Advancement and
Alumni Engagement
Emory Alumni Awards 2022

Celebrating the 2023 Emory Alumni Awards

The Emory Alumni Awards are an opportunity to reflect on the everyday champions, luminary leaders, and change-makers who call Emory home. This year, we’re honoring five alumni whose stories of triumph and trailblazing serve as an inspiration to us all. 

    Luis A. Aguilar’s career and service exemplify Emory’s mission to create, preserve, teach and apply knowledge in the service of humanity. After immigrating to Georgia from Cuba as a child, Aguilar experienced firsthand the generosity of others, igniting a lifelong passion for public service.

    After graduating from the University of Georgia School of Law, he began his law career as a staff attorney for the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). While working full-time at the SEC and then at McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP, Aguilar attended Emory School of Law in the evenings, earning a master of law in taxation. From 2008 to 2015, Aguilar served as SEC commissioner, where he oversaw one of the most transformational periods in its history following the 2007–2008 financial crisis.

    Throughout his career, Aguilar prioritized giving back, particularly to Latinx communities in Atlanta and across the country. He chaired the board of the Latin American Association and the Hispanic National Bar Association. While at the SEC, Aguilar served as a sponsor of the organization’s Hispanic and Latino Opportunity, Leadership, and Advocacy Committee, the African American Council, and the Caribbean American Heritage Committee.

    If the name Ben Johnson sounds familiar, it should. Ben Johnson Jr. was a professor and dean of Emory School of Law. Inspired by his father, Ben F. Johnson III attended Emory College of Arts and Sciences thanks to scholarships for children of Emory staff and faculty members. While at Emory, Johnson participated in the Barkley Forum—the award-winning debate team—and met his wife, Ann, an Emory alumna. After attending Harvard Law School, Johnson returned to Atlanta and had a successful career as a commercial litigator and then managing partner at Alston & Bird.

    Johnson has been a community leader and volunteer for many organizations throughout Atlanta. He was chair of the board for Woodward Academy for 33 years, as well as a member and board chair of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Johnson is currently a board member of The Carter Center and a trustee of the Charles Loridans Foundation. His extraordinary commitment to service extends to Emory, where he served on the Board of Trustees for 18 years, 13 of which he served as chair. An ardent supporter of the arts, Johnson is actively involved in the Emory Chamber Music Society of Atlanta and the Michael C. Carlos Museum.

    Born to parents who immigrated from Nigeria, Chi Chi Okezie has had a lifelong interest in learning languages and experiencing diverse cultures. Okezie is the owner and producer of SIMPLEnetworking, LLC in Atlanta, specializing in business networking, diversity, and inclusion. She works with university students, professionals, and companies to help them polish their professional approach.

    A tremendous advocate for Emory and Oxford College, she has served on committees, organized reunion activities, and mentored students. She was a member of the Emory Alumni Board from 2009 to 2014, chairing the Initiatives Committee and served two years as an alumni counselor on the Board of Trustees’ Campus Life Committee from 2019 to 2022. Currently, Okezie is on the Board of Counselors for Oxford College as well as a part of Alumnae and Women of Emory.


    Julie Schwietert Collazo has always found unique ways to help people. She knew she wanted to be a writer, and as a student at Emory, she realized she could help people through that art. After graduation, Schwietert Collazo earned her master’s in social work and became a creative arts therapist. Five years later, she shifted to freelance journalism.

    In 2018, her life changed. Schwietert Collazo and her husband were inspired to help those detained at the southwestern border under national immigration policies. After hearing a news clip about a lawyer providing pro-bono assistance to detainees, they began fundraising to assist his efforts. This inspired her to start a nonprofit, Immigrant Families Together, to reunite and support immigrant families separated at the US-Mexico border.

    Immigrant Families Together has posted bond for 130 detained parents, grandparents, and older siblings separated from children, and has supported thousands more asylum-seeking families through its border and detention support programs. The ongoing work of Immigrant Families Together involves providing support—housing, legal counsel, health care, and other necessities—as families proceed with their immigration cases. Along with one of the mothers supported by Immigrant Families Together, she is coauthor of The Book of Rosy, which Kirkus named as one of the best nonfiction books of 2020.