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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The last leg home (sixth ... and final ... in a series)

As I sit down to write this final installment about Pacific Partnership 2010, our steam plant is warming up and we will be departing Pearl Harbor within the hour. The Arizona Memorial rests only a few hundred yards across the channel, and the clear blue waters of the eastern Pacific are now all that stands between me and being home (a journey that will be about a week and three time zones).

Our final mission stop in Timor-Leste was again resoundingly successful, and the country has made remarkable strides forward since I last visited in 2008. There is a large UN presence there, and I was very happy to see the tremendous progress in infrastructure that had occurred in just two years. The streets were safe, the people were taking pride in their communities, and small businesses were thriving. It was a great pleasure to provide medical, dental, and surgical care to the people of Timor-Leste.

As they continue to progress, it is a testament to the success of these humanitarian assistance missions that they still throng to see us, but they require fewer and fewer of us. In addition to our land-based and shipboard work, we spent a great deal of time working with their national hospital system to review budgets, identify critical needs for the future, and map out a regional referral system with the assistance of our Australian colleagues.

Although the country has come a long way, there were still long lines to see the American and Australian doctors and we actually saw more patients this trip than in 2008. It was also nice to go ashore and not have to be escorted around by New Zealanders with large guns as we did in 2008.

We were actually allowed off the ship for some free time this year. There are some great spots for snorkeling and diving on unspoiled reefs. The sea life was abundant and the water was warm and clear.

There were a number of up-and-coming restaurants serving a variety of cuisine. I had the opportunity to attend the Operation Smile end-of-mission dinner with a buffet prepared by an Australian expatriate. It was the most unique buffet line that I have ever been through – everything in the line was meat. There were no side dishes and no vegetables, just sterno-heated foil trays full of meat. It was all delicious and the fare included chicken, lamb, beef, and the owner’s personal recipe for sausage (not really sure I want to know more, but it was good).

Our time in Timor-Leste passed quickly and before we knew it, we were heading for home. We stopped for four days in Guam to let 400 people get off the ship and return to their families and regular jobs. The remainder of us continued to ride Mercy eastward.

The trip from Guam to Hawaii seemed to take an eternity. After 10 days of transit, we saw land again, and made our way to the pier in Pearl Harbor. We finally set foot on U.S. soil after nearly five months, and it was good to be back.

It was a gentle transition back to America, because everywhere I looked, there seemed to be Japanese tourists running around. Our 36 hours in Hawaii were just enough time to get off the ship and enjoy a couple of nice dinners before starting the final leg of the journey home.

As I conclude my journals for this adventure, I wanted to share a few numbers with everyone:

101,662 – number of patients seen during Pacific Partnership 2010
16,000 – approximate number of nautical miles traveled since May 1
14,387 – number of glasses given out to patients
9,254 – number of emails received since May 1
4,723 – number of emails deleted without reading
3,456 – number of emails sent
2,602 – number of animals treated by the vets
817 – number of surgeries performed on Mercy this mission
144 – number of days deployed
60 – number of community service events in host nations
18 – number of major engineering projects completed by Seabees
6 – number of articles of clothing ruined in the ship’s laundry
4 – number of helicopter rides to mission sites
1 – number of boats built and raced in the Darwin Beercan Regatta

**Number of Diet Cokes consumed – too numerous to count

Life experiences, meeting new people, and sharing the ups-and-downs of deployment with good friends – priceless

After nearly 13 months of planning and participating in PP10, this mission is just about over and I’ll go back to my regular job at Naval Medical Center San Diego at then end of September. Thanks to everyone who wrote this summer. I truly appreciated hearing from each and every one of you.

These missions bring together many people from many different backgrounds. I have made many new friends and created lifelong bonds among those who participated in PP10. As the director for surgical services, I learned a lot about leadership, about managing 300 people, and about myself. I’m very proud of the effort that my team put forth, and as we start the last leg home, I’m glad to have left the world a little bit better off than when we started in May.

-- CDR Trent Douglas 95M, director, surgical services, USNS Mercy

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Dress rehearsal (second in a series)

Read part 1 ...

Just finished our first full dress rehearsal of Rent with lights, sound, band, costumes, make-up, the full nine…


I know I’m biased … I’m in it. But when all of the pieces of the puzzle come together you don’t just feel the magic for a moment or two, you feel it for the whole show. And that’s amplified even more because the whole cast is on the stage for the entire performance. Even when it’s not your song you are still a part of the show and the experience.

That has actually been the more interesting twist to the show, being in the moment even when the moment isn’t yours. There is a song in the show called “Support Group,” and that has been the metaphor for the entire show.

We all need each other.

As the characters go through their ups and downs, fighting with a lover, learning to trust a new relationship, keeping your body strong, they can’t do it alone. So the soloists need to feel the cast behind them to support their journeys.

However, there’s still one cast member that hasn’t shown up yet. The audience.

We had some of the crew in the audience at our dress rehearsal to offer themselves up to the claps and the whoops, but it won’t be the same until there’s a packed house.

So some notes for you audience members out there:

No. 1: It’s going to be LOUD. The acoustics in the Performing Arts Studio are awesome for this kind of show and we plan on taking full advantage of that.

No. 2: If you feel uncomfortable being pointed at, stared at, or personally addressed by the performers … don’t sit in the first five or so rows. Think of it like the musical theater equivalent of the splash zone at Sea World. The cast plans on making this show as intimate and interactive as possible with the audience.

No. 3: Get your tickets now! You won’t want to miss it!

Thursday, September 30, 7:00 p.m.

Friday, October 1, 7:00 p.m.

Saturday, October 2, 7:00 p.m.

Sunday, October 3, 2:00 p.m.

For more information, call 404.727.5050 or visit www.arts.emory.edu.

-- Becky Herring 08C, events coordinator, Schwartz Center for Performing Arts

Homecoming luminaries

What do a Grammy-winning singer/songwriter, working Hollywood actor/playwright, VP of marketing for Coke, and a chief of cardiology have in common? They, among several others, were noted as Luminaries for the Emory College of Arts and Sciences' Class of 1985.

The Class of 1985 Luminaries were a select handful of Emory alumni who had gone on to significant achievement post-graduation and were back on campus celebrating their 25-year reunion during Emory Homecoming Weekend. Were they the only successful members of the Class of 1985? Far from it, but they are special in their continuing relationship to Emory.

Each luminary had a distinctive experience on campus as students and for their visit back Homecoming Weekend. Some spoke in classes related to their professional field, others hosted small forums with students for intimate discussions, and nearly all participated in one of four industry-based panels for students.

I was lucky enough to meet them all and be there when they met up with each other again. Many of them hadn’t seen each other since graduation, and the memories flew—the first year of Dobbs as a co-ed dorm, Adam Beguelin's 85C computer (one of the first on campus. Guess who is on his sixth technology start-up?), the last year of Wonderful Wednesdays.

Though their experiences were diverse, I feel confident saying that they all had a great time and re-energized their connection with Emory this weekend by meeting students and getting a feel for Emory today. Let’s hope they (and you) will be back to celebrate long before another 25 years passes.

Here’s to the Luminaries of the Class of 1985: Vicki Arroyo 85C, Adam Beguelin 85C, Haynes Brooke 85C, Kai Ryssdal 85C, Emily Saliers 85C, Larry Sperling 85C 89M 92MR 97FM, Chandra Stephens-Albright 85C, and Robert Van Orden 85C.

-- Kate Lawlor 01C 10MBA, senior director for alumni relations, Emory College of Arts and Sciences

Monday, September 27, 2010

16 bullets from Homecoming

Get out of the way! Run for your lives! It's the Homecoming review blog post!

Now, c'mon ... really. Are you afraid of the Emory Alumni Association's Homecoming float? We were going about 2 miles an hour. Our rockin' red truck, though, was the only thing about the weekend that didn't move fast.

Keep reading for a few more observations about Emory Homecoming Weekend.
  • Next time I work the beer tent (my job at Saturday's Homecoming carnival), I want a tip jar. I swear with the volume of patrons we had ... at normal tipping rates ... I could have financed a vacation. Emory alumni do know how to have fun. And they're polite and patient. Didn't hear one complaint from our guests about waiting in line.
  • The Homecoming Hospitality Center on the first floor of the new Emory bookstore was a popular place. Could have been because of the free stuff. More than 2,000 Emory shirts were given away to excited alumni and their children.
  • For the second year, I got to drive the EAA's float in the Homecoming Parade. For 2010, it was a bright red Chevy truck. The kind of red that, if I was actually driving it on the road, I'd have to pay extra insurance.
  • I need to work on my Frisbee throwing from behind the wheel. Way too many off-target ducks. Our students and alumni did a great job -- throwing t-shirts and souvenir cups from the bed of the truck. Part of that ineptitude, though, was my concern about running over the We Are Emory walkers immediately in front of me. Walkers in a parade? What's up with that?
  • Yes, my throwing need a bit of work, but I could have used a better receiving corps, too. On more than one occasion, parade-goers were hit square in the chest by a Frisbee they were blissfully unaware of. And it's not like they were thrown hard. Open your eyes behind those shades, people!
  • Every year, the Homecoming parade gets better. Several young alumni I spoke with were amazed at the event's growth. For them, during their student days, Homecoming was an afterthought -- a birthday party for the kid no one liked. People may have shown up, and they brought a present, but it wasn't like anyone had any fun. The 2010 parade, though, was a capital-E Event. High-concept floats. Complicated accompanying dance routines. Streamers and balloons and face paint and lots of skeletons. Those young alumni may not have thought much of previous Homecomings, but to a person, they told me they'd come back for the next one and the one after that. And that's what we like to hear.
  • Random memory ... the song playing on the truck's radio as we cruised through Asbury Circle was Brad Paisley's "Water." As festive a song as any.
  • One of the best places to watch the parade was the Residence Life reunion at Dobbs Hall. At least that's what we heard. Once the sun went down, the best views were had at the Class of 1970's 40-year reunion atop Woodruff Library.
  • Kids had a blast at Saturday's festival. The super slide was particularly popular. Every time they got to bottom, they just got back in line. Kind of like the adults in the beer lines.
  • The Shadowboxers opened Saturday's concert and they were tighter and more polished than 90 percent of the bands touring at this moment. Visit their Facebook and MySpace pages now (their hooky brand of guitar/keyboard-driven rock is reminiscent of Maroon 5). The quartet of Scott Schwartz 11C, Matt Lipkins 11C, Adam Hoffman 11B, and Jamie Reilly 11C clearly have a bright musical future ahead of them.
  • It was a Homecoming in every sense of the word for the headlining Indigo Girls -- Emily Saliers 85C (who had already participated in several Homecoming events earlier in the weekend, including a creativity conversation with her dad, emeritus professor Don Saliers) and Amy Ray 86C were in great moods. Their stage banter included Emory memories mixed in with favorites both new and old. And they drove their own cars to the show, too.
  • We don't have a solid concert attendance figure yet, but we ran out of Emory buttons (which doubled as tickets) very early (we had 1,500 to start). Many of the late-comers got "Future Alumni" buttons. I must admit, I chuckled inside whenever I saw a 30-, 40-, or 50-something wearing the button we had originally designed for the kids.
  • Dooley was all over the place. He visited several reunions, stood in the front row for the 25-year reunion's class picture (and ended up in dozens more personal photos across campus). His favorite, though, was probably the Class of 1995's 15-year shindig. He arrived, hung out for awhile, left, then came back for an encore.
  • The Class of 1965 was overheard planning for 2015. That's when they celebrate their 50-year reunion and march in Commencement as part of Corpus Cordis Aureum.
  • The weather throughout Homecoming Weekend was spectacular. Until Sunday. Dreary and rainy all day though it was, a great crowd helped dedicate the Marcus Hillel Center and more than 70 guests turned out for the annual reception for the Emory Travel Program, where our trips for 2011 were introduced. Given the weather, it was a good thing our visitors could see the world without stepping outside.
-- Eric Rangus, director of communications, EAA

Friday, September 24, 2010

Happy birthday, Miller-Ward!

I don't remember much about my 10th birthday. I'm sure I had a party, though. Most likely had a great cake. Got some Star Wars figures. A couple of games. I was probably happy that no girls showed up.

Or maybe I was mad about that.

Anyway ... the turn of a decade is always a big deal. Adding a digit in the tenths column is an accomplishment. And that's why the 10th anniversary celebration of the Miller-Ward Alumni House (MWAH) on Thursday night felt extra festive.

I work at MWAH, so I don't always notice the day-to-day differences, but tonight the house just looked extra shiny. And the good feeling of the more than 200 attendees added to the glow.

Take Marjorie Nunn 61C. She serves on the MWAH advisory board, and you couldn't wipe the smile off her face with a power eraser. "I was gone from Emory for 40 years," she said, "and then we got the two things we always wanted--a performing arts center, and this house."

Lord James W. Dooley even graced us with his presence, and through the mouthpiece of his entourage, he was as articulate as ever.

"The beauty of this building is unrivaled on our campus," he said. "The presence of so many trees reminds me of the earliest days of Emory, both here and at Oxford, when the wooded ravines and flowing creeks still dominated my beloved landscape," he continued.

"If ever my bones grow weary of prowling the same old haunt, all I must do is come here to remember why Emory will forever be my home," he said.

There were Peach Bellinis (a concoction combining champagne with peach nectar), tall glasses of shrimp and grits, and espresso-rubbed beef tenderloin (among the many tasty treats), and self-guided tours of the immaculately styled rooms.

It was a great way to kick off Emory Homecoming Weekend. I really do love working here.

See the photos on the EAA's Facebook fan page.

-- Eric Rangus, director of communications, EAA

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Welcome to the community, Class of 2013!

“In the heart of dear old Emory, where the sun doth shine, that is where our hearts are turning ‘round old Emory’s shrine.”

On Wednesday, September 22, the Sophomore Pinning Ceremony welcomed the Class of 2013 into the expansive Emory network of alumni. As Dooley Noted sang the Alma Mater, I couldn’t help but reminisce about my own undergraduate years at Emory.

Three years ago, I was a sophomore at Oxford College. I lived next door to my friends, a mere two-second, pop-my-head-around-the-door distance. Wednesday night, as an alumna and adviser to the Sophomore Pinning Committee, I watched Emory’s current sophomores sit next to each other, giggle, and listen to The Gathering and our three amazing speakers—Leah Lomotey-Nakon 08Ox 10C; Paul McLarty 63C 66L, president of the Emory Alumni Board; and Gary Hauk 91PhD, vice president and deputy to the president.

I silently giggled with glee when Leah stepped up to the podium. I have known her since freshmen year at Oxford. I and the rest of the audience laughed along with Leah as she talked about the responsibilities of the “real world.”

Next, McLarty welcomed the sophomores into the Emory alumni-hood. Finally, Hauk talked about the history of sophomores—the difference between freshmen and upperclassmen. Hauk ended his address with our school motto in Latin: "Cor Prudentis Possidebit Scientiam"—“The Wise Heart Seeks Knowledge.”

Co-hosted by the Emory Alumni Association and the Office of Residence Life and Housing, the Sophomore Pinning Ceremony marks Emory College sophomores’ official induction into the community of Emory alumni. The pinning ceremony is a relatively new addition to Emory’s long list of distinctive rituals and traditions, having begun in March 2006. The event honors students’ successful completion of two semesters at Emory.

After the ceremony, the Class of 2013 along with alumni, faculty, staff, administration, and other guests lined up to pile up plates of delicious food, including desserts like chocolate-covered strawberries.

I had no chance of getting one of those chocolate-covered strawberries. Luckily, there was plenty of cake decorated with the face of our lovely Emory pin.

The 250 sophomores with pins (including the two students above), 46 alumni, faculty, administration, staff, and I ate, laughed, talked, and mingled with one another for the rest of the lovely evening. I never got my pin as a sophomore but I got one that night and proudly pinned it on my dress. Congrats, Class of 2013, and welcome to the Emory alumni community.

--Eun S Lee 08Ox 10C, residence hall director-fellow, EAA.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Allie's going to Asia (first in a series)

Read part 5 ...

Read part 4 ...

Read part 3 ...

Read part 2 ...

No matter where in the world you live, Emory is always within your reach.

The Emory Alumni Association (EAA) instills this message in graduating students each May before they become our newest alumni, leaving campus for wherever the future may take them.

Many of Emory's 110,000 alumni end up in Atlanta, Washington, or New York but approximately 2,800 move outside of the United States after graduation, either returning to their home country or perhaps on a temporary or even permanent assignment for work.

Given the geographic distance, time zones, and cultural differences, you may wonder how Emory manages to stays relevant in the lives of its international alumni. That is where I come in.

My name is Allie Hill and my role here at the EAA is director of international alumni relations. I work with our 18 international alumni chapters around the world, helping alumni stay connected to Emory through social and educational programming in cities from London to Hong Kong.

As a former expat and lifelong travel fanatic, I’ve actually managed to completely fill my passport two times now. I feel incredibly lucky to be able to combine my love of all things international with the work that I do for Emory.

On October 4, I will be leaving Atlanta for a two-week, whirlwind journey to five countries to host Emory receptions in our target cities and meet with potential chapter leaders. My mission in Asia will be to develop our alumni chapters in Tokyo, Seoul, Shanghai, Beijing and Singapore.

This will actually be my second trip to Asia. My first was in 2007 to Japan and South Korea as a host with the Emory Travel Program to see the cherry blossoms in the springtime. The photo above was taken during that journey. I thoroughly enjoyed that trip and considered it to be a once in a lifetime opportunity. Imagine my surprise and delight to find out that I would be returning to Asia again next month.

Follow along here on EAAvesdropping for frequent highlights from my travels, photos from my journey and updates on how I manage to survive without my daily large sweet tea from Chick-fil-A.

If you went to Emory and are living in one of the cities I mentioned above, or are the parent of an Emory student, I’d love to meet you on my trip. Email me at allie.hill@emory.edu for additional reception information. I hope to see you in Asia!

-- Allie Hill, director, international alumni relations, EAA

Indigo Girls ultimate iPod playlist

I'm Lisa Dupre. By day, I'm a program coordinator in alumni relations at Goizueta Business School, but on the side, I do something a bit more exciting: I work on the Indigo Girls official website, and help out with their online social media. You can also say I go to "a lot" of their concerts. I'm a big fan.

It all began in 1996 when my best friend Rick sent me a mix tape of his favorite music. It included a lot of great music, but the track that stood out the most was the first Indigo Girls song I ever heard. It was ironically not written by Amy or Emily, but by Dire Straits.

Regardless, I was blown away and became a fan of their music and inspired by their social activism. Now that it's 2010, mix tapes have pretty much gone away. They've been replaced by iPod playlists. With the Indigo Girls playing Homecoming in less than a week, now is a perfect time to put together a new playlist of their best songs. Here are my favorites:

Rock and Roll Heaven’s Gate is a rock song! When people think of the Indigo Girls they usually think of a folk duo, but this song will get you up and dancing. The song also features Pink on background vocals. At live performances, I have seen both Atlanta’s Trina Meade and Seattle’s Brandi Carlile join in for the Pink vocals. (Despite Our Differences, 2006)

Cold Beer and Remote Control is one of my favorite songs off Come on Now Social. Even though Emily is singing about lack of hope and motivation, it's a catchy tune. We all have days where we just want to hide, and this is the song for that. (Come On Now Social, 1999)

Starkville is a special one for me, because I was in Starkville, MS, the night this song was written. The show was postponed due to rain, and everyone headed back to the only hotel in the area. The song is really about love and missed opportunities, but it will always remind me of that show. (Become You, 2002)

Love of Our Lives is one of the best tracks on the Girls’ latest studio album, Poseidon and the Bitter Bug. Indigo Girls performed on a Cayamo music cruise two years ago. They played this song while we were at sea, and I have many great vacation memories to go along with it. Indigo Girls will be on the 2011 Cayamo Cruise as well. (Poseidon and the Bitter Bug, 2009)

Devotion is the perfect love song. It’s not all hearts and flowers but rather, real-life love. I first heard this song in the Blue Ridge Mountains with some friends. It always reminds me of the fall and good times. (Retrospective, 2000)

Leaving. The Retrospective disc contained two previously unreleased tracks, Devotion and one of my other favorites, Leaving. It makes me feel at home when Emily sings about the Delta sign. (Retrospective, 2000)

Go is a great protest song. It reminds you that anything is possible, as long as you never give up. It was written in part for some high school students in Irmo, SC who had won a contest to have the Indigo Girls play at their school. The show was cancelled due to some of the Indigo Girls’ activism, and the students had a walk out to protest. It reminds you that you are never “too old to care or too young to count.” (Come On Now Social, 1999)

Least Complicated is a great sing-along song. It reminds me of spring when anything is possible and makes people think of their days in school. (Swamp Ophelia, 1994)

Romeo & Juliet was the first Indigo Girls song I ever heard. Even though it is a cover of a Mark Knopfler (Dire Straits) song, Amy sings it with more intensity than I have ever heard. (Rites of Passage, 1992)

Ghost. I can’t hear this song without thinking of the Indigo Girls Project, a collaboration between Indigo Girls and the Atlanta Ballet. This was performed twice for a run of six shows each a few years ago. I attended all of the performances and saw something new each time. It was hard to choose between watching the Girls play and the dancers dance. Ghost was one of the most memorable performances from this cool project. (Rites of Passage, 1992)

Let Me Go Easy is a sad song set to a happy tune. Even though it will always remind me of a phone call from friends telling me their dog had passed away, I can’t help but love this song and think of Lolly. (Rarities, 2005)

Language or the Kiss is probably my favorite Emily song. The lyrics are so descriptive that you can just feel yourself looking through the window. I’ve only heard this live once, but I always hope to hear it again. (Swamp Ophelia, 1994)

Driver Education was first a solo song for Amy on one of her solo CDs, Prom, but hearing it redone as an Indigo Girls song was like hearing it for the first time. Emily’s harmonies added another layer to an already fun song. (Amy Ray - Prom, 2005, Indigo Girls - Poseidon and the Bitter Bug, 2009)

Mystery. Again, one of the most descriptive songs Emily’s ever written. When this is played live, you can hear a pin drop in the quiet parts. It’s a song that pops up on a lot of fans' favorite lists. (Swamp Ophelia, 1994)

Blood and Fire is one of the few songs I haven’t been lucky enough to hear in all of the shows I have seen. It is a real rarity, but I think it’s one of Amy’s best songs. I hope to be in the audience if she decides to play it again. (Indigo Girls, 1989)

Galileo usually signals the end of the show. It’s such a fun song and it is great when the audience joins in, but I'm always sad to hear it start, because I know that the show has come to an end. (Rites of Passage, 1992)

Wild Horses. This song was written by The Rolling Stones, but has been covered countless times. My favorite version includes guest vocals by Michelle Malone, a Decatur native who is sometimes known as the “third Indigo Girl." This song is a signature finale whenever Michelle plays with the Girls. It’s definitely one of my favorite ways to end a show. (Staring Down the Brilliant Dream, 2010)

-- Lisa Dupre, alumni relations program coordinator, Goizueta Business School

Friday, September 17, 2010

Homecoming--Always a classic

If you open your Homecoming 2010 booklet, you’re going to see a full schedule of events—but that’s only the half of it. Alumni have it good at Emory, but being a student come Homecoming weekend is far better.

See, the schedule of events inside of the Homecoming booklet you all received is missing a few things—that is, from my perspective as a Homecoming co-chairperson.

Alumni and students alike will enjoy Saturday’s nostalgic campus tours, the tailgate and soccer game, the Homecoming parade, and the Indigo Girls concert.

But to me and the rest of the Student Programming Council (SPC), that’s just one day of the jam-packed four of Homecoming week.

I, along with my co-chair, Jess Miron, know all the ins and outs of the week. We’ve booked the artists, requested quotes for just about everything, and we’ve ordered those coveted Emory event t-shirts (available to alumni—ask Gloria). We’ve even planned some new things for the week.

Next Wednesday, Emory will see what I hope to be the first annual Homecoming carnival and we’re not holding back.

Extending from the Dobbs University Center all the way to the end of Cox Hall Bridge, we’ve got spinning rides that might make you sick, carnival booths complete with prizes, inflatable bungee rides, and all the classic kinds of carnival food (popcorn, cotton candy, snow cones, and funnel cake).

The one thing that’s missing is a Ferris wheel. Apparently, the administration doesn’t want kids falling out of their seats, and well, we don’t want that either.

Next Thursday night, Glenn Auditorium will turn into a makeshift comedy club as it does twice a year when we have a comedian come to town. This year, we’ve got TJ Miller, Jay Baruchel’s buddy in “She’s Out of My League” and the guy who held the camera in “Cloverfield.”

And the talent continues throughout the weekend with Guster performing Friday night on McDonough Field and Derek Walin and Super Mash Bros. performing Saturday night at the Homecoming Ball.

This combo of artistry, including the Indigo Girls, has created what we’ve unofficially called the “36-hour marathon” of backline, production, set up and clean up (at least three times), porter potty installation, and pizza deliveries (from Uncle Maddio’s Pizza Joint).

I’ll confess that I’ve already had a nightmare or two about forgotten bookings and unattended events, but I guess that’s all in a day’s work.

Alumni, I tell you all of this not to make you wish for freshmen status again, but to invite you to join in on the fun. Your alumni ID is just as good as an Emory ID, at least this week it will be.

--Lindsey Bomnin 12C, EAA communications assistant

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Carter Town Hall time

As I freshman at Emory, I remember my first Carter Town Hall as an event I was forced to go to with my FAME (Freshmen Advising and Mentoring at Emory) group that I could have cared less about. C’mon, everyone gets a chance to ask questions of a former President all the time. No big deal.

Since then, I have had the opportunity to attend President Jimmy Carter’s Town Hall several times, and it is something I look forward to at the beginning of each school year. Last night I had the chance to attend with an Emory Alumni Board member, and it was as entertaining as ever.

The evening began with an introduction from Emory’s eternal spirit, Lord James W. Dooley. For some reason I get excited every time he’s around, which is something only Emory alum can truly understand. Believe me, I’ve tried to explain him to people who did not attend Emory and I sound like a creep describing a skeleton that runs around campus.

Emory President Jim Wagner introduced President Carter and thanked him for his dedication to the Carter Center and the University. President Carter began with some brief remarks, noting that at his first Town Hall he was told he was lucky to have achieved such wonderful things after his presidency, most notably being a distinguished professor at Emory.

Then it was time for the good stuff.

Here’s how it works – everyone is handed a piece of paper where you are asked to write down one question you would like to ask President Carter. All the questions are then put into a hopper and Campus Life Dean John Ford asks President Carter as many as time allows. And you can ask anything. Really. The one thing I do remember about my first Town Hall was that someone asked “Boxers or Briefs?”

Last night President Carter got some great questions, ranging from what he would do differently about his presidency, to his opinion on the Tea Party Movement, to the keys to being successful, to how it felt to be one of the most powerful men in the world.

In case you’re wondering: he would get re-elected, he thinks it is an extreme right wing movement that will have success in the midterm elections, the key to being successful is doing something you enjoy, and it felt good.

He advised Emory’s freshman class to get involved now and stay up to date on current events as a way to start making an impact on the world the way that he did. The best way to get your current events? By watching Jon Stewart, of course. President Carter’s admiration for Jon Stewart was further evidenced when he responded that in the movie of his life, he would have Stewart play himself.

Now that would be a movie I’d have to go see.

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

Thank you Emory Wheel for the archive photo of President Carter!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Emory pays her 'Rent' (first in a series)

Photo by Daniel Weiss 11C

Read part 2 ...

It’s not often that you get to say you’re living a dream you’ve had since your summers at Jewish overnight camp. But thanks to Theater Emory, that’s exactly what I’m doing.

My name is Becky Herring 08C and I’m both an alumna of the Emory College of Arts and Sciences and a full-time staff member in the Schwartz Center for Performing Arts. When I heard that Theater Emory was doing RENT (In Concert), I immediately had flashbacks of doing “Take Me or Leave Me” at numerous Camp Louise talent shows before I even understood that the two women singing to each other were lovers … give me a break, I was 9.

Based on Puccini’s opera, La Bohème, the smash hit Broadway musical RENT follows a bohemian group of young New York artists and musicians struggling to survive during the height of the AIDS epidemic.

So I haven’t auditioned for a musical in seven years. You can be a confident stage performer but when it comes time to audition you’re reduced to your fourth-grade self delivering a report on a book you haven’t read, worried that, suddenly for no explainable reason, you’re going to burst into flames. Yes, it’s that bad. But the actual audition was a lot less stressful because everyone was so nice … and because it lasted all of five minutes.

I was cast as Joanne Jefferson, a gay Ivy-league educated lawyer. She spends the majority of the show struggling to stay connected to her girlfriend Maureen Johnson, a flirtatiously free-spirited performance artist who used to date another main character Mark Cohen (all of the characters are connected in some way throughout the show).

I had no idea what to expect from the rehearsal process, especially because this is a concert production meaning songs would be cut and there would be very little blocking.

The best thing I can say about what to expect from the performance now that I’ve been through a week of rehearsals is this:

Throw away your recording cuz this ain’t the Broadway show.

Now to some people this can be difficult because they grew up with the 1996 recording--myself included. But it is so much clearer to me now that what we’re creating is unique.

Doing a concert production means we’re not telling the story to each other, we’re telling it directly to the audience and bringing them into the story with us. Over the next three weeks of rehearsal, we’re going to spend every minute communicating why that is going to make it so much more powerful.

And I'll be communicating my experiences with you here on EAAvesdropping.

Until then, if you’re wondering why your local Publix is out of honey and tea bags … you’ll know why.

-- Becky Herring 08C, events coordinator, Schwartz Center for Performing Arts

Monday, September 13, 2010

How long 'til my soul gets it right ?

"Galileo" is my favorite Indigo Girls song.

(I'm actually listening to it right now on my iPod ... it helps with writing, although I hope Gloria Grevas across the hall doesn't mind my desktop percussion. She hasn't said anything yet.)

"Galileo" also was the opener the first (and so far only) time I've seen Indigo Girls in concert. That was back in November 2000, when the Grammy-winning duo of Emory alumnae-Emily Saliers 85C and Amy Ray 86C--played a free show for the Emory community at the Woodruff PE Center.

Dwarfed by a massive backdrop promoting Emory's Year of Reconciliation, they performed a rousing 45-minute acoustic set, then stuck around another 45 minutes to answer audience questions. Although nearly 10 years have passed, I still remember the evening--well, not like it was yesterday, but maybe a week and a half ago.

When they launched into the guitar riff that opened Galileo, I did this little jump-up-and-down in my seat. At the time, I'd been working at Emory for less than a year ... I didn't want to show too much emotion. It was a free event, but the duo certainly didn't take the night off. They brought their A-game.

As I'm sure our alumni readers know, the PE Center is hardly an intimate venue, but Saliers and Ray turned the cold, cavernous gym into a living room with space for 4,000 friends. This was most evident during the Q&A when, seated on stools, the duo casually, personably, and with great appreciation discussed their charity work, experiences as students, and much more.

The next time Indigo Girls play a free show at Emory will be Saturday, September 25, when they rock McDonough Field for Emory Homecoming Weekend. There won't be Q&A afterward (although if you're going to the Class of 1985's 25-year reunion, Saliers will be there and you can probably ask her anything you want), but it should still be memorable.

One thing's for sure, when they play "Galileo," I'm jumping up and down for real.

-- Eric Rangus, director, communications, EAA

Friday, September 10, 2010

Opening today in Woodruff Library ...

If you've browsed Emory Magazine or visited any of Emory's thousands upon thousands of webpages over the past few years, you've seen Bryan Meltz's work.

Meltz is a staff photographer with University Photography; before she came to Emory, she had quite a successful freelance career (which she didn't give up when she joined the University's staff), and she continues to produce exciting work both inside and outside Emory.

Some of Meltz's most affecting images are on display right now in Woodruff Library.

“After: Images from Haiti,” an exhibition of work Meltz created during visits to the devastated Caribbean nation in the aftermath of the January 2010 earthquake, opens today and will run through September 2011 in the ECIT Gallery on Level 2 of the library. It is free and open to the public during regular library hours.

Meltz first visited Haiti in March of this year on assignment for the Rollins School of Public Health's alumni magazine. Several of her photos ran in the publication, but they represented just a sliver of her work there. Meltz sought a venue to tell a deeper story, and that's how "After: Images from Haiti" came to be.

Images will rotate every three months, so multiple visits would be worthwhile. A good first trip would be Tuesday, October 5, at 6:00 p.m. Meltz will be in Woodruff Library's Jones Room discussing her experiences.

You can read the full press release here.

-- Eric Rangus, director, communications, EAA

Thursday, September 9, 2010

An officer, a gentleman, and a guest at Emory

Just in case you haven't been scrolling through Emory's news releases lately, check out this one related to The Visit 2010, the return of His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama 98H to Emory in October.

Internationally known humanitarian and award-winning actor Richard Gere will join Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker for "The Creative Journey: Artists in Conversation with the Dalai Lama on Spirituality and Creativity" at Emory on October 19. The event is part of the Dalai Lama’s return visit to the Emory campus October 17-19 in his capacity as Presidential Distinguished Professor.

The "Creative Journey" takes place Tuesday, October 19 from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. in the Woodruff P.E. Center on the Emory campus. Tickets are available for purchase at dalailama.emory.edu.

"We are pleased and honored to have an actor and artist of Richard Gere’s stature join this creativity conversation with the Dalai Lama to explore the interplay between spirituality and the arts, areas of focus and distinction at Emory," said Rosemary Magee 82PhD, vice president and secretary of the university, and leader of Emory’s "Creativity: Arts and Innovation" strategic initiative.

"The Visit 2010" marks the first return of the Dalai Lama to Emory since 2007. His visit this year is part of the continued outgrowth of the Emory-Tibet Partnership, which was founded in 1998 to bring together the best of Western and Tibetan Buddhist intellectual traditions. Full details can be found at dalailama.emory.edu.

As Presidential Distinguished Professor, the Dalai Lama provides private teaching sessions with students and faculty during Emory study-abroad programs in Dharamsala, India, as well as opportunities for university community members to attend his annual teachings. He makes periodic visits to Emory to participate in programs, most recently in 2007 when he delivered his inaugural lecture as Emory’s Presidential Distinguished Professor.

Thank you for the photo Richard Gere Official Facebook Page!

-- Eric Rangus, director, communications, EAA

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Surviving isn't enough

It’s all about thriving!

On Friday, August 27, the Emory Alumni Consulting Group sponsored its first professional development event, “How to Thrive During Turbulent Times.” Featuring a powerhouse panel of consultants and other experts (many of them alumni), the speakers delved into the skills that create value in challenging, and in good, times.

• Focus on the relationship with the client, not just on a project; personal relationships drive business.

• Have a flexible skill set that will allow you to transition to other industries if your own industry is impacted by a downturn.

• The closer you are to the revenue stream, the likelier you are to survive a downturn.

• Keep up with the latest trends to help “weatherproof” yourself.

• Network, and invest in your network to reap its benefits.

Panelists, pictured above, left-to-right, included Joe Durbin 97C, McKing Consulting; Gary Cruze, Emory Center for Lifelong Learning; Mike Van Den Eynde 92MBA, Deloitte Consulting; and Reatha Clark, PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Aditya Rao 08MBA, Deloitte Consulting, moderated the panel.

Visit the EAA's Facebook fan page for more photos.

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

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Start your engines...

...and head over to the Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, GA this Labor Day weekend!

Labor Day marks the second time this 500-mile night race in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, now called the "Emory Healthcare 500," is held earlier in the year. Previously, the race was the last of the season and has had plenty of different sponsors over the years.

Yesterday, the team's pace car--a 2010 Camaro--made an appearance on campus in front of Emory Hospital to promote the weekend's events. (New to the NASCAR world? Me too. A "pace car" is the car that sets the pace for the other drivers before the flag is waved.)

But the Georgia racing world has more ties to Emory than you'd think. Asa Candler 1899C, an Atlanta business tycoon who funded Emory's move from Oxford to Atlanta, also built the first race track in Atlanta. The track, called Candler Field, was located at the present day site of the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

To add to the fun facts, Emory Hospital's 500th heart transplant patient, Terry "Mr. 500" Green, is the grand marshal of the Emory Healthcare 500. (That's the guy who says, "Gentlemen, start your engines.")

And the race's honorary starter is Wayne Reese, a racing fan and a prostate cancer survivor who was treated at Emory Hospital. This weekend, he'll wave the green flag to mark the start the race.

If you're really into fun facts, there's 498 more of them on Emory Healthcare's website.

--Lindsey Bomnin 12C, EAA communications assistant