Ivan Allen Jr. Civic Responsibility Essay Contest

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Ivan Allen Jr. Civic Responsibility Essay Contest

($500 Cash Prize for Best Senior Essay)


An individual who exhibits civic leadership shows a willingness to sacrifice personal interests for the good of the community. Ivan Allen Jr. was such an individual. As Atlanta’s mayor from 1962 to 1970, Allen played a major leadership role during the civil rights movement both in the city and in the nation. He was the only important white southern politician who supported the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in testimony before Congress, and at the risk of ending his political career. He also worked diligently to bring the races together in Atlanta and to establish Atlanta as a progressive Southern city through expansion of the airport, attraction of major professional sports teams, and active support of the arts and culture.

The purpose of this essay contest is to illuminate moral behavior and civic responsibility by American leaders and institutions.

2009 Essay Topic

Discuss an American individual, past or present, who has made a contribution to the prevention of diseases and the improvement of health care at home or abroad.

Award and Recognition:

A cash award of $500 will be given to the author of the best senior essay. An additional $500 scholarship will be provided to a contest winner who subsequently enrolls in a degree program at Georgia Tech.

The winner, accompanied by a parent or guardian, will attend an awards ceremony at Founder’s Day at Georgia Tech on March12, 2009. The winning essay will become part of the permanent archives collections at Georgia Tech and the Atlanta History Center.

Submission Requirements:

Essays must be in English and not more than 1,200 words in length.

Students may submit only one essay.

Essays must be submitted with a signed cover page, available at http://www.iac.gatech.edu/legacy/essay.htm.

All entries must be postmarked February 1, 2009.

How to Submit Your Essay:

Send the completed cover page available at http://www.iac.gatech.edu/legacy/essay.htm and three copies of your essay to:

Dr. John Tone, Associate Dean

Ivan Allen College

Georgia Institute of Technology

781 Marietta Street

Atlanta, Georgia 30318

Do not identify the essay’s author on anything but the cover page.

All entries must be postmarked by February 1, 2009. .

Evaluation Criteria and Process:

Georgia Tech will evaluate the essays using the following criteria:

  • The essay demonstrates a strong understanding of the subject.

  • The essay reflects familiarity with primary sources related to the subject.

  • The essay is well-researched, well-reasoned, and adequately documented, using Chicago Manual of Style or MLA documentation.

  • The essay is written clearly, with correct spelling and grammar.

Contest reviewers will see no identifying information about entrants. An essay committee at Georgia Tech will initially identify the essays that best meet the above criteria. The essay committee will then submit the highest-rated essays to members of the Ivan Allen Essay Advisory Board, which will select the prize-winning essays. All decisions will be final.


To be eligible to submit an essay, students must either:

  • be a citizen or permanent resident of the U.S. AND currently enrolled in the 11th or 12th grade of a public, private, or parochial high school (whether in any of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. territories, or high schools overseas) as of the contest deadline of February 1, 2009;


  • be a citizen or permanent resident of the U.S., participating in a high school correspondence course or home schooling program, AND no younger than 16 years old and no older than 18 years old as of the contest deadline of February 1, 2009.

Relatives of Georgia Tech employees are not eligible.


Please e-mail inquiries to john.tone@iac.gatech.edu.

This project is supported by the Georgia Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities We the People initiative.

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