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Monday, November 30, 2009

(Emory) presidential commission

Big news happens at Emory even when EAAvesdropping is on Thanksgiving break.

On Tuesday, November 25, the White House announced that President Barack Obama appointed Emory President Jim Wagner as vice chair of the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues.

Click here to read the official release.

In this position, Wagner and other members of the commission will advise the president on bioethical issues that may emerge from advances in biomedicine and related areas of science and technology.

Wagner has championed the role of ethics in Emory's mission by significantly enhancing the prominence of the Emory Center for Ethics and including ethical engagement as a pillar of the University's strategic vision. Emory also offers a master's program in bioethics.

-- Eric Rangus, director of communications, EAA

Monday, November 23, 2009

It's time to give thanks

Thanksgiving brings feasts of buttery turkey, tasty stuffing, mashed potatoes, homemade cranberry sauce, and warm pumpkin pie. And for us college students, Thanksgiving is also a much-needed, mini break—a time to take a deep breath before plunging into the hell that is finals.

No matter what you do or where you go, Thanksgiving break is important to any college student — freshman or super-senior, graduate or undergraduate, American or international.

But this year, Thanksgiving break is bittersweet for me. As a senior, it’s my very last. It’s yet another mark on the list of things that I’ll soon have to say goodbye to at Emory.

While I’m looking forward to graduation and all that awaits me in the years ahead, it breaks my heart to think of all I have to leave behind at Emory: walking through the beautiful campus; lounging on the grassy Quad; enjoying lunch in the sun outside Cox Hall; catching up with girls in the Tridelta lodge; and so much more.

So I’d like to say, Emory students, savor your time here. These years fly by in the blink of an eye. Before you know it, you’ll be in my shoes—heading into your very last semester at the University and wishing you could do it all over again.

This Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for Emory.

--Cory Lopez 10C, communications intern, EAA

Friday, November 20, 2009

A voyage to Washington

Event planning is serious business. Especially when you are talking to people with guns.

Such are the complications of holding events on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. For sheer atmosphere and proximity to both power and impressive architecture, the location is tough to beat ... once you get in.

Destinations: Washington, DC -- Voyages: The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database, a partnership between the Emory Alumni Association and the Emory Libraries, took place Wednesday night, November 18 in the Caucus Room of the Cannon House Office Building. Some 250 people attended, and the stories told (many of them previously unknown) of millions of Africans' voyages to the Americas in chains were horrifying, riveting, educational, and shocking all at the same time.

One of the hosts for the evening was Rep. John Lewis, whose Georgia congressional district includes Emory. We'll have more on his appearance as well as photos and other reflections on the EAA's latest (and one if its most successful) visit to DC in future EAAvesdropping posts.

Stay tuned.

But for now ... back to our discussion of security.

Vehicle access to the Cannon House Office Building requires passing through checkpoints run by the U.S. Capitol Police. If the stern looks of the officers aren't a strong enough deterrent of funny business, the guardrails and retractable steel and concrete barriers should be.

Getting through the checkpoint requires a hefty list of approvals, which is understandable. Among the last officers to approve entry are a couple who have four legs.

"We were told we need to be sniffed by canines," was the line spoken to one of the human officers by a co-worker--a person who obviously hasn't experienced too many law enforcement interrogations (not that *I* have, mind you, but I've heard stories).

Apparently the dogs didn't find anything suspicious other than minivan exhaust and the overpowering smell of cardboard from the dozen or so boxes we were hauling, because after a moment (albeit a long one that included a few calls to verify we were who we said we were), the police lowered the barriers and waved us through.

Once inside the Cannon building and after climbing the stairs to the third-floor Caucus Room, the Libraries staff went to work. They assembled several Voyages workstations and the display board visuals accompanying them with such speed and ease, it was if they'd been practicing set-up for a month.

It was something that would impress even the most stoic U.S. Capitol police officer. Or his dog.

-- Eric Rangus, director of communications, EAA

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Consultants going 'Loca'

About 130 Emory alumni are members of the Emory Alumni Consulting Group (EACG), a new EAA-sponsored group whose goal is--as the name implies--to bring together alumni who are professional consultants. A decent amount of those 130 attended the first mixer for Atlanta's EACG members on Friday, November 13, at Loca Luna in Midtown. Steering committee members (left to right) Adrian Tonge 02C 07MBA, Aditya Rao 08B, Adriana Hernandez 04PH, Will Porteous 06B, and Joe Durbin 97C, are pictured above.

Brian Rutter 03MBA, a member of the Emory Alumni Board (EAB) and a consultant himself, offered words of encouragement and stressed the importance of building the Emory network. He noted that all alumni play vital roles in building and expanding the network, not just for themselves, but for current students--the next generation of Emory alumni.

The EACG provides opportunities for networking, professional development, and online collaboration among alumni and students. This fall, Atlanta members of the EACG provided mock interviews and seminars for students at Goizueta Business School and through The Career Center. More service activities and continuing education are planned for the spring.

Membership is open to alumni from all Emory schools who work in consulting. Getting involved is easy, visit E-Connection, Emory's online career networking site (registration is required), find the “Emory Alumni Consulting Group,” and submit a “Group Membership Request.”

-- Carolyn Bregman 82L, director, alumni career services, EAA

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Emory Cares in San Francisco

An apple a day ...

Emory alumni in Northern California volunteered at the San Francisco Food Bank as part of Emory Cares International Service Day. Special thanks to project coordinator Myles Abbott 69C for sending us the photos!

Visit the EAA's Facebook page for more healthy images.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Emory Cares in Durham

We had a great time volunteering on Saturday with the Walltown Neighborhood Ministry in Durham, NC! Seven alumni participated, representing five Emory schools: Candler School of Theology, Emory College of Arts and Sciences, James T. Laney Graduate School, Oxford College, and the School of Law

We weeded flower patches and raked and bagged leaves in the yards of homes managed by the Walltown ministry. The ministry has done a lot to clean up and to improve the Walltown neighborhood, including building and renovating homes for elderly and less-fortunate families. The yards we cleaned up were adjacent to St. John's Missionary Baptist Church, one of several churches in the area that contribute to the ministry.

At the end of the project we talked about finding more ways to connect Emory alumni in the Research Triangle, and we hope to participate in Emory Cares again next year!

See the photos.

--Natalie Owens 07Ox 09C, Emory Cares project coordinator, Raleigh-Durham, NC

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Emory Cares in Seoul

In Seoul, South Korea, 15 Emory alumni and students volunteered at The Peace House, a residential facility for physically and mentally disabled men. Young Ryul Choi 08C, Jungweon Hwang 08B, Jaewoo Lee 07C, and Eugine Oh 03C were the project coordinators.

Emory Cares in Westchester Co.

Neither cold nor rain could halt Emory Cares International Service Day in Westchester Co., NY.

Emory volunteers helped with a Habitat for Humanity build in Mamaroneck and, according to project coordinator Michael Lulkin 78L, the Emory team was "among the best in terms of enthusiasm, spirit, and ability to learn and skillfully perform the work."

To see what Lulkin was talking about, visit the Westchester slide show on the EAA's Facebook page.

Emory Cares at Oakland Cemetery

Emory Cared Saturday afternoon at historic Oakland Cemetery. Legions (yes, pretty much legions) of students and alumni fixed up the Georgia Historical Society's historic marker landmark that Bobby Jones 27L (golfer and Emory Law alumnus), Margaret Mitchell (author of Gone with the Wind), 25 Atlanta mayors, 6 Georgia governors and more notable greats call their final resting place.

Our massive group split into teams, and throughout the afternoon the cemetery came alive with the activity of Emory folks beautifying one of Atlanta's historic places. As part of the restoration project (Oakland was hit rather heavily by the tornado of 2008), volunteers planted vegetation like rosemary and liriope (yeah...I had to Google that name), transplanted trees, mulched, watered, made deliveries, prepped projects, and the list goes on and on.

Despite the heavy labor, being attacked by fire ants (vicious little beasts) and capturing a ghost in a photo (OK, so YOU tell me what it is), the project was a great success: we left the cemetery greener, cleaner, and mulchier (is that even a word?) than when we arrived.

The day was gorgeous--the fall sunlight elongated the shadows of the ornate graves, and with the cobble-stoned pathways breaking the horizon against a backdrop of the Atlanta skyline, well, it couldn't have been a more perfect day.

And it didn't hurt that Six Feet Under was right across the street.

Oakland Cemetery is open 365 days a year from approximately 8:00 a.m. to approximately 8:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

-- Cassie Young 07C, coordinator, alumni programs, EAA

Emory Cares at McDonough Field

Who knew that service could be one big party?

All the telltale signs were there for the start of Emory Cares International Service Day on McDonough Field Saturday afternoon: Gold, helium-filled balloons. Music blasting from the stage. And lots and lots of happy, excited people.

An estimated 1,000 Emory volunteers packed McDonough, where they signed in and gathered with their groups (30 in all) for transport to their service projects around Atlanta. Some of the trips were pretty quick (shortly after leaving McDonough a couple dozen volunteers were aleady hard at work planting tree and beautifying Cox Ravine about 150 yards away), and others were far enough away (Jonesboro, for instance) that volunteers just drove straight there.

Every participant earned an Emory Cares t-shirt, and they flew off the tables, fast and furious. All the small and mediums were gone immediately, it seemed. And despite the masses of humaity, the entire sign-in process ran smoothly thanks to to the students from Volunteer Emory and the Student Alumni Association (SAA) staffing the tables.

MCdonough opened at 12:30 p.m. and by just after 1:00 p.m., most everyone was gone and on their way. Registration was a model of happy efficiency and the first step in what would be an exciting--and meaningful--day across the Emory community.

-- Eric Rangus, director of communications, EAA

Friday, November 13, 2009

Marketing a social movement

Although Kim Loudermilk 97PhD, senior associate dean in the Emory College of Arts and Sciences, still teaches the semester-long class at Emory, Social Movements and the Media (the basis for her speech, Marketing a Social Movement, in New York on November 11): let’s just say it wasn’t your average college class.

We had guests from Atlanta, attendees ranging across 20 class years, and even a Cornell alumna who eagerly signed up to get in on the action. Well, seems like everyone had the right idea, as the talk was spectacular—funny, futuristic, and engaging all at the same time. It seemed as if everyone laughed on cue, but really, it was just a good speech coupled with some racy images (see above) that boasted a wide appeal.

The event, hosted at MTV Studios by Ellen Albert 79C, senior vice president for planning and design for Viacom/MTV Network, was from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., but it seemed like the crowd didn’t want to leave!

The event was sponsored by the New York Chapter of Emory Alumni and two of the Emory Alumni Association's interest groups--the Alumnae and Women of Emory New York (AWE NY) and Emory Gay and Lesbian Alumni New York (GALA NY). We had a wonderfully diverse group of 30 guests. A surprising number of men actually showed up to listen to the talk, which was, even in the event description but more so in actuality, largely focused on feminism in advertising.

Loudermilk began by plowing through the history of a variety of social movements and their effect on the media. Guests became overwhelmingly engaged during the section on feminism, which was presented in conjunction with commercials and ads. The presentation spanned the gamut of brands—beginning at Dolce & Gabbana, critiquing Virginia Slims, and ending with oomph on Maidenform Bras.

At one point, Marni Galison 98L was so intrigued by an ad and Loudermilk’s interpretation of it that she interrupted mid-presentation to play devil’s advocate.

In older Virginia Slims marketing, a lot of feminists hated the “You’ve come along way, baby” campaigns. Galison, after vehemently denying smoking, exclaimed: “Is there any cigarette ad that feminists do like?!” Her point was that, if someone inherently doesn't like the product, she certainly will disapprove of the ad. But, we did see some commercials that feminists happened to be fond of—I recommend checking out “The Diet Coke Break” on YouTube.

Regardless, thanks to Galison, the tone was set for an informative and inspiring feminist advertising debate post-pesentation. The group finally concluded, with Loudermilk’s guidance, that feminism in advertising moves in waves and eventually always comes full circle.

An interesting statistic ... we learned that only 16 percent of people in senior advertising roles are women! So, who is really behind these ads? Given the numbers, it seems that the ideas mainly stem from ad men. Perhaps the politics of the time play a small role, too. Just like the ad changes that came in the Reagan and Clinton eras, we are likely to see a new wave of advertising with the “change” advocate, President Obama.

--Nicole Rose Stillings 08C, senior consultant at Internet Marketing Inc.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Photo of the Day: The face on the mace

The Emory mace is one of the University's most valued talismans. Given to Emory in 1965 by D.V.S., the Emory College senior honor society, the mace makes its most frequent appearances at Commencement. The image above reveals just a portion of the mace (albeit an extremely neat portion of it ... that skeleton is a reference, of course, to Dooley).

For other images of the mace, click here and here. Emory Magazine Editor Paige Parvin 96G wrote a great biography of the mace, too. It warms one's old bones ...

Monday, November 9, 2009

Health care legislation: The day after

Just 15 hours after voting to pass health care reform legislation in Washington, Kathy Castor 88C was speaking to Emory alumni in Tampa.

This happy coincidence of scheduling added an additional layer of relevance (as if that was possible) to Sunday's Faculty Destinations: Tampa event, Why Health Reform Can't Wait (And You Can't Either), at the Tampa Yacht & Country Club.

Castor, a second-term Democrat whose district covers a large chunk of the Tampa Bay area, including the cities of Tampa and St. Petersburg, shared the stage with Arthur Kellermann 80M, associate dean for health policy and professor of emergency medicine. Less a victory lap for health care legislation she strongly supported than a measured explanation of its impact, Castor (who majored in political science at Emory) skillfully outlined the House's reform measures.

Kellermann, who has spent more than his fair share of hours in the ER of Grady Memorial Hospital, related real-world stories of patients who the current system has failed. And Kellermann's calls for reform were not necessarily in lock step with the bill passed by the U.S. House 220-215 on Saturday night. The need for reform, though, is without question, he said.

To be sure the country's health care debate is a passionate one (I know this first hand, having spoken with alumni whose iron-willed opinions fall on both sides of the political aisle), and Emory is fortunate to have such credible authorities contributing to it. And diverse ones, too.

The crowd on Sunday was by no means unanimous in support of the house bill. But they were unanimous in their civility. No outbursts anywhere. YouTube will be disappointed. But Emory can be proud.

The unfortunately-too-short Q&A was followed up by more than 45 minutes of post-event discussion which saw alumni literally lined up to speak to Castor and Kellermann, who worked overtime to chat with them.

It was a pretty great afternoon all around. Some 50 guests attended, which, on a Sunday in Tampa with the Buccaneers wearing their throwback creamsicle orange jerseys at home and beating the Packers for their first win of the season, is a great number ... you can understand why everyone was happy.

-- Eric Rangus, director of communications, EAA

Updated, Friday, November 13, 12:10 p.m.

Check out the EAA's Facebook fan page for photos from the event! -- ER

Friday, November 6, 2009

Photo of the Day: TGIF

The Goizueta Business School courtyard is usually this empty on a day like today. Many a student apply to the b-school in hopes of graduating from this prestigious institution. And, as a perk that all other majors envy, they get Fridays off.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

"Truly a good man"

I received an email this morning concerning the weather here in Atlanta. It was too nice. Sunny, bright blue skies. Was that OK?

Today was the day of Dr. Ward's funeral and campuswide memorial service. Gray clouds and rain seemed more appropriate for such a sad day, the email said.

I thought about that for a second. A sunny day ... Actually, I don't think Dr. Ward would have wanted it any other way.

That sunshine is just Dr. Ward smiling down from heaven upon all of us at Emory, a community he made his own for 80 years. He would want us to celebrate his life not mourn his passing.

Gray skies are the last thing you'd expect the day of Dr. Ward's memorial service.

Early this morning, Dr. Judson C. "Jake" Ward 33C 36G, dean of alumni (his senior portrait is at right), was laid to rest in the family plot in Cobb County, northwest of Atlanta. In the afternoon, hundreds of his friends gathered at Glenn Memorial United Methodist Church to say goodbye. A reception followed at the Miller-Ward Alumni House, Ward's campus home the final nine years of his life.

David Jones 76T, senior pastor of Glenn Memorial UMC was there in Cobb and he was the first speaker at the memorial, where a portrait of Ward, ringed in bright flowers, decorated the front. Jones said it was appropriate that Glenn host the service for Ward, who worshiped there and also taught Sunday School for 56 years, "No one was more at home in this sanctuary or on this campus than Jake Ward," he said.

"Imagine talking to the same people for 56 years. That's something no preacher can get his head around," said Larry Bauman 55T 71T, Glenn Memorial UMC pastor, emeritus, of the class that was eventually called 'the Jake Ward Class,' because of its iconic instructor.

More than one speaker recalled their first meeting with Ward. "I was a guest in his office for a couple of history lessons," said President Jim Wagner. Some of those lessons Ward had typed for his benefit, Wagner quipped, just in case he forgot them.

"Jake knocked on my door at Vanderbilt in 1969," said President Emeritus James Laney 94H, who at the time was a professor at the Nashville school. "He is responsible more than anyone else for my coming to Emory," said Laney, who would serve as dean of the Candler School of Theology before being named president in 1978.

"I later found out who he was," said Laney of Ward, who was then dean of the faculty at Emory. "I'd never had a dean knock on my door. I had never had an assistant dean knock on my door. I had always been summoned to them.

He was my first boss here and my first mentor," Laney continued. "And his appointment as dean of alumni was magical. He brought life and zest to the alumni association."

"He was truly a good man."

-- Eric Rangus, director, communications, EAA

Read more about Dr. Ward's life

See a slide show of Dr. Ward through the years

Share your memories

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Catching up with Newt Gingrich 65C

Maybe it was the taxi driver.

After serving as a captive audience for the driver’s diatribe on why armed militias are going to be necessary in the “reclaiming” of America, his minimally veiled threats toward the president, and the scary way he sped up every time he went on a Michael Savage–inspired rant, Emory photographer Kay Hinton and I were more than happy to throw a handful of bills at him as we arrived at our destination on K Street in downtown D.C.

With that prelude, once we got into the elevator and rode up to the Center for Health Transformation to interview its founder, Emory alumnus Newt Gingrich 65C, the former Speaker of the House—sometimes cast as a strident conservative—seemed downright conciliatory.

Gingrich (who started Emory’s Young Republicans club during his sophomore year) has been a six-time congressman, the co-author of the Contract with America, and a political player and pundit for more than 30 years. When he graced the cover of the New York Times Magazine in March, we thought it was time to catch up with him and run a profile in his own alumni magazine, which should be in your mailboxes now. The electronic version, with bonus audio, is right here.

Amiable, full of opinions, and spouting statistics as if they were kudzu, Gingrich carved nearly an hour out of his jam-packed day to speak with us and pose for photos. This despite the fact that Gingrich and his wife, Callista, were preparing to leave for a two-week tour of Asia. An avid reader and author, he had already stocked his Kindle with a dozen books to read on the trip. Some faves: Ace Atkins historical mysteries and John Sanford’s detective thrillers.

“FDR used to read mysteries,” he told me. “It relaxes you, and really good mysteries teach you about people.”

Indeed, Gingrich was excited about the release of his own book this fall—a historical novel about George Washington crossing the Delaware called To Try Men’s Souls (co-written, like both of his previous novels, with historian William Forstchen).

During the interview, we touched on topics including this summer’s explosive town hall meetings about health care, the importance of living wills (he has one), the critical need for education reform, and the joys of visiting with his grandchildren.

Gingrich, at 66, says he’s nowhere near ready to sit back and rest on his laurels. “I could retire anytime I wanted,” he said. “But if you want to continue to contribute . . . you have to stay active.”

Gingrich said he believes the future of politics must be “tripartisan,” aiming for consensus among Republicans, Democrats, and independents.

I only wish our taxi driver could have been there.

-- Mary Loftus, associate editor, Emory Magazine

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Dr. Judson C. "Jake" Ward 33C 36G, 1912-2009

Dr. Judson C. "Jake" Ward 33C 36G, dean of alumni, passed away this morning, peacefully in his sleep. He was 97 years old.

Ward's positive mark on the Emory community is almost impossible to measure. His accomplishments as a student, teacher, administrator and dean are easy to quantify, but the positive light he brought to Emory with his mere presence will forever burn brightly in the minds and hearts of everyone who met him.

His hands and his heart helped build Emory and our community could not have grown into what it is without him.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Dr. Ward's wife, Sue, their four children, five grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

If you would like to leave your own memory of Dr. Ward, please leave a comment below.

--Eric Rangus, director of communications, EAA

Updated: Tuesday, November 3, 12:32 p.m.

A University-wide memorial service will be held for Dr. Ward at Glenn Memorial United Methodist Church on Wednesday, November 4, at 2:30 p.m. Parking will be available in visitors lots around campus. A reception will follow at the Miller-Ward Alumni House (at 815 Houston Mill Road). During the reception, guests are welcome to sign a condolence book, which will be presented to the Ward family.

If you are unable to attend the memorial or the reception, EAAvesdropping will be updated with the full story.

Updated: Wednesday, November 4, 8:59 p.m.

Click here to read about Dr. Ward's memorial service

See a slide show of Dr. Ward through the years

-- Eric Rangus, director of communications, EAA