Georgia's New Trustees
Civil Rights Leader Andrew Young and Civic Leader Tom Cousins are the 2012 recipients of the state’s highest honor.
A Civil Rights legend and a giant among civic leaders are the new Georgia Trustees for 2012. Former Ambassador and Former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young, a close confidant of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and philanthropist and retired CEO of Cousins Properties’ Tom Cousins, one of the architects of modern-day Atlanta, are recipients of the highest honor the State of Georgia confers.
The two were selected by the Georgia Historical Society and the Office of the Governor and will be honored Saturday, February 11, at the historical society’s gala in Savannah, a part of its annual commemoration of Georgia history.
The original trustees were chartered by England’s King George in 1732 and charged with establishing the new colony, according to the historical society. The colony was a philanthropic venture, giving some English citizens an opportunity to begin a new life. It also served as a buffer between English South Carolina and Spanish Florida.
The trustees were disbanded in 1752, but the state re-established the honor in 2009 to honor contemporary Georgians. The original motto, Non Sibi Sed Aliis, meaning “not for self but for others,” guides the selection of new trustees, individuals whose lives and accomplishments have made the state a better place.
This year’s trustees join a roster of distinguished Georgians that includes former Senator Sam Nunn, former University of Georgia Athletics Director Vince Dooley, businessman and philanthropist Ted Turner, baseball legend Hank Aaron, Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus and the late Marguerite Neel Williams, a founding trustee of The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation.
Todd Groce, president of the historical society, says this year’s honorees are a natural pairing, chosen in part because their actions and their influence were so important to Atlanta and Georgia in the 1960s and ‘70s, a critical time.
“They were both so committed to doing what was right – morally and for the people of Georgia – without regard to party or politics. There’s a power in their kind of vision,” he says. “It’s a vision rooted in their faith.”
Young and Cousins, he says, were able to put old ways aside and work together and build bridges between the black political leadership and the white business leadership.