Emory Report

May 18, 1998

 Volume 50, No. 32

Brittain Award winner
Taylor champions diversity

Adam Taylor returned from South Africa last year on a mission, and his drive in communicating that mission to fellow students at Emory is part of what won him the 1998 Marion Luther Brittain Award.

Taylor, who graduated with a bachelor's degree in international studies, spent the Spring 1997 semester at the University of Cape Town. One student's semester abroad is a small international connection, but Taylor hoped spreading the word about his time in Cape Town encouraged more students to do the same.

"We can see so much of ourselves in South Africa and the ways in which they're struggling with race relations and making significant progress-in my opinion, more progress than we're making," Taylor said. "I want to continue to build bridges between the United States and southern Africa, not just South Africa."

Taylor will no doubt have plenty of opportunities to build those bridges in the future. After spending a year working in New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani's office under the Urban Fellows Program, he'll enroll next year in Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. And this summer, by the way, he hopes to spend in Central America doing community development work "to try to improve my Spanish."

Taylor's ambition and ability to communicate comes as no surprise to Frances Lucas-Tauchar, dean of Campus Life. "In a graduating class with many stars," she wrote in her letter of nomination for Taylor, "Adam is clearly one of its most brilliant. His career at Emory is dotted with instances where he has brought people together, often foregoing the tensions that exist among people with differing world views and always concentrating on the commonalities we share."

One such instance occurred Taylor's sophomore year during a racially charged controversy following an alleged assault in a residence hall. To provide a forum for reason, Taylor and theology professor Thee Smith organized a meeting between students and administrators to talk about the incident.

"It really created a lot of division on campus," Taylor said. "It was a great challege to pull [the meeting] together. That fits within the overall commitment I've made through the National Coalition Building Institute, and it's given me a vision for how we can address some of our prejudices, overcome many of our differences and celebrate our diversity."

Speaking of diversity, Taylor's own activities at Emory have included work with the Society of African-American Leaders, service chair of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, SGA representative, an advisor in the Residence Hall Association, and participation in The Carter Center's conflict resolution program. He also sang with the Voices of Inner Strength gospel choir.

The Brittain Award is an expression of gratitude for service performed without expectation of reward or recognition. It was established in 1942 through a bequest from a distinguished Emory alumnus, M.L. Brittain, a former president of Georgia Tech.

-Michael Terrazas

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