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Friday, January 29, 2010

Some of that good ol' Southern charm

It was the kickoff event for Emory’s Poetry Council’s spring “What’s New in Poetry?” reading series, featuring guest poets Joanna Fuhrman, Jenny Sadre-Orafai, and Emory alumna Stacey Lynn Brown 92C. The reading series gives students the opportunity to hear and meet poets in the first and second stages of their careers.

Brown was first to step up to the mic.

This Atlanta native was in fact the first Emory student to declare a creative writing major, according to Bruce Covey, Poetry Council director and a lecturer in the Creative Writing Program. After graduating from Emory, Brown went on to study at Oxford University and the University of Oregon, where she received her M.F.A. in poetry. She is now an assistant professor of creative writing at Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville, where she lives with her husband (also a poet) and her daughter.

Brown performed excerpts from her book-length poem, Cradle Song, which explores racial relations and growing up in the South. She explained her poem’s two main characters, an African American nanny, named Gaither, and the “little white girl” she takes care of. Brown immediately included the disclaimer that the latter was a lot like her but not in fact, the poet. She was glad to be reading about the South in the South, because she wouldn’t have to clarify those details in her poetry specific to the region.

She recited her excerpts with a slow, almost eerie voice that slightly rose at the last word of each selection. Between each passage, Brown explained the background or significance of what she was about to read. Before a piece about a woman and her distinctive accent, Brown pointed out that the subject was sitting “five rows back,” a woman wearing a red blazer who grinned at her 30 seconds of fame. According to the poem, her name is “Kristan.”

She prefaced another selection with a joke about obscure Southern churches whose names are spray-painted on the side of vans and whose congregations consist of about 40 or so country folk near Stone Mountain. Brown’s “childhood was full of them.” Most of what she read was lyrical, alliterate, and heavy with raw Southern imagery, like the “shag walls, mossy carpets, and dank concrete” of a motel in Tennessee. Maybe it was the way she spoke or the subject matter of her poetry— maybe it was both.

She ended her reading with three short excerpts about leaving the South, about the “gentlemen callers who held the door with tapered fingers or rough field hands.” With that, Brown captured the essence of the South and brought it back to her hometown and her alma mater.

--Lindsey Bomnin 12C, EAA communications assistant, and Cory Lopez 10C, EAA communications intern

Thursday, January 28, 2010

No photo today, because ...

... we wouldn't want to be seen as taking sides or promoting one candidate over another. Wouldn't be fair, you know?

On Saturday, January 30, the Emory Arts Competition will culminate in a public gala in the Schwartz Center for Performing Arts' Emerson Concert Hall. This is the second University-wide arts competition; the first took place on November 8, 2008. The winners are here.

For the 2010 competition, you can see all of the entrants in visual arts and music right here. The visual arts category includes paintings, drawings, computer artwork, sculptures, and photography, while the music category will include all vocal and instrumental entries. There is prize money, too, donated by an anonymous lover of the arts ... $1,000 for first prize, $500 for second and $250 for third.

A variety of students, faculty, and staff have made the finals. Oh, and two of the entrants are alumni. Physical therapy graduate student Samuel Crowley 09C 12A performs the song Nineteen Thirty Three, and at the very least, check out the description of the song.

On the visual arts side, Emory alumni are represented by Sarah Blanton 92A 03A, assistant professor of physical therapy in the School of Medicine. Her piece is entitled "Through a Glass Darkly."

So lets hear it for the alumni artists ... but also the artists who are physical therapists. How 'bout them apples?

Tickets are free and the public gala on Saturday is open to all. The competition starts at 8:00 p.m.

-- Eric Rangus, director of communications, EAA

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Photo of the Day: I want to ride my bicycle

Emory's Oxford College campus isn't all that large, but sometimes it's nice to have one's own transportation. You can find this bicycle rack, although not necessarily these exact bicycles, outside of Stone Hall.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Can you count to 100?

I’m never prepared for the emotional impact the 100 Senior Honorary induction has on me and its participants . . . after doing it for several years, you think I would be. However, each year brings a fresh set of students, an incredible array of accomplishments, and a chance to see Emory through the eyes of the amazing students who make it what it is.

And with each year is the bittersweet feeling that though these students are getting ready to leave Emory, they’re starting a new era in their lives and will always remain deeply connected to the University.

The 100 Senior Honorary society is a relatively new tradition at Emory; it started with the Class of 2005. Each year, the EAA works with leadership across campus to identify the 100 “most outstanding” members of the senior class. These seniors are then recognized for their accomplishments and inducted as class agents who are asked to maintain a lifelong connection to the university.

"Outstanding" is a purposefully broad term; members can be known for their academic prowess, campus leadership, athleticism, dedication to others, or just simply being a great friend. Each year, nominations for the honor have grown; we selected the 100 individuals this year from more than 800 nominations.

I’m lucky--while my colleagues on campus get to know these students for the four years they’re at Emory, I get to know most of them best in the years after they leave campus. I’ve seen members of the 100 Senior Honorary grow into leadership roles in regional chapters, serve as mentors to younger graduates, take charge of reunion committees, and basically, stay connected to and in touch with Emory no matter where they are in the world or their life.

They’ve gone to graduate school, started careers, married, and will soon be starting families. The best thing about watching them grow is seeing them merge into the Emory alumni community that is more than 108,000 alumni strong. I’ll enjoy these last couple of months with the 100 on campus ... then I'll gladly send them off to your nurturing and keeping for an induction into the society alumni that is far more than 100.

-- Kate Lawlor 01C, director, alumni and student leadership, EAA

Visit the EAA's Facebook fan page for more photos from the 100 Senior Honorary induction.

Who are the 100 Senior Honorary? Find them here.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Oxford College vampires? For real?

After watching last night’s episode of The Vampire Diaries, I’m not necessarily convinced that there were ever real vampires and witches on Oxford College’s campus. BUT ... there were definitely strange visitors a while back as evidenced by the show’s setting.

The Oxford footage was limited to the inside second story of the library but definitely recognizable. From the spiral staircase to the “Quiet Zone” sign it was pure Oxford.

The characters spent the majority of last night’s episode at a little bar by the railroad tracks on Emory St. in Covington, GA. The bar doubles as a country buffet during the day, but in the show it was a happening little pub complete with vampires and at least one witch--the bartender.

I’ve actually been to that bar once (for the buffet) and it was definitely the same place. I may go back now just to get re-acquainted, not necessarily for the food, and sit where Damon sat.

Hopefully this time life will not imitate art, Covington doesn’t need back-alley beat downs and a witch-murdering vampire ... although she did double-cross Damon. One may think twice before walking across the Oxford quad at night now.

Not being a regular watcher of the show I will say it kept my attention and was fun to see Oxford College and Covington, GA as the backdrop. Here’s to hoping they return ... peacefully. Maybe next time they can capture some of the beauty that is the Oxford College campus.

-- Kevin Smyrl, associate dean, development and alumni relations, Oxford College

** photo above by Guy D'Alema ... downloaded from the Vampire Diaries Facebook page.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Photo of the Day: Before the party

Where is this? The newest swanky club in Midtown? Some bar in one of downtown Atlanta's fancy hotels? Nope, this party place is located on Emory's campus. Wisteria Lanes in the Emory Conference Center Hotel. It opened in 2009 as part some remodeling at ECCH.

If this was a 360-degree photo (sorry, we don't have the budget to produce one of those) you'd see Wisteria's bowling lanes.

This particular photo makes the place look pretty sedate (although the Phoenix Suns' Jason Richardson ... on the flat screen ... sure doesn't look happy), but shortly after it was taken, a bunch of attendees from our Emory-hosted PCUAD conference descended on it for their Friday night party.

We've got pictures of that party, too, and we could post them, but I'm not sure if EAAvesdropping is one of those kind of sites.

-- Eric Rangus, director of communications, EAA

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Haiti relief: How to get involved with Emory

Emory's Office of Critical Event Preparedness and Response (CEPAR) is the University's clearinghouse for information on relief efforts for Haiti. Click here to read Director Alex Isakov's letter, posted today, announcing this news. Click here to see how you can get involved and here to visit CEPAR's website.


--Eric Rangus, director of communications, EAA

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Bowled over

What is PCUAD?

Yes, it's the name of Captain Ahab's ship ... but that's spelled "Pequod." The PCUAD we're talking about is the acronym for the Association of Private College and University Alumni Directors, some 31 of whom were in Atlanta for their annual winter conference, January 14-17.

Emory, a member of PCUAD, served as host this year through the Emory Alumni Association.

From the photos I've seen--like the one above from Friday night's bowling party at the Emory Conference Center Hotel's Wisteria Lanes ... best name ever, BTW ... it looks like it was a pretty good time. But there was a lot of work involved, too. It must have paid off since we've noticed ... that people have noticed.

Topics of discussion included the importance of alumni online communities, awards programs and volunteer recognition, young alumni, and trends in the profession. It was all pretty Inside Baseball stuff, but the implications are pretty big for our alumni audience. A lot of the best practices discussed (many of them being practiced right here at Emory) will eventually show up in alumni programming--if they aren't there already.

And that's where professional conferences like these come in handy.

Most every flat surface in the EAA's copy room is covered with examples of PCUAD schools' printed pieces. From a professional communicator's standpoint, it's fascinating to see how USC promotes its faculty speaker series, or to read alumni magazines from Loyola Chicago and George Washington, or to compare WashU and MIT's travel program to ours ... and those are just a few. (Oh, and thanks Wake Forest for the Homecoming koozy. You can never have too many of those.)

The PCUAD conference was an ideal way for alumni relations professionals to learn from each other. It's true that we are competitors in one sense, but for the most part, we're not. For one school to have a successful program, it doesn't mean all the other schools have to fail. We can all succeed and we can all learn from each other.

And that's one of the cool things about working in alumni relations.

-- Eric Rangus, director of communications, EAA

Friday, January 15, 2010

Compassion for Haiti earthquake victims

A letter from President Jim Wagner that was distributed on Thursday ...

To the Emory community,

As we see images and hear stories coming out of Haiti, we cannot help being moved by the magnitude of the disaster there and the almost unfathomable depth of human tragedy we are witnessing.

As a community our thoughts naturally turn to questions of our own families and friends. Emory has to date confirmed all of its known community members in Haiti are safe, and is in contact with their families. The few Haitian students enrolled at Emory were in the United States and are safe. Nevertheless, many members of our community have friends and family members in Haiti whom they have not yet been able to reach. In the coming days and weeks our thoughts and prayers will be with them and with all persons touched by the devastation.

Many members of the Emory community have asked how to reach out and provide support. The University has no direct channels for helping to alleviate the tremendous need of the people in Port-au-Prince and other affected areas. We do not have programs there and, at this point, would probably serve best by supporting expert rescue workers by sending money. Web sites of some of the relief agencies working in Haiti are listed below and can be used to make donations.

No doubt the recovery from this disaster will take many months. If opportunities become available to go to Haiti and help with rebuilding-as many of us have done on the Gulf coast and in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina-our communications staff will make certain that our community is informed of them.

In the meantime, I am grateful for the level of concern expressed by our community and encourage your continued prayers and support for our neighbors in Haiti.


Jim Wagner
President, Emory University

Ways to help

Campus connections to Haiti

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Spice up your Wednesday night

After weaving my way through the crowd of well-dressed businessmen gathered at the hotel bar at the W Atlanta Midtown and getting lost in the bustle of Spice Market, I found my way to the Emory Alumni Association table.

The room was simply beautiful with a reflection pool in the middle and chic modern decorations. It seemed oddly fitting for an alumni happy hour with several of our peer universities, including American, Case Western, Cornell, Drexel, George Washington, Pepperdine, Rice, Rochester Institute of Technology, Tufts, Tulane, University of Southern California, Vanderbilt, and Washington University in St. Louis.

The event was the first of many for the Winter Conference of the Private College and University Alumni Directors (PCUAD). While the conference will be hosted on Emory’s campus over the course of the weekend, last night’s happy hour was a chance for alumni from PCUAD member schools to network with fellow alumni and visit with representatives from their alma mater.

The crowd was ready to go right at 6:00 p.m. and grew steadily from there, with about 120 people in attendance. From our post at the registration table we got to see some familiar Emory faces and meet some new ones (there were several alumni who attended both Emory and another school represented at the event who stopped by to say hello). Everyone seemed to be having a great time and continued chatting long after the appetizers were gone.

--Kelley Quinn 08B, coordinator, Emory Alumni Board

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A week fit for a King

Next Monday, January 18, is Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Understandably, the holiday is an important one in Atlanta (King's hometown), but it's also a time for celebration ... and reflection ... here at Emory.

(It's also a neat milestone for me personally ... One of the first stories I wrote as an Emory staffer was about King Week and one of its longtime leaders, Cynthia Shaw)

King Week (2010 version) kicks off at Emory on Monday, and the celebration is so big that events cover 10 days (through January 27).

Service is, of course, front and center, which makes "Emory's Day On" (as opposed to "Emory's Day Off") most appropriate. Not only will the Emory community hold its annual tree planting in the King Historic District, more than 15 other volunteer opportunities will be available throughout the city.

The full list of King Week activities is available online. Highlights include:

-- A screening of the Emory-produced documentary, The Journey There and Back, at 6:00 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 19, at Harland Cinema. The film highlights the experience of Emory staff and students who attended the historic inauguration of President Barack Obama.

-- The popular jazz vespers service featuring Dwight Andrews, associate professor of music, and the Atlanta Jazz Chorus, at 7:00 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 21 in Cannon Chapel.

Kimberle Crenshaw, law professor at UCLA and Columbia law schools, will deliver the King Week keynote address, "Gender and the Civil Rights Movement," at 4:00 p.m., Friday, Jan. 22 in Cannon Chapel.

The Rev. Joseph Lowery, who delivered the benediction at President Obama's inauguration and is a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, will lead a worship service at 11 a.m., Sunday, Jan. 24 in Cannon Chapel.

-- Eric Rangus, director of communications, EAA

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Networking nights

Braving bitter cold temperatures, students, alumni, and employers celebrated Emory talent in Washington and New York last week at Emory Network Nights, networking events co-sponsored by The Career Center, the Emory Alumni Association, and local alumni chapters.

In addition to enhancing their personal networks and making connections with alumni and other employer representatives, alumni served as resources to students who attended while on winter break.

“Given the economy, it’s so important that alumni serve as resources to our students, providing industry insights and internship leads,” said Paul Fowler, executive director of the Career Center.

Marni Galison 98L agreed. Gallison (seen above, in the background, wearing black pants) is a former prosecutor who practiced law at prestigious New York firms before founding Sunday at Noon, a selective professional matchmaking company in Manhattan.

“Contacts I made through the Emory network with other alumni directly resulted in associate positions with New York firms," she said. "There is no question that students and alumni need to tap into the network and that all alumni need to lend a hand whenever possible.”

The next Emory Network Night will be held in Atlanta on February 18.

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

Monday, January 11, 2010

Photo of the Day: Stick it to ya'

So many uses for this photo ... you can download it as a wallpaper. Print it out and stick it to your chest the next time you attend an Emory Eagles sporting event. Use it as background the next time you hold a press conference ... really, the possibilities are endless.

If you prefer a more conventional image, click here. Although we really do like this sheet of embroidered, adhesive Eagles. They stick to anything.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Snow day!

At 10:29 a.m., the all-University email went out, making it official ... "Due to icy conditions, Emory University will remain closed today, Friday, January 8, 2010."

The kids--college and otherwise--haven't begun school yet, so they got the day off regardless. For Emory staff, though, Friday meant fun times. (Just as long as you weren't driving anywhere. Icy roads throughout the Atlanta metro area and points north made travel treacherous.)

The snow in Georgia started mid-day on Thursday. Just a few flurries to start with, then some sleet came along before finally turning exclusively to snow around 8:00 p.m. At my house, the snow finally stopped around 11:15 p.m., but not before dumping about a half inch on the ground.

When the morning came, all that snow on the roads turned to ice and rather than risk a weather-related calamity, Emory's administration made the call to shut things down (although Cliff shuttle drivers and Emory Heathcare employees had to report ... if you run across any of them, please offer them a hot chocolate or something, they deserve it).

So, once we knew we didn't need to chip the ice off our car windows, we asked EAA staff to submit snapshots of how they celebrated their snow day. Visit the EAA's Facebook fan page to see what we're talking about.

If you have snow day photos of your own, whether you live in Atlanta, where they are few and far between, or, say, Denver or Boston where you chuckle at our half-inch-of-snow-chaos, send them to aeaadmin@emory.edu and you may just get a slide show of your own.

-- Eric Rangus, director of communications, EAA

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Video: Why alumni give ... five reasons (or so)

“Why give to Emory College?”

For anyone who has asked that question lately--or been asked--we have the top five (or so) reasons from a conversation held last month among a few Emory College alumni, staff and faculty.

For example, “Emory College” is not the same as “Emory University"--the college’s endowment is actually quite small compared to its peers.

Tash Elwyn 93C, Chandra Stephens-Albright 85C, Wendell Reilly 80C, and Matthew Bernstein (chair of the Department of Film Studies) are all volunteers supporting the college in raising $100 million during Campaign Emory for scholarships, faculty support, and enhanced facilities.

They dropped by the fourth floor of Candler Library and joined Bobby Paul, dean of Emory College, Kim Loudermilk 97PhD, senior associate dean of Emory College, Josh Newton, senior associate vice president for development, and David Raney 99PhD, editor of the Quadrangle magazine, to share their ideas--and enthusiasm--for supporting the college during these lean economic times.

See the video.

-- Hal Jacobs, senior editor, Emory College of Arts and Sciences

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Photo of the Day: Leafless

My friend Amy Comeau 12MBA, senior marketing manager for radiology at Emory Healthcare, sent me this photo the other day. She took it while on campus, December 30. Some Emory staff (I mean you, Healthcare people, and I thank you) were on the job while many of us University staffers were cashing in our final floating holidays.

The Quadrangle in the dark, quiet of winter is not an image you'll see too often in Emory's promotional materials. Still, the Quad's stark beauty is surprising in its unadorned state.

-- Eric Rangus, director of communications, EAA

Monday, January 4, 2010

The Emory Medal multimedia spectacular

Happy New Year from EAAvesdropping!

Like many of you, I'm just getting back to the office after a nice holiday break. First thing, I'm glad I remembered my passwords. Second thing, today's a nice day to finish up some unfinished business.

Our Emory Medalists for 2009, Henry Bowden Jr. 74L and Arthur Keys Jr. 92T, received their awards back on October 30. But the closing applause of the ceremony that night wasn't the end of the story. We now have the photos.

And the bio videos of both Arthur Keys and Henry Bowden.

The videos were posted on Emory's YouTube site in mid-December, and we received the photos (thanks Emory Photo/Video!) at about the same time, but since I wanted to take my holiday vacation seriously, I'm just now getting around to linking them here.

Besides, lauding our medalists with the first post of 2010 felt like great way to honor them once again. And that is of course why they are being presented to you today.

-- Eric Rangus, director of communications, EAA