Richard Dunn (ABJ ’93) and Xernona Thomas (ABJ ’91, MSW ’92, EDD ’17) have been named the recipients of the University of Georgia's 2023 Footsteps Award. The annual award, given this year on the 62nd anniversary of desegregation at UGA, recognizes UGA graduates who are following in the pioneering footsteps of Charlayne Hunter-Gault (ABJ ’63), Hamilton Holmes and Mary Frances Early, UGA’s first African American students.
The inaugural recipient of the Footsteps Award given in 2022 was Eugenia Harvey (ABJ ’82).
Dunn, now retired, served as the executive director of the Athens-Clarke County High School Completion Initiative, a program that he founded to increase the graduation rates in high schools across the county. The program focuses on helping students reach graduation and explore career and education opportunities.
Thomas spent 31 years working in education as a social worker, assistant principal, principal, chief of staff, and most recently, superintendent of the Clarke County School District where she became the first woman to serve in the role.
Dunn and Thomas will be recognized during the annual Holmes-Hunter Lecture on Feb. 28 in the UGA Chapel.