Ivan Allen College Celebrates Distinguished Alumni

Posted March 25, 2021

By Ian Frazer

Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts faculty, students, alumni, and supporters gathered virtually on March 23, 2021, for the annual Distinguished Alumni Awards. The awards were presented to alumni from the College’s six Schools, including three honorees from the School of Economics’ first class in honor of its 50th anniversary. Other awards were presented to a faculty member, students, and a long-time supporter of the College.

Dean Kaye Husbands Fealing opened the evening with remarks on the importance of the awards. She also expressed gratitude to Georgia Tech alumnus Col. Stephen C. Hall and his wife Pamela, whose continued support makes the awards possible.

Georgia Tech President Ángel Cabrera also joined the awards ceremony to deliver a short address. He reflected on his recent conversation with Husbands Fealing about the role of the liberal arts at the technological university. He emphasized the importance of social sciences and humanities in “advancing the human condition” — part of Georgia Tech’s new mission statement.

“Without the liberal arts,” Cabrera said, “Georgia Tech cannot, simply put, deliver on its mission.”

Watch the ceremony on video

While social distancing precautions meant that the awards could not be held in person, the ceremony still featured memorable moments.

Tong Zhao, the recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award for the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs, joined from China, and Ted Danowitz, the recipient for the School of Modern Languages, joined from New Zealand. Sarah Cooper the honoree from the School of Literature, Media, and Communication, reflected on the pioneering nature of her studies with professors such as Philip Auslander, Jay Bolter, and Janet Murray.

“I feel like the program was ahead of its time,” said Cooper, whose viral videos made her a star and helped her score a deal with Netflix. “We all invented and crafted and saw the dangers and possibilities of Facebook and TikTok and Twitter decades before they took over society.”

And even though attendees could only see it on their computer screens, Phil Cheaney, one of the members of the first class of the School of Economics, provided a concrete memory of his time at Georgia Tech: He showed the meal tray that he took from Brittain Dining Hall and used as a sled during a snowstorm.

The final award of the evening went to Richard B. Inman Jr., Economics 1973. Inman is the managing principal and founder of Ironwood VII, a leading developer of public-private partnerships with a significant footprint in the Pacific region.

Inman received the Dean’s Appreciation Award, commemorating his ongoing support of Georgia Tech, including his service on the board of advisors for the School of Economics. Inman noted the continued importance of a liberal arts education, particularly as technologies such as automation and machine learning change the landscape of technical professions.

“It looks to me like the Ivan Allen College may have caught lightning in a bottle,” Inman said. “I can’t wait to see where this current trajectory takes us, and I stand ready to help where I can.”

Here is the complete list of awardees:

Dean’s Appreciation Award

  • Richard B. Inman Jr., B.S. Economics, 1973

Distinguished Alumni Awards

School of Economics

  • Philip B. Cheaney, B.S. Economics, 1971
  • Phillip B. Jones, B.S. Economics, 1971
  • William P. Thompson Jr., B.S. Economics, 1971

School of History and Sociology

  • Prakash Kumar, Ph.D. History, Technology, and Society, 2004

School of Literature, Media, and Communication

  • Sarah Cooper, M.S. Digital Media, 2001

School of Modern Languages

  • Ted Danowitz III, B.S. International Affairs and Modern Languages, 2010

School of Public Policy

  • Fatimot Ladipo, M.S. Public Policy, 1999

Sam Nunn School of International Affairs

  • Tong Zhao, Ph.D. Science, Technology, and International Affairs, 2014

Ivan Allen Jr. Legacy Awards

Faculty Legacy Award

  • Hanchao Lu, Professor of History, School of History and Sociology

Graduate Student Legacy Award

  • Alice Clifton-Morekos, Ph.D. student, History and Sociology of Technology and Science, School of History and Sociology

Undergraduate Student Legacy Award

  • Sinet Adous, fourth-year International Affairs student with minor in Sociology

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Denise Ward
Director of Communications