GSU alum receives Atlanta’s highest honor

Anne Wimbush Watts figured her afternoon was done after she finished a speech at Atlanta’s Rush Memorial Congregational Church on Sept. 12.”They were up at the podium and talking about this person who seemed to have really done quite a bit,” Watts said.

“I said, ‘Wow, that’s a great person.'”Actually, Watts was that person.

Officials from the city of Atlanta were at the church to present Watts with The Phoenix Award, the city’s highest honor.

It goes to Atlantans who have made outstanding contributions to the city and citizens of Atlanta.

“I just started crying. I lost it,” she said. “I never thought in my wildest dreams that I’d be so honored.”

Besides providing academic leadership for Morehouse faculty and students, Watts also has oftend offered her expertise on topics such as public speaking and technical writing to churches, community and civic organizations and the youth of Atlanta.

Watts started the Kappa Omega Finishing School (for teenage girls from disadvantaged backgrounds); has been a member of Leadership Atlanta; has been honored in Who’s Who in Black Atlanta, Who’s Who Among Black Americans and Who’s Who Among American Teachers; is a GSU gradaute, member of the Grambling State University Hall of Fame; and is listed on the National Registry of Prominent Americans.

At Morehouse, she established the UPS Scholars Program. Established in 1996, the program has raised a total of approximately $500,000.

Each year, 10 scholars must tutor at an elementary school.

“As a distinguished educator, orator, writer and community leaders, you have demonstrated an admirable commitment to enhancing our community through service and humanity,” stated Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed in the award citation.

“On this special day, we pause to acknowledge the extraordinary work you are doing in the lives of our youth.

“We are proud to have such a worthy servant and thank you for making a difference in the lives of our residents.”

The Atlanta City Council also proclaimed Sunday, Sept. 12 “Anne Wimbush Watts Day” in Atlanta.

“To be honored at this level is very humbling and very encouraging at the same time,” she said.