The 2021 Tower Awards were held on Wednesday, April 28th on Zoom, making it the first ever virtual Tower Awards ceremony. Since 1992, the Tower Awards have been presented annually to honor excellence in community service among UT students, faculty, and staff, as well as organizations in the community who have made an impact on Austin. Unfortunately, due to the chaos of the onset of the pandemic in the spring of 2020, the Center for Community Engagement was unable to host the Tower Awards last year. Because of this, we wanted to ensure that we recognized everyone for their dedication service in a year that has brought us COVID-19, a rise in anti-racist movements, a contentious presidential election, and a devastating winter storm.
Many of the traditional award categories were altered this year to respond to the unique ways people have stepped up and served. For example, the award of Outstanding Campus Partner was award to four entities within the university—Facilities Services, University Housing & Dining, School of Nursing, and Dell Medical School. They have all stepped up in various ways to ensure that students have stayed healthy and safe during the pandemic, even when losing some of their own to COVID-19. Facilities Services and University Housing & Dining also acted as first responders when campus lost heat, power, and water from the winter storm. Click here to see all of the 2021 award winners.
Over eighty guests attended the ceremony. In a time where bad news dominates the news cycle, many followed up to share how hopeful it made them for the future, knowing that the UT and Austin communities are working toward a better future.