Georgia Tech honors Anthony Fauci with social courage award

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, addresses reporters about the coronavirus pandemic during a briefing at the White House in Washington on Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021. A day after President Biden reinstated American ties with the World Health Organization, Dr. Fauci told the organization that the United States was committed to working closely with other nations to implement a more effective global response to the pandemic. (Doug Mills/The New York Times)
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, addresses reporters about the coronavirus pandemic during a briefing at the White House in Washington on Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021. A day after President Biden reinstated American ties with the World Health Organization, Dr. Fauci told the organization that the United States was committed to working closely with other nations to implement a more effective global response to the pandemic. (Doug Mills/The New York Times)

Credit: New York Times

Credit: New York Times

Fauci recognized for serving nation as ‘a trusted face in the fight against COVID-19 '

Georgia Tech announced this morning that Dr. Anthony S. Fauci is this year’s recipient of the Ivan Allen Jr. Prize for Social Courage, which recognizes those who stand up for moral principles at the risk of their careers and livelihoods.

A Tech spokesman said Fauci will receive the award in a virtual ceremony in March. The prize gives a $100,000 stipend to the recipients or to a non-profit in their honor. No word yet on what Fauci intends to do with the prize money.

Tech chose Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and chief medical advisor to the president, because he was “a steadfast voice of science, facts, and medical best practice during one of the most significant public health challenges in U.S. history.”

According to a Tech statement announcing Fauci’s selection:

He faced public criticism and was subjected to enormous pressure in response to his public messages. Despite these challenges, Fauci has continued to deliver his clear and unwavering assessment of the facts and science and provide critical advice to guide the nation and world.

“Dr. Fauci’s resolve in the face of extraordinary threats to our public health here at home and abroad make him the clear choice for Georgia Tech’s Ivan Allen Jr. Prize for Social Courage,” said Georgia Tech’s President Ángel Cabrera. “As an institution of higher learning committed to bettering the human condition through our motto of Progress and Service, there could be no better person suited to receive this honor than a man who has unflinchingly relied on science and facts in the face of tremendous public and political pressure.”

Because the prize is awarded by Georgia Tech to honor those who show courage in seeking social change at risk to their careers, livelihoods, and even their lives, it is named for former Atlanta Mayor Ivan Allen Jr., a graduate of Georgia Tech, who at great personal and political risk was the only southern white elected official to testify before Congress in support of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Previous honorees include the late Congressman John Lewis; Dr. William Foege, who led the strategy to eliminate smallpox; African civil rights advocate Beatrice Mtetwa; United Nations Ambassador Andrew Young; activist Nancy Parrish; former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and first lady Rosalynn Carter; Dr. Hamilton E. Holmes and Charlayne Hunter-Gault, the first African American students enrolled at the University of Georgia; and former Georgia Senator Sam Nunn.

The prize will be presented to Fauci on March 15, 2021.

A noted expert in scientific circles the world over, Fauci became a household name as he sought to deliver to millions of people information about how best to protect each other from the highly transmissible virus that causes COVID-19. Along with other top public health leaders, Fauci pressed Americans to wear masks, avoid crowds, maintain physical distance from people who don’t live with them, and wash their hands often. Fauci also bluntly warned the nation that the pandemic would result in catastrophic loss of life.

“Amid the crisis, Dr. Fauci’s conscientious leadership continues to provide sound guidance, clarity, and hope to our citizens, our communities, and our institutions as we battle Covid-19,” said Kaye Husbands Fealing, dean of the Ivan Allen College for Liberal Arts, which was also named after the former Atlanta mayor and Tech alumnus. “For his truth, for his exemplary dedication, and his courage, Dr. Fauci is most deserving of this prize.”

As a physician-scientist with the National Institutes of Health, Fauci has served the American public for more than 50 years. He has been a trusted advisor to seven U.S. presidents and is recognized as one of the world’s leading experts on infectious disease. His work in basic and applied research led to preventions, diagnoses, and treatments in the areas of HIV/AIDS and other immunodeficiency diseases, respiratory infections, diarrheal diseases, tuberculosis, and malaria. Since 1984, Fauci has served as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. In 2008, President George W. Bush awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his work on the U.S. government’s emergency relief plan established to address the global HIV/AIDS epidemic. He still devotes time to his research of HIV infection and the body’s immune responses to the virus.

For most of 2020, he was a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force established to address the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. Fauci is now serving as President Joe Biden’s chief medical advisor and is part of the incoming administration’s COVID-19 team.

Fauci is a member of the National Academy of Sciences; the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; the National Academy of Medicine; the American Philosophical Society; and the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters, as well as numerous other professional societies. He serves on the editorial boards of many scientific journals as the author, co-author, or editor of more than 1,300 scientific publications, including several textbooks.

The Ivan Allen Jr. Prize for Social Courage was first awarded in 2011 and is funded in perpetuity by a grant from the Wilbur and Hilda Glenn Family Foundation. It provides a stipend of $100,000 to the awardee or a charitable contribution to a non-profit in honor of the awardee.

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