ACC Announces 2023 UNITE Award Recipients

ACC Announces 2023 UNITE Award Recipients

CHARLOTTE, N.C. ( – As part of the 2023 Fall Unity Week, the Atlantic Coast Conference has announced the recipients of the 2023 ACC UNITE Award, which was created to honor individuals affiliated with the league’s member institutions who have made an impact in the areas of racial and social justice. The UNITE Award is an initiative of the ACC’s Committee for Racial and Social Justice (CORE – Champions of Racial Equity) and was developed and approved by its 15 member institutions.

The UNITE Award is presented annually to individuals who:

  • Best exemplify ACC CORE’s mission to promote and encourage racial equity and social justice through education, partnerships, engagement and advocacy.
  • Have helped create meaningful, lasting change by improving systems, organizational structures, policies, practices and attitudes.
  • Have been a pioneer and/or helped pave the way for minorities either at the institution or in the community.

Each school selects two recipients based on the above criteria and determines how best to celebrate their respective selections at campus events throughout the academic year.

“We are humbled to once again honor an amazing and inspirational collection of ACC UNITE Award recipients,” said ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips, Ph.D. “This year’s class of honorees deserve to be recognized for their incredible contributions in affecting change by promoting racial equity and social justice. Each of these pioneers are tremendous examples of what can be accomplished when you remain committed to steadfast prioritization of diversity, equity and inclusion. We are proud of CORE’s steadfast efforts with what will remain a prominent conference priority.”

The UNITE Award recipients were recognized as part of a one-hour show on SiriusXM ACC Radio, Channel 371 hosted by Roddy Jones and Dalen Cuff.

2023 UNITE Award Recipients
Boston College: 
John Austin & Joana Maynard
Dr. James E. (Jim) Bostic Jr. & Dr. Rhondda Thomas
Dr. Kevin White & Marissa Young
Florida State: 
Angel Gray & Corey Simon
Georgia Tech: 
Charles Easley & Carla Gilson
Wade Houston & Alyssa Murphy
Dr. Laura Kohn-Wood & Dr. Donald Spivey
North Carolina: 
Ricky Lanier & Karen Stevenson
NC State:
Chavonda Jacobs-Young & Cullen Jones
Notre Dame: 
JP Abercrumbie & Justin Morrow
Ron Idoko & Sheila I. Velez Martinez
Clothilde Ewing & Noah Singlemann
Milla Ciprian & Craig Littlepage
Virginia Tech: 
Kahlil Dover & Jacelyn Lazore
Wake Forest: 
Dr. Larry Hopkins & Professor Muriel “Beth” Hopkins

Miami Recipients
Dr. Laura Kohn-Wood is currently a Professor and Dean of the School of Education and Human Development at the University of Miami, becoming the first Black female dean in the school’s history in 2018. Dr. Kohn-Wood previously served as chair of the Department of Educational and Psychological Studies, was the founding program director of the Master’s in Community and Social Change program, and, with her colleagues, developed the Ph.D. Program in Community Well-Being at Miami. She also previously held the title of Associate Vice Provost for the Office of Institutional Culture, served as the Senior Resident Faculty of Pearson Residential College, and was the inaugural Co-Chair of the University’s Standing Committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

Dr. Kohn-Wood earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Howard University and a Master of Arts degree in Clinical Psychology from the University of Virginia. She received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, with a specialization in Community Psychology, from Virginia in 1996 and completed an internship at the University of California, San Francisco Medical School, followed by a post-doctoral fellowship at Georgetown University School of Medicine.

Dr. Kohn-Wood’s research program Race, Ethnicity, Culture and Promotion of Strengths (RECAPS) focuses on race, ethnicity, and culture in relation to the experience of psychological phenomena among diverse populations, with an emphasis on race-based protective factors and the promotion of positive coping and mental health among African Americans.

Dr. Donald Spivey is a Distinguished Professor and Cooper Fellow of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Miami, where he has served on the faculty since 1993. He currently serves as Special Advisor on Racial Justice to University of Miami President Julio Frenk.

He has lectured throughout the country and has been a frequent commentator on radio, television, and print. His lectures include “Satchel Paige and Negro Leagues Baseball in the Civil Rights Movement” broadcasted on C-SPAN; and “The Historical Richness of Black Baseball in the New Negro Movement, 1919-1941,” at the National Endowment for the Humanities, Washington University Humanities Center Summer Institute.

Dr. Spivey has written nine books, most recently publishing Racism, Activism, and Integrity in College Football: The Bates Must Play Movement in 2021. He has received numerous recognitions including the Faculty Senate Award for Outstanding Teaching; Provost’s Award for Scholarly Activity; selection as a “Top Black Educator of South Florida” by Legacy Magazine; the Robert Peterson Recognition Award for his book, If You Were Only White:  The Life of Leroy “Satchel” Paige; Cooper Fellow of the College of Arts and Sciences; the Ronald McDonald House “Twelve Good Men Award” for Distinguished Community Service in Miami; and appointment to the Search Committee for Historian of the United States House of Representatives.

Dr. Spivey has also taught at the University of California at Davis, Wright State University, the University of Michigan, and the University of Connecticut, where he was a founding director of the Institute for African American Studies. He earned his BA and MA from the University of Illinois and his Ph.D. from the University of California at Davis.