2023 Tower Awards Honors Academic Excellence Past and Present

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“[Tonight] is a great realization of efforts started many years ago” stated Dr. Gavin Samms, former OMED (Office of Minority Educational Development) director. Under Samms' leadership, the annual Tower Awards was created in 1995.  “Even though we were featured in the New York Times, the Washington Post, we had people coming from all over – from South Africa, Canada, asking how we did it?”, referring to the record-breaking academic performance of students of color in the mid-’90s. “…but The journey continues.”

On Thursday, April 6, at the Georgia Tech Hotel and Conference Center, OMED recognized more than 2,200 eligible students from traditionally underrepresented groups for their academic achievements. Over 1,000 viewers watched the ceremony online.

“A different way of saying being underrepresented is that you are unique. Your uniqueness is your superpower that will make you successful in whichever area you decide to go after [when you leave] Georgia Tech,” said President Cabrera.

This year’s ceremony sought to highlight pillars of both the OMED community and their undeniable historical significance in fostering student excellence at Georgia Tech.  The inaugural Tower Legacy Award was presented to Dr. Gavin Samms.

First-year student, Jasmine D. Walker was awarded the Dorothy Yancy Scholarship: a scholarship named/endowed by Georgia Tech’s first Black faculty member promoted to tenure, Dr. Dorothy Yancy.

Kelley Collier IV was presented the GTBAO Unsung Hero Award named in remembrance of distinguished alumnae Valerie Dial Thomas.

Students received Tower awards for their stellar performance in several categories, including Sustained Awards, Yearly Awards, Transfer/Dual-Degree Awards, First-Year Awards, Graduating Senior Awards, Master’s Awards, and Ph.D. Awards.

In addition, the following students were presented with special awards:

First-Year Impact Award – Julian Dudley
OMED Impact Awards – Nia Bellamy, Julia R. Francois, Lauren M. Hester, Assata I. Quinichet, Maripaz Rodriguez Pacheco, Kemuel Y. Russell, Miyang E. Tamanji

OMED Champion Award – Morgan Wright

“Each of you has your own narrative infused with obstacles that you have overcome that many don’t even have to consider or see. So, your presence here tonight is a testament to your intellectual fortitude and aptitude,” said Dr. Sybrina Atwaters, director of OMED.

Over 25 corporate partners and sponsors provided giveaways that were raffled off throughout the night.

For more information about the Tower Awards, visit

To watch a recording of the ceremony, visit the OMED YouTube Channel.


  • Workflow Status:Published
  • Created By:jcao335
  • Created:04/12/2023
  • Modified By:Bruce Hilicus
  • Modified:04/27/2023