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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

EAAvesdropping on Commencement 2009

If you've read the latest issue of EmoryWire, or simply looked at the main Emory webpage, you'll know that the Class of 2009 is about to graduate. May 7-11 is the campuswide celebration of Emory Commencement Weekend, and you can EAAvesdrop on events no matter where you are!

Check EAAvesdropping frequently over Emory Commencement Weekend--EAA staff will be blogging from events every day, giving alumni readers a first-hand view of the fun. Live vicariously through us! It's EAAvesdropping you can feel good about.

Through our blog posts, our goal is to give you a fun sense of what it's like to be on campus during this very important, very fun weekend. But, if you prefer your Commencement updates in 140 characters or less, click here to follow the EAA's new Twitter page. We'll be Tweeting from all over the place--Oxford, Lullwater, the Block Party, a seat under a tree at the Quadrangle, the back of a campus tour bus, who knows? Part of the fun of following will be to learn where the EAA will turn up next.

Finally, as we mentioned in EmoryWire, today's EAAvesdropping post is also set up to collect your feedback about our latest issue. (To make it easy for you to review, we'll even provide you another link to EmoryWire here.) What do you like, dislike, or want to read in EmoryWire, the EAA's signature electronic newsletter? The only way we'll know is if you comment below. Thanks for reading, and EmoryWire will be back in June with full Commencement coverage and hundreds of photos from across campus.

Until then, be sure and check EAAvesdropping for daily Emory Commencement Weekend coverage and whatever else we can think of.

--Eric Rangus, director of communications, EAA

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The professor of defense

Pellom McDaniels 06G 07PhD is a big man.
You need to be to play seven years in the National Football League, and McDaniels, a defensive end and linebacker who played with the Kansas City Chiefs from 1993-98 before closing out his NFL career with the Atlanta Falcons in 1999, retains every ounce of his athleticism and gravitas 10 years after he retired.

McDaniels, who earned master's and doctoral degrees in American studies at Emory when his playing days were over, was the special guest at the March 26 panel discussion, Changing the Game: Race and Sports at Emory and Beyond. The panel was presented by Emory's Transforming Community Project and co-sponsored by the Caucus of Emory Black Alumni (CEBA) an interest group of the EAA.

An audiofile of the discussion was recently uploaded to the EAA's Alumni Academy album on iTunesU and is available for free download.

McDaniels, who played collegiately at Oregon State, now lives in Kansas City and is an assistant professor of history and American studies at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Emory, of course, still doesn't have a football team, but if we wanted one, McDaniels, who is still in great shape, is a sure starter.

Joining McDaniels on the all-pro Race and Sports panel were Department of Athletics staff Tim Downes, Clyde Partin Sr. Director of Athletics, and women's basketball coach Christy Thomaskutty; student-athletes Jason Campbell 11C (men's indoor and outdoor track) and Amelia McCall 11C (volleyball), and as a special guest Lloyd Winston, first coach of Emory's men's basketball team as well as the first African American coach at Emory in any sport. Emory Alumni Board (EAB) member Amri Johnson 96PH served as moderator.

Each tells an intriguing story. Winston, now a resident of St. Louis, was a trailblazer without ever intending to be, and his wry recollections of the past and thought-provoking questions about the future of Race and Sports were among the discussion's highlights.

Campbell and McCall offered the enlightening perspectives of student-athletes of color who have to negotiate the pressures of succeeding on the track (or court) and in the classroom every day. And Downes and Thomaskutty, student-athletes themselves in their collegiate days, discussed the complicated world of administration, coaching, and how to put together winning programs in a society that doesn't always offer the easiest playing field.

And holding it all together was McDaniels, who presented some of his academic research while still remaining accessible. For more than a half hour after the panel was complete he was still shaking hands with guests and laughing with students, staff and alumni alike. None of whom apparently were quarterbacks.

--Eric Rangus, director of communications, EAA

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Who says you can't go home?

At the 1 hour, 7 minute mark of last night's Sugarland concert at the Gwinnett Arena, Kristian Bush 92C stepped up for his first lead vocal of the night. He took took over the Jon Bon Jovi part of the duet, Who Says You Can't Go Home?, a no. 1 single for Bon Jovi and Bush's partner Jennifer Nettles. It was a great highlight for the hard-working musician, and something the sold-out crowd, few of whom sat down at any point of the night, appreciated.
As the song played, a large video screen flashed a smorgasbord of Atlanta-area icons (The Varsity, the Georgia Dome, Eddie's Attic, the "Gwinnett is Great" water towers). There were no Emory images, alas. but the University of Georgia and Georgia Tech got flashes (and the UGA logo won the fan vote).
The Atlanta love shown was just one way the duo expessed their great appreciation for their home state and its fans. Sugarland's show included not only a string of their new and old hits, strategic picks from the current album, Love On The Inside, but some inspired covers from Georgia artists, like an exquisite (albeit too short) cover of R.E.M.'s classic, Nightswimming. And their final song was a trippy cover of the B-52's Love Shack with Bush delivering a camp-free male vocal and Nettles donning a frizzy, foot-high blond wig, somehow channeling both Cindy Wilson and Kate Pierson at the same time.
While Nettles (justifiably) earns her share of attention, Sugarland, which won two Grammys earlier this year and has been cleaning up the acronym-heavy country music awards or some time (CMA, ACMs, etc.) is a true partnership. For instance, when Nettles belts the Grammy-winning ballad, Stay, Bush is right next to her, passionately playing guitar. There are two spotlights shining down.
It's hardly diva-in-training behavior.
The pair is boundlessly energetic, too. Bush, in particular, endlessly sprints from one end of the stage to the other like he's just downed a half-dozen espressos. Their connection to the crowd, and to each other, is remarkable. For Bush, it's a long way from playing house parties on Fraternity Row.
For those of you who enjoy such things, the set list from the show (the first of huge tour that will cross-cross the continent this summer) is below. Fans will recognize a lot of the band's hits. The set also included a smattering of new songs that gave Bush and Nettles a chance to stretch. For instance, their second encore, So Long, featured Nettles on piano (one of four instruments she played on the night) and rockin' bass solo by Bush, while Blood on Snow plunged some moody lyrical depths that were a great contrast to their upbeat material.

It Happens
Want To
Already Gone
Blood on Snow
All I Want To Do
Everyday America
That's How I Like It
Down in Mississippi (And Up To No Good)
Who Says You Can't Go Home
Something More
Baby Girl (Acoustic)
So Long
Love Shack
Jet (signing autographs)

--Eric Rangus, director of communications, EAA

Friday, April 10, 2009

Headed for the "County Line"

I'm headed to the Arena at Gwinnett Center tonight out in Duluth. Why should you care about this? Well, the Grammy-winning country duo Sugarland is playing there tonight, and I'm very excited. Again, I guess, you may be asking, "Why should I care?"

Well, the male half of Sugarland, mandolin player/guitarist/songwriter Kristian Bush 92C is an Emory alumnus, having graduated with a double major in English and creative writing. Emory Magazine editor Paige Parvin 96G wrote a great profile of Bush in the magazine's Spring 2008 issue.

The female half of the duo, Jennifer Nettles, didn't graduate from Emory, but she is no stranger to the campus. I remember vividly a show she put on under the DUC Terraces back in 2002 when she was fronting the Jennifer Nettles Band. More rock than country back then, she played more than 90 minutes. For free. It was spectacular, and I'm so glad she has hit it big. Few performers I've ever seen are more talented, charismatic, and deserving.

If anyone else is a fan, check back on EAAvesdropping this weekend. I'll try and post a review, maybe a set list, list any Emory shoutouts, that sort of thing. Not sure what'll happen. Have a great holiday, be it Passover or Easter.

--Eric Rangus, director of communications, EAA

Monday, April 6, 2009

A sweet Saturday at Sweetwater

As my friends and I discussed the past four years of our lives at Emory, it is hard to believe how quickly they have gone by.

It seems like just yesterday that I was a scared little 18-year-old moving into Longstreet with big dreams of college life. Now with about a month left until we graduate and go our separate ways, it is time to celebrate and reflect on how far we’ve come.

Seniors and Sweetwater was our chance to do just that. Saturday, April 4, the EAA invited the Class of 2009 and Atlanta Young Alumni to come out to the Sweetwater Brewing Company for an afternoon of mingling and beer. The weather couldn’t have been nicer as I stood on the crowded patio listening to the live band and seeing all the familiar faces I’ve come to know.

Having all my friends together for the day was a treat, but it has me thinking about what comes next.

I shouldn’t be as shaken up about graduation as I am, considering I graduated a semester early and have been working at the EAA since December, but the finality of Commencement puts everything into perspective. I think I’ve been living in denial for the past few months, still hanging out with my friends, who are all seniors, and not really acting like a part of the real world. I’m reluctant to admit that I have graduated and now have a job, when it’s easier (and more fun) to pretend I’m still an Emory student.

It’s hard to think about everyone moving on, but I know we’ll stay close after graduation. Thankfully I have my job at the EAA so I still get to be involved with Emory. I’m even more thankful for other upcoming Commencement events for seniors, like Candlelight Crossover and the Torch and Trumpet Soiree, so that I can put off the real world for just a bit longer.

Commencement is on Monday, May 11, and I’m sure it will be here before we know it. But until I wear that cap and gown, I’m going to continue enjoying being a senior.

--Kelley Quinn 08B, leadership team assistant, EAA

Pictured above (from left to right): Kelley Quinn 08B, Jessica Lake 09C, and Lauren Rabach 09C