February 22, 2010

Service award honors alumnus

Tommy Owens

The University’s highest award for alumni service will be presented to a graduate of three Emory schools whose leadership on campus and off has benefited the community in myriad ways.

On March 18, the Emory Alumni Association will honor Tommy Owens ’59Ox-’61C-’65D with the J. Pollard Turman Alumni Service Award. Owens, a dentist from Atlanta, is the first graduate of Emory’s School of Dentistry to receive the Turman Award, which has been presented annually since 1998.

Among his many volunteer leadership positions at the University, Owens has served on the Oxford Board of Counselors for more than 30 years, including a term as president. He also served as president of the Dental Alumni Association. Owens’ selfless work on behalf of his alma mater garnered him the Distinguished Oxford Alumni Award and the R. Carl Chandler Award, the latter presented in 2004 for a lifetime of service to Oxford College.

In 1989, Owens experienced a tragedy that changed his life and priorities. His older daughter, Leslie, died at the age of 24 from leukemia. Since then, Owens has dedicated himself to finding a cure through the Georgia Chapter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training Program. He became the head coach for the chapter in 1992 and has since trained 4,000 runners and raised more than $23 million to fight blood cancers.

The award is named for J. Pollard Turman ’34C-’36L-’73H, an influential humanitarian whose support of higher education and cultural organizations benefited institutions throughout Georgia, and includes a $25,000 grant to Emory from the Tull Foundation, which Owens will designate.

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Related Information

  • The March 18 Turman Award Ceremony begins with a reception followed by dinner at the Miller-Ward Alumni House. The featured speaker is Center for Ethics Director Paul Root Wolpe. For more information, please contact Michael Parker at 404.727.1154.