Distinguished Alumni Awards

W. W. Patty Distinguished Alumni Award
George Taliaferro - 2013

An inspiration to tens of thousands of young people, George Taliaferro has exhibited throughout his life the courage and determination that made him an All-American both on and off the gridiron. Captain for the football, basketball, and track teams at Gary Roosevelt High School, he enrolled at Indiana University in 1945 and as the team’s leading rusher helped the Hoosiers to their only outright Big Ten championship and only unbeaten season. He was Indiana’s most valuable player in 1948, and was also named First-Team All-American. He was elected a member of the National College Football Foundation’s Hall of Fame. The first African-American player to be drafted by a National Football League club in 1949 he chose to join the Los Angeles Dons and later played for the New York Yanks, the Dallas Texans, and the Baltimore Colts. When his football career ended, he devoted himself to social work positions in Baltimore and Washington, D.C. After earning a Master’s degree at Howard University, he taught at the University of Maryland and was dean of students at Morgan State University. Mr. Taliafero spent two decades serving Indiana University as a special assistant to the University President, the IUPUI chancellor, and the dean of the School of Social Work. Then and now, he has fought to overcome discrimination against minorities. He worked unrelentingly to help create and strengthen the Neal Marshall Alumni Club.