier faculty innovators, Professor Melvin Kranzberg, as well as that of George R. Henderson. Under the helm of the College’s former development director, the late Ski Hilenski, Catlett, Stern, and Kranzberg’s nephew Kenneth Kranzberg established the Kranzberg Professorship, which supports research and scholarship in the history of technology at Georgia Tech. 

In 2015, Catlett and Stern also endowed the George Robert Henderson Sr. Scholarship, a memorial fund that remembers his Newnan, Georgia, family. The Scholarship provides funding to Naval ROTC (NROTC) students at Georgia Tech. Thus far, five young NROTC undergraduate students have benefited from the Henderson Scholarship. 

Dean Royster closed out the evening with brief remarks encouraging attendees to rejoin the College again next year to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the naming of the Ivan Allen College. 



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