ATLANTA — Atlanta Magazine recently named a record number of Andrew Young School of Policy Studies (AYSPS) alumni to the Atlanta 500, a list of the most powerful leaders across the city. They join Georgia State University President M. Brian Blake and Ambassador Andrew Young on the list. Young and AYSPS Dean’s Council member Bill Bolling were recognized among the region’s “legends.”
The Atlanta 500 honorees are acknowledged as leaders who are creative problem-solvers. The AYSPS honorees are:
- Aparna Bhattacharyya (B.S. ’93), executive director, Raksha Inc.
- Lisa Cupid (M.P.A./J.D. ’12), Cobb County Commission chairwoman
- Andre Dickens (M.P.A. ’14), mayor, City of Atlanta
- Jerry E. Gonzalez (M.P.A. ’05), CEO, Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials
- Michael Halicki (M.P.A. ’09), executive director, Park Pride
- Kwajelyn Jackson (M.S. ’05), executive director, Feminist Women’s Health Center
- Bee Nguyen (M.P.A. ’12), founder, Athena’s Warehouse and the first Asian American Democratic woman elected to the Georgia General Assembly
- Maria Saporta (M.A. ’80), founder, SaportaReport.com
- Rebecca Serna (M.S. ’07), executive director, Atlanta Bicycle Coalition
Blake, who was named the university’s eighth president in June 2021, was recognized by the magazine as a leader in education. His research has been supported by more than $12 million in funding awards and he is an author of over 200 scholarly publications.
Professor of Urban Studies Dan Immergluck was honored for his expertise in housing, neighborhood change, real estate and community development. Immergluck has served as a visiting scholar at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta and as a consultant to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Department of Justice. He recently published the book, “Red Hot City: Housing, Race, and Exclusion in Twenty-First Century Atlanta.”
The founding executive director of the Andrew J. Young Foundation and former Dean’s Council chair, Andrea Young, was recognized for her leadership in legislative advocacy and community engagement. She serves as the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia, where she enhances and defends civil liberties and rights through legal action, legislative and community advocacy, and civic education and engagement. She wrote “Life Lessons My Mother Taught Me” and co-wrote “Andrew Young and the Making of Modern Atlanta” with Andrew Young and Harvey Newman, Professor Emeritus of Public Management and Policy.
Atlanta Magazine chose its list of leaders based on diversity of station, background, thought and other differences. The honoree list was carefully crafted to exhibit how camaraderie is just as essential as the economy and exemplifies Atlanta’s leaders’ display of an intensified commitment to inclusiveness.
Only a small number of Atlantans were recognized as “legends.” Bolling was recognized for his contributions to fighting hunger as the Atlanta Community Food Bank founder and a charter member of Feeding America.
Atlanta Magazine honored Young, the college’s namesake, for his remarkable legacy as a civic activist, elected official, groundbreaking ambassador, social entrepreneur and adviser to presidents. President Jimmy Carter appointed him to become the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and honored Young with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America’s highest civilian award, in 1981. Young led the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and became Georgia’s first Black congressman since Reconstruction. He contributed to drafting the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Additionally, he made significant contributions to Atlanta’s economic development during two terms as Atlanta’s mayor and by helping to bring the 1996 Summer Olympics to the city.
– By Ashley Thompson, M.A. in Communication candidate