Seven Terps to Receive Maryland Awards Tonight
Tonight's first annual Celebration of Terps: Featuring the Maryland Awards will honor Elaine Johnson Coates ’59, Florent “Flo” Groberg ’06, Raymond Ferrara ’70, Jonathan Fix ’16, Anne S.K. Turkos, Linda Powers ’15 and Steve Leonard ’78.
When Elaine Johnson Coates ’59 arrived at Maryland in August 1955, she was one of just seven black students living on campus—the first group to do so. Coates was the only one to graduate four years later, despite social isolation, racist taunts and a general climate of discrimination.
“I wanted to make my family and my church proud of me, and those whose shoulders I was standing on were very strong,” said Coates, who was the university's first African-American female undergraduate to complete her degree. She went on to a nearly 40-year career as a teacher and social worker in Maryland and retired in 2006.
Tonight, Coates will be one of seven Terps honored at the University of Maryland Alumni Association’s first annual Celebration of Terps: Featuring the Maryland Awards. She will be the inaugural recipient of an award in her name, meant to recognize an individual who has made significant contributions to fostering diversity and inclusion nationally and globally.
"We are honored to bestow the highest-level awards that alumni can receive from the university," said Amy Eichhorst, executive director of the Alumni Association. "We are proud of what our honorees have accomplished, both personally and professionally, and we uphold these individuals as icons to our students, alumni and the broader community."
The other six honorees are:
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