Founder’s Day: Nunn Calls for Fundamental Change; Mayor Reed Announces Partnerships with GT/IAC

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Former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn accepted Georgia Tech’s Ivan Allen Jr. Prize for Social Courage March 15 and, in a speech punctuated by an extended standing ovation from the audience, called for civility, cooperation, and bipartisanship in the American dialog.  Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed took part in the awards program announcing that the City will partner with Georgia Tech on a Westside Communities Alliance to improve those neighborhoods and to celebrate the upcoming 50th anniversary of Ivan Allen Jr.’s election as Mayor of Atlanta. 

The speeches by Senator Nunn and Mayor Reed were among the highlights of two-days of events on March 14 - 15 celebrating the 2011 Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts Founder’s Day and Georgia Tech’s inaugural presentation of the new Allen Prize.  Georgia Tech President G. P. “Bud” Peterson and Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts Dean Jacqueline J. Royster presented the Ivan Allen Jr. Prize for Social Courage to Senator Nunn and the College presented the 2011 Ivan Allen Jr. Legacy Awards.

“Senator Nunn is a man of our generation whose work will have a significant impact on not only our history, but our future,” said President Peterson when presenting the award.  “Senator Nunn has worked tirelessly behind the scenes, sometimes at great personal risk… Since leaving office, he has been steadfast in his conviction to combat a deepening worldwide nuclear crisis.”

President Barack Obama offered praise for Senator Nunn via a special taped message that was shown. President Obama thanked Nunn “on a very personal level” for his advice and vision.  The program also included a congratulatory message from U.S. Senators from Georgia Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson.

Senator Nunn delivered a compelling acceptance speech calling for fundamental change “if America is to continue to prosper and lead.”  He highlighted “just three of our challenges":  "a fiscal policy that is out of control;” a lack of “a sustainable, sensible energy policy;” and the erosion of American leadership in math, science and engineering.  “China is already graduating more English-speaking engineers than we are in the U.S.,” he said. “When I compare our high schools to what I see traveling abroad, I am terrified for the workforce of tomorrow.”

Senator Nunn asked, “Do we have the political and civic will to work together to confront these challenges and build a world of promise?  Big question.”  He stated that civility and bipartisanship are required “to meet our fundamental challenges” and suggested a course of action for citizens, calling on them to convey to public officials and political leaders the message “we noticed” when they work cooperatively with their political opponents to achieve solutions.  “To build a world of promise and avoid a world of peril, we’re going to have to make fundamental changes.  To do that we are going to have to cooperate with each other. This will not happen without increased social courage by our leaders, but also by alert citizens.”   

Also presented during the luncheon were the Ivan Allen Jr. Legacy Awards which are generously supported by Col. Stephen Hall and Mrs. Pamela Hall. Dean Royster and Associate Deans Susan Cozzens and John Tone, and Assistant Dean Peter Brecke presented the four awards.  The Ivan Allen Jr. Faculty Legacy Award was presented to Dr. Haizheng Li, Professor in the School of Economics, in recognition of his research on China and cultivation of an exchange with China.  The Alumnus Legacy Award recognized Philip Rafshoon (IM ’83) for his courageous entrepreneurship as founder of Outwrite Bookstore and his leadership in Atlanta’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender community.  The Graduate Student Legacy Award went to Joel Hewett, a Ph.D. candidate in the History and Sociology of Technology and Science program and a Melvin Kranzberg Graduate Fellow in the History of Technology.  The Undergraduate Student Legacy Award was given to Amira Choueiki, an Honors Program student who is completing her degree in Economics and International Affairs with an International Plan track in Arabic and a minor in Public Policy.

Prior to the awards luncheon, the College hosted more than 80 people at a cross-college Research Roundtable. The program began with a lecture and dialog on the unfolding crisis in the Middle East by Larry Rubin, Assistant Professor, Sam Nunn School of International Affairs. Then faculty from across Georgia Tech offered perspectives from a range of innovative and cross-disciplinary work that is contributing to knowledge creation, innovation, and problem solving and that links the humanities and social sciences with science and technology in order to advance the human condition. 

The “Water and Conflict” panel represented research from faculty who are part of a cross-campus initiative to study water in its social and political context.  Panelists highlighted issues of cooperation and competition around water in Africa, Peru, and Atlanta’s own local ‘tri-state water wars.’  Moderated by Sally Bethea, executive director, Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, presentations were made by Susan Cozzens, associate dean for research, School of Public Policy; Aris Georgakakos, Georgia water resources director and School of Civil and Environmental Engineering Professor; Barbara Deutsch Lynch, visiting professor in the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs, and Bruce Stiftel, architecture professor and chair of the School of City and Regional Planning Program. 

“The Future of Media” panel challenged the notion that “technology is a power for good that will save us so long as we invest in it.”  Noting that we are at the second stage of new media technology adoption, that is using it to extend what has been done in the past, we are now close to the point where we will discover new forms of informing and entertaining via media that may be used to forge new paths toward social good.  The panel was moderated by Phil Sharpe, senior vice president of Digital Media Competitiveness and Strategy for Turner Broadcasting with presenters Ian Bogost, School of Literature, Communication, and Culture associate professor and director of the graduate Program in Digital Media; Michael Best, assistant professor ofTthe Sam Nunn School of International Affairs and the School of Interactive Computing; and Alexandra Mazalek, School of Literature, Communication, and Culture assistant professor and School of Interactive Computing adjunct assistant professor.

In her remarks at the awards presentation, Dean Jacqueline J. Royster said, “The Ivan Allen College Founder’s Day celebrates Mayor Allen’s legacy of courage, leadership, and action and holds forth a beacon for others to take seriously the importance of this powerful framework, a framework that has the demonstrated capacity to change hearts and minds and to inspire us to change our world for the better.”  The 2011 Founder's Day celebration marked the 100th anniversary of the birth of Ivan Allen Jr.

Top Photo: Dean Jacqueline J. Royster, Senator Sam Nunn, President G. P. "Bud" Peterson; Second Photo: Faculty Legacy Award recipient Dr. Haizheng Li; Third Photo: Col. Stephen Hall, Ivan Allen Jr. Legacy Award recipients Amira Choueiki, Joel Hewitt and Philip Rafshoon, Dean Jacqueline J. Royster, and Mrs. Pamela Hall; Bottom Photo: "The Future of Media" panel at the Research Roundtable.

Click to read the full text of Senator Nunn's remarks

Videos of the Allen Prize Symposium including remarks by Admiral James G. Stavridis; the cross-college Research Roundtable; and the Founder’s Day luncheon including remarks by Senator Nunn and Mayor Reed and the taped messages from President Obama and Senators Chambliss and Isakson are being posted to the Ivan Allen College website.  The Founder's Day schedule and programs are also available on the website.  If the segment you are interested in has not yet been posted, please check back. All videos should be posted by March 30.

See related stories for more about Mayor Kasim Reed's announcements and about the Allen Prize Symposium. 

Read more about Senator Nunn

Read more about the Ivan Allen Jr. Prize for Social Courage

Read more about the inspiring life and legacy of Mayor Ivan Allen Jr. 


  • Workflow Status:Published
  • Created By:Rebecca Keane
  • Created:03/23/2011
  • Modified By:Fletcher Moore
  • Modified:10/07/2016