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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Picture pages

We don't have any photos of snails (trust us, that's a good thing), but we do have a brand new slide show from Faculty Destinations: Boston. Click here to take a look.

Thursday, June 25, was one of the first dry days all summer in New England, so we were glad so many alumni came out to the Back Bay Hotel to meet Justin Remais.

For more Emory photos, including hundreds from Emory Commencement Weekend, check out the July 2009 issue of EmoryWire, which is out today. We have photos from nearly 20 Commencement events, plus features on award-winning new graduates, an alumni-led film festival in New York, and much more.

If Emory history is your thing, don't miss the return of EmoryWire's Looking Back feature. While war is no doubt on the minds of many of new graduates (as well as alumni), it's not a new thing. Read how the Class of 1970 reacted to a distant war and how those passionate feelings affected the entire campus in a reprinted piece from Emory Magazine.

Only in the July EmoryWire.

--Eric Rangus, director of communications, EAA

Friday, June 26, 2009

Human Nature (and snails)

Schistosomiasis may not kill you. But it sure doesn't make life all that enjoyable.

A waterborne parasitic disease, schistosomiasis affects nearly 200 million people worldwide, primarily in developing nations. Its treatment is a research focus of Justin Remais, director of the Rollins School of Public Health's Global Environmental Health Program, and an assistant professor at the school.

Remais was the featured speaker at Faculty Destinations: Boston, Thursday, June 25, and his address brought a freshness to the sometimes over-analyzed subject of climate change. He also connected that change to his own, innovative work on schistosomiasis in China, which really personalized it.

I was paying total attention to his every word, and I wasn't the only one. There were lots of "oohs," "ahhs," and "wows" from the crowd.

You can't get schistosomiasis (sometimes called "snail fever" since thumbnail-sized snails are the parasite's hosts) from drinking contaminated water. You get it from touching contaminated water. If you are unlucky enough to do that, the parasite infects you by burrowing into your healthy skin. Yuck. Then it messes up your internal organs, but won't necessarily kill you. The disease is treatable with medication, but it's not a pleasant affliction to have by any stretch.

But if Remais has his way, millions of people can avoid this terrible disease.

You can read more about Remais' fascinating work here.

We had a great crowd of nearly 30 (pretty good for a summer day in Boston without rain ... the first in nearly two weeks, I'm told). Guests traveled from as far away as Providence, RI. We had several current students who brought their parents, and alumni not just from RSPH, but from Oxford College, Emory College of Arts and Sciences, and the School of Law.

It was great seeing such a vibrant mix. The crowd was one of the most responsive I've seen. Following Remais' address and Q&A, guests lined up to talk with him afterward. We stayed in the meeting room some 45 minutes past our planned completion time.

I hope we don't have to pay extra.

Anyway, the excitement of our guests is just one of many things I'll remember from this trip.

Another thing I'll always remember really doesn't have anything to do with the event. I'll always remember I was in Boston when I heard Michael Jackson died (and Farrah Fawcett, too). My mom always tells me where she was when she heard President Kennedy was assassinated (and where her parents were when Pearl Harbor was attacked).

My tragedy signposts, and those of my 30-something generation, have been the Challenger explosion (high school journalism class ... doubly haunting since I went to high school near Tampa, FL, and we could step outside and see the aftermath) and 9/11 (the University Communications office at Emory).

Now, I'm not sure the death of an entertainer (albeit one as marvelously talented yet dreadfully tormented as Jackson) necessarily approaches the tragedies above, but at least in my mind it's going to be prominent. When I heard Michael Jackson died, I was setting up our literature table, getting ready for the event. The reception was in a neat, bar/meeting area in the hotel called Il Barista. It's an image that will stick in my mind for some time. I think it's because was I was doing was so far outside my routine. Had I been sitting in traffic on the Connector, I'm sure I'd feel different. A bar in Boston, though? Yeah, that will be a memory with some legs.

OK, back to lighter subjects. We'll post a Boston slide show early next week and a lot more EAA news to write about. Until then, have a great weekend!

-- Eric Rangus, director of communications, EAA

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The life of an EAA intern

Allow me to introduce myself: I’m a native of Raleigh, North Carolina, a recent Emory graduate, and the communications intern for the EAA this summer.

Just a few weeks ago, I donned my cap and gown and walked across the stage to collect my Emory diploma. Commencement was the bittersweet culmination of four unforgettable years, and I realized that even though I’ve been preparing to embark on a career in communications and public relations, I’m not quite ready to leave the Emory bubble.

Interning with the EAA has been a fantastic opportunity for me to get some professional communications experience under my belt while savoring my Emory experience for just a bit longer. Plus, I get to spend my days researching, planning, and writing about all of the exciting things that are going on around a place that I love.

Summertime is planning time here at the EAA, and the communications office has been surprisingly busy. I have only been here a couple of weeks, but I’ve spent time doing everything from designing graphics, creating slideshows for this blog, interviewing fellow alumni, and writing news articles. As an Emory alumna, I find that this can sometimes feel eerily like talking to myself. But it’s also a great feeling to be able to count myself among the impressive group of Emory alumni with whom I engage here.

You’ll be hearing more from me throughout the summer. Stay tuned for my coverage of the sure-to-be-fabulous evening at Tory Burch with the Alumnae and Women of Emory (AWE) next week!

-- Erin Crews 09C 09G, communications intern, EAA

Discovering Israel

Thanks to my love of travel and adventure, I have been fortunate to visit many countries and even live in a few of them over the past several years. As the director for the Emory Travel Program, I am able to share my passion for travel with alumni and friends of the University through our over 20 different trips offered each year.

With a passport nearly full of stamps from far-off places and photo albums bursting with memories and people met along the way, nothing can compare or even come close to my most recent travel experience.

I have found over the years that opportunity often knocks in unexpected ways with the challenge being able to recognize an opportunity when it presents itself to you. My such opportunity came in the form of an application to participate in an exchange program to Israel in early June. The Israeli Ministry of Tourism was looking for alumni educational travel planners to take part in a program where they would show us their country in exchange for our thoughts and feedback on developing travel to Israel for the alumni market.

From June 1–10, I toured the breathtaking country of Israel with alumni travel planners from Duke, Harvard, Northwestern, Tulane, Washington and Lee, and Smith College—just to name a few. From the Western Wall in the Old City to the Golan Heights, from the Sea of Galilee to Nazareth, from floating in the Dead Sea to the shores of Tel Aviv, I can honestly say I have now seen all that Israel has to offer and I sure am impressed!

The historical sites will overwhelm you with emotion, the hospitality and friendliness of the people will warm your heart and soul, and the food will delight your palate like no other. What started out for me as opportunity instead became a gift, the gift of a lifetime to see a country that has grown and evolved in such a short time and to meet people actively involved in working on achieving peace in the Middle East.

I have been back in the U.S. for a couple weeks now and I still find my mind drifting back to my incredible journey of a lifetime and hoping that a return trip is in my future. If you have traveled to Israel, I am sure that you share my enthusiasm when I say this is a travel destination that can't be missed. If you haven't been, what are you waiting for? Direct flights are available from Atlanta to Tel Aviv daily ... go!

-- Allie Hill, director, Emory Travel Program, EAA

Visit the Emory Travel Program on Facebook and Twitter!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Remembering Doc

Clyde Partin Sr. 50C 51G passed away Tuesday afternoon. He was 84.

It’s not often we can see history up close, but that is what Partin was for more than half a century. Living Emory history.

Sure, Partin’s given name was Clyde (William Clyde, actually), but no one ever used it. Everyone called him “Doc” (which he was, having earned a PhD in education from Vanderbilt and serving on the Emory faculty for decades). Following his storied coaching and administrative career, Doc evolved into a patron saint of Emory athletics.

I talked to Doc maybe a dozen times since I came to Emory in 2000 (including at the 2006 Corpus Cordis Aureum robing ceremony above. I apologize for my hair, but Doc looks good).

Our most memorable conversation, at least in my mind, was one we had about baseball play-by-play guys. We were passing some time on the field at Chappell Park, home of Emory’s baseball team, and he asked me who my favorite team was. Talking about baseball was Doc’s very own national pastime.

I mentioned I was a Cubs fan, and he talked about meeting Harry Carey and what a fascinating experience that was. Doc said it was common for sports figures or announcers such as Carey to not only become synonymous with their teams, but also with the communities in which they lived. It was definitely true of Carey, and while he spent little time behind a mic or in front of a camera, as far as Emory sports goes (and in many ways Emory University), the conversation begins and ends with Doc Partin. Doc was, is, and always will be Emory athletics.

He loved the Eagles through and through, and they loved him back. Frequently, I’d see Doc at Emory basketball games. For the past couple of seasons, Doc needed a walker to get around, but it really didn’t slow him down much. He’d be sitting in the front row with friends, cheering, right next to the action. He even still made trips to the PE Center weight room. And Doc always wore Emory’s gold and blue.

Doc left his mark on Emory in so many ways. His name adorns the batting cages adjacent to his beloved Chappell Park and it graces the title of our athletics director. Yet, Doc’s most important contribution to our community was his simple presence in it.

Always humble, always approachable, always positive, always his love of Emory on his sleeve. And cap and jacket.

Emory will miss him. Goodbye, Doc.

-- Eric Rangus, director, communications, EAA

P.S. If you’d like to leave your own memory of Doc Partin, please leave a comment below. Thanks.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Roses are red, violets are blue

I love Emory and so do you!

If you like flowers, love Emory, and live in Birmingham, AL, I probably saw you at the Birmingham chapter’s Lullwater Day Celebration at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens this past Sunday, June 13.

I'm Laura Zimmerman, assistant director for regional programs with the EAA, here to get you up to speed on all things alumni and floral.

Although the Birmingham event (photos to come) was nearly spoiled by severe weather (who doesn’t enjoy strolling through gardens in torrential downpours?!?), we had a wonderful turnout of nearly 60 alumni and guests. Alumni representation spanned six decades and nearly every school.

The event succeeded at engaging retired alumni as well as recent graduates and everyone in between—including our youngest guest of the day, one-month-old son of Scott 89Ox 91C and Kelley Walton, who was being primed no doubt for the Emory Class of 2031.

Just like the Lullwater Day Celebration invitation suggested, this event provided alumni and their families the opportunity to meet one another and bring an Emory tradition to one of Birmingham’s most beautiful green spaces.

After a weekend of “all-gardens, all-the-time” (first Callaway Gardens for the EAB meeting and then Birmingham Botanical Gardens for the Lullwater Day Reception), I guess you could say that I found my botanical heart. I still have a black thumb though.

-- Laura Zimmerman, assistant director, regional programs, EAA

Monday, June 15, 2009

Following up on those flowers ...

The Emory Alumni Board (EAB) held its annual summer retreat at Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, GA, this past weekend. It was Emory’s first time taking this group to Callaway, which is located about 80 miles southwest of Atlanta, close to the Alabama state line. (Many of our cell phones kept switching back and forth between eastern and central time, which was kind of amusing!) It was very hard not to relax in Pine Mountain. Beautiful woods, gardens, lakes, and farms surround you, and that atmosphere—along with a lot of hard-working alumni—made our conference a great success!

Click here to see a slide show, highlighting activities (alumni) from the whole weekend!

Members flew in from as far away as California. Several spouses and partners came along, too. It’s always great to meet the families of those we work with throughout the year. The weather was gorgeous for the most part; only a light summer shower or two the whole weekend.

Most people arrived on Friday, just in time for our welcome reception that evening. Refreshing summer cocktails were the beverage of choice and many convened on the patio as evening turned into night.

Following breakfast on Saturday, a welcome from EAB President Crystal Edmonson 95C kicked off our workday. In our morning session, we discussed everything from our “Board of the Future” to our first EAB Leadership Scholarship recipients.

After lunch (which featured the best and largest cookies of any conference center I’ve been to!), afternoon business included a special session with Susan Cruse, senior vice president for development and alumni relations, who discussed EAB involvement in Campaign Emory. Subsequent sessions touched on University career services and thinking about the “Big E.” That’s “Emory.”

Before breaking for the day, we recognized members who were rotating off the board, some having served for six years! We also welcomed the incoming executive committee for 2009–10 and outlined upcoming goals.

Once that was finished, free time began. And there was a lot to do at Callaway—pools, lakes, nature trails, gardens, golf—just to name a few! Two of my EAA colleagues, Kelley Quinn 08B and Missy Rodil, and I headed out on foot and made our way toward the nearby lake. We walked around it, checking out the water skiers and swimmers, and then strolled through some gardens and a vacation cottage (which we all registered to win—fingers crossed!).

Then it was time to freshen up for dinner. We had a cookout indoor-style, including shrimp kabobs, chicken, baked potatoes and peach cobbler (we are in Georgia, ‘natch)—a delicious way to end the day and the retreat overall.

-- Lindsay Topping, assistant director, annual giving, Emory Annual Fund

Friday, June 12, 2009

Summer ... vacation?

Have we really not updated EAAvesdropping since May? Dang ... I'm sorry about that. It's not like there isn't anything going on here at the EAA or with Emory alumni. In fact, the next couple of weeks are packed with alumni activity.

If you like flowers in the Southeast, this weekend is for you. On June 12-13, the Emory Alumni Board is meeting at Callaway Gardens near Pine Mountain, Ga. On Sunday, June 14, the Birmingham Botanical Gardens will host more than 50 Emory guests to pay homage to the University's Lullwater Day tradition. EAAvesdropping loves flowers, so we'll be at both events. Don't miss our updates!

EAAvesdropping also loves lawyers, and Emory law alumni in Houston (June 18) and Dallas (June 19) will be busy hosting Richard Freer, Robert Howell Hall Professor of Law.

And for whoever's in New England on Thursday, June 25, the EAA will be hosting Faculty Destinations: Boston, featuring Justin Remais, assistant professor of environmental and global health, and director, Global Environmental Health Program in the Rollins School of Public Health. The intriguing title of his talk, A Snail in the Sun: Global Climate Change and Infectious Disease in China and Beyond, should be enough to draw a great crowd.

More than 3,500 Emory alumni live in the six New England states. The Red Sox are on the road, so what else is there to do but head to the Back Bay Hotel for Faculty Destinations? A 6:30 p.m. reception with Dr. Remais will kick off the evening; the lecture will follow one hour later.

These are just a few examples of what's going on in the Emory alumni world. For the most comprehensive list of alumni activities, visit the EAA's event calendar.

Keep reading EAAvesdropping, too. Vacation is so over ... lots of event updates are coming and we have three new interns you'll be meeting really soon. Have a great weekend!

-- Eric Rangus, director of communications, EAA