Martin Luther King Jr. (c) Jack Pabis. Used by permission of the artist (
Martin Luther King Jr. (c) Jack Pabis. Used by permission of the artist (

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability but comes through continuous struggle.”

During the Emory University Martin Luther King Jr. awards event, individuals and organizations across Emory were honored for their continuous struggle to push for change and their outstanding and unparalleled response to break down injustice through activism and voting.

“Dr. King challenged us to ‘not be silent on things that matter,’” noted award presenter and long-time award committee member Lynne Segall 99MBA, associate dean of management practice initiatives and senior lecturer at Goizueta Business School.

Since 1996, this event has evolved with partnerships between Goizueta, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory School of Medicine, and the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing.

Isam Vaid 93Ox 95C 99PH, the Muslim religious life scholar for Emory’s Office of Religious Life, delivered the invocation. Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Ravi Bellamkonda dedicated the award ceremony to James Curran MD, dean of public health, in recognition of his dedication to social justice and community service. 

This year’s awards were presented to:

  • Guido Silvestri MD, Emory School of Medicine, professor at the Emory Vaccine Center and eminent scholar of the Georgia Research Alliance, for his “Conversations on Racism” that offered a safe space each week for individuals to engage in, as one nominator suggested, “powerful and painful life-changing discussions.”
  • Neena Smith-Bankhead, director for EnCORE Center at Rollins School of Public Health, for inspiring the critical thinking needed for students to more confidently raise their voices.
  • DeJuan White MD, Emory School of Medicine, co-chair of the school’s Racial, Ethnic, and Cultural Subcommittee for his work in conducting unconscious bias training and organizing multiple workshops regarding equity. His mentorship for Project EMPACT guides underrepresented medical students.
  • Audric Donald 23N, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing. Donald works to increase African American representation in ursing and develop social networking in both Emory University and the City of Atlanta. He also conducts research through the Faith Village Research Lab to combat dementia in elderly African American patients and provides community-based care.
  • The Churchwell Diversity and Inclusion Collective, Emory School of Medicine, a resident-run organization that creates a safe and welcoming environment for internal medicine house staff from diverse backgrounds.

In closing, Goizueta Business School Interim John H. Harland Dean Karen Sedatole shared, “I appreciate all who are leaning in to push for change and encourage everyone attending here today to continue this push, even in the face of struggle,” she said. “I truly believe that through these efforts we can build a more vibrant, connected, and just world.”

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion are integrated into everything we do at Goizueta. We are goal-oriented and strategic in creating structural and sustainable initiatives that nurture and challenge the unique perspectives that will shape the future of business. Learn more about Goizueta’s commitment to creating meaningful change.