Douglas Brian Ammar '84
A biographer of Abraham Lincoln said: "Abe Lincoln had a quality that made people pay attention. He did not preach. He just encouraged you to see for yourself that you had a kind, empathetic side, and it was okay to let that side emerge even in this hard-scrabble frontier where pioneer toughness could easily warp into cruelty." Doug Ammar has that Lincolnesque quality. His early hard and poor life did not leave him embittered, but led him to never forget or leave the poor, and to lift them up and give them hope. His fathomless energy, his ceaseless wit, his broad smile, and deep Christian faith have made him an agent of grace everywhere he has studied and worked.
At Davidson he was a hall counselor, head resident adviser, a wrestler, president of the Y-Student Service Corps, and founder of RACE (Racial Awareness Concerns Everyone). The Gladstone Award prophetically recognized his "high potential for service to humankind." The Algeron Sydney Sullivan Award marked "his fine spiritual qualities applied to daily living . . . and service to others unselfishly given." As a soap salesman for Proctor and Gamble, he allied himself with Birmingham Ministries and coached wrestling and soccer in a high school.
At aristocratic Washington and Lee, where he earned a J.D., he tutored and worked with the homeless. But it is as an attorney and Executive Director of the Georgia Justice Project that Doug's faith, compassion, and creativity have combined to change the lives of some of Atlanta's poorest citizens. The Georgia Justice Project and Doug's mission is to embrace poor individuals charged with serious crimes, and through long term close relationships, assist them to establish new crime-free productive lives. The effectiveness of this holistic approach to redemption is becoming legendary.
Because you practice a justice born of the prophets and your Lord; because with a wrestler's tenacity you never give up in transforming criminals into productive citizens one life at a time; because in your fineness and good works you are never self-righteous or judgmental; because in lives and places of great despair, your optimism seems boundless, your smile and humor never fades, and others find hope; and because of you prisoners go free and the poor hear good news; the Davidson College Alumni Association honors you, Douglas Brian Ammar, Class of 1984, and presents you with the John W. Kuykendall Award for Community Service on the occasion of the Fifteenth Reunion of your class.