The award was established in 2012 by the university’s graduate education advancement board. The first recipients were named in 2013. Recipients have accomplished meritorious achievement and success in their professional field, exemplify themselves as a mentor and serve as a role model in their profession.
They have made substantive contributions to their professional field at the regional and national levels as evidenced by honors earned in the profession. The professional achievements and contributions to society made by these graduate alumni exemplify the university’s mission, “to teach, to serve and to inquire into the nature of things.”
All graduate-level UGA alumni are eligible to be considered for the annual award. Bottoms is the senior vice president of the Southern Regional Education Board. He is also the founder and director of the High Schools that Work program, which is used in more than 1,100 high schools in 26 states. He was appointed to the National Commission on the Senior Year, a U.S. Department of Education initiative that studies students’ final year in high school.
Bottoms is the former executive director at the American Vocational Association. He also served as director of educational improvement for the Georgia Department of Education for 13 years.