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Monday, August 10, 2009

License to thrill

Emory uncovers fans in lots of interesting places. Last last week, for instance, the EAA received an email from Germany.

That's not out of the ordinary, 130 alumni live in Germany (our fifth largest population outside the U.S.), the Emory Travel Program visits there, and we've held an Emory Cares International Service Day project in Frankfurt. So, we're not strangers.

The email, though, didn't come from an alumnus. It came from a German visitor who spent some time earlier this summer in Georgia. He complimented our state, our people and ... our license plates.

Specialty license plates are hardly a new thing, and in Georgia, sometimes it appears there is a a distinctive license plate for everyone, regardless of interest or species. Among the most popular interest plates are those honoring Georgia colleges and universities. Nearly 30 of them (as well as few questionable interlopers) are honored with license plates in this state.

Our German friend Michael (not his real name since I didn't ask permission to write about him), is member of the Automobile License Plate Collectors Association (ALPCA), and he asked us if we could help him find an Emory license plate to add to his collection.
I thought it would be easy. Not so much.

The tags, beyond the more than 1,500 already on Georgia cars, are collectors items already. If someone's Emory plate has outlived its usefulness, the next stop is not someone's yard sale or garbage can. It's a den wall or garage peg board. It's something to be displayed and treasured. Which, I guess gives the ALPCA--an organization that sounds pretty cool if you're into that sort of thing--a reason for being.

So far we haven't found an unused Emory tag laying around, but we're still looking. A few weeks back, we cleaned out the storage closet at the Miller-Ward Alumni House and found magazines from 20 years ago as well as enough old t-shirts to wrap around Candler Library.

Such lairs are where license plates live.

--Eric Rangus, director of communications, EAA     

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