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Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Golden Corps of the Heart, part 1

The main focus of Emory Commencement Weekend, understandably, is the Emory community's celebration of the Class of 2009.

And that's as it should be.

Congratulating our more than 3,800 new graduates on their tremendous accomplishment is worthy of a five-day celebration. For the EAA, welcoming those 3,800 new alumni into our constituency is a great pleasure. And it gives us a job, which is a very nice thing.

Emory's campus, though, is a big place. A lot goes on, May 7-11, and one of the most fun things to experience besides graduation is our 50-year class reunion. It makes for a neat Commencement Weekend blend--men and women who've spend two-thirds of their lives as Emory alumni mixing with men and women whose days as Emory alumni start on Monday.

Each calendar year, Emory holds 11 reunions, the vast majority of those (5 ... 10 ... 15 ... 20 ... kinda sounds like Schoolhouse Rock) are held in the fall. The 50-year, though, takes place in the spring because it is tied closely to Commencement through the EAA's Corpus Cordis Aureum program.

Since its inception six years ago, more than 500 Emory alumni who've graduated in 1959 or earlier have been inducted into Corpus Cordis Aureum, which is a special alumni group for graduates from 50 years ago or earlier. Induction includes the presentation of a medallion and the honor of wearing golden robes (Corpus Cordis Aureum means "The Golden Corps of the Heart" in Latin) and sitting up front during Emory's Commencement ceremony. It's a beautiful way to honor the alumni who helped make the Emory community what it is today.

Oxford College held is Corpus Cordis Aureum induction on Saturday; alumni from Emory's other schools were inducted in Atlanta on Sunday. And the induction is just one part of the 50-year reunion celebration. To kick it off, on Saturday night, the Class of 1959 held its reunion banquet (see the photo above). On Monday, comes a special breakfast in Candler Library and the Commencement march. EAAvesdropping will have more about that on Monday afternoon.

Hump day Sunday actually involved a lot more than just the induction, and Allie Hill's post does a nice job of detailing that. Another neat aspect of the day was our shuttle tour. Actually, it wasn't so much of a tour as it was our alumni simply riding shuttles from place to place, but our routes passed pretty much every interesting part of campus, so it was my job (and the job of my co-worker Carolyn Bregman 82L, who was on another shuttle), to act as guides and narrate the trip ("That's the new Rollins School of Public Health Building on the left," etc.)

I learn a lot in researching the stories behind our many campus buildings, but I learn even more from our alumni. They love to tell stories about their lives as students and I love to hear them. They drop in all sorts of great anecdotes what buildings used to be named in their day and where they used to park, and which faculty member meant so much and where friends first met.

I also learned that nearly every member of the Class of 1959 had a treasured memory about Harris Hall, Emory's first co-rec hall, and that not all of them are printable in a family blog like EAAvesdropping.

When our shuttle made our final turn onto Clifton Road for the ride back to Miller-Ward from the Schwartz Center, the vehicle began to drift as our 50-year reunion attendees leaned across the aisle to get a better look at Harris. I could see the smiles further brighten their already-joyous faces.

And that's as it should be.

--Eric Rangus, director of communications, EAA

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