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Sunday, March 27, 2011

The bell cow

J. Pollard Turman 34C 35L 73H, namesake of Emory's highest award for alumni service, believed in supporting leaders. He had a nickname for leaders, too. One that kind of sticks in your mind.

Bell cows.

Now, there aren't many cattle roaming near the Emory campus, although there used to be back in the days before paved roads (and over on Oxford campus, the occasional bovine explorer will find his way into Seney Hall), so it's understandable if the reference flies over your head.

But according to the story, Turman called men and women who were natural leaders "bell cows." The cows were so named because of the bell around their necks. Wherever the bell cow leads, the herd follows. Such as it is with leadership.

And in 2011, the Bell Cow is Walker Ray 62C 65M 68MR.

President Jim Wagner presented Ray with the J. Pollard Turman Alumni Service Award at a banquet and ceremony in the Miller-Ward Alumni House on Thursday, March 24. A pediatrician in Atlanta for more than 35 years, Ray has served in a variety of Emory roles, including a stint in 2006-07 as president of the Emory Alumni Board (EAB), which is where I met him.

I enjoyed working with Ray immensely. He was (and is) approachable, humble, intelligent but not overbearing, sincere, and funny. All great qualities in the leader (and in a doctor, for that matter). He is a leader who you want to follow. And that's probably the best kind. He's someone who will cross a room to say hello to you. And that means a lot.

The Turman award itself was created by the Frabel Glass Art Studio here in Atlanta and as you can see in the photo above, it manages to be be beautiful and whimsical. Not pictured above is the $25,000 check presented to the Turman recipient by the Tull Charitable Foundation. The recipient may direct that grant to any Emory program he chooses.

Ray chose five: the School of Medicine, the Candler School of Theology, Oxford College, the Department of Pediatrics, and the EAB Leadership Scholarship. Lots of people drove home happy.

For more about Ray, read the April 2011 edition of EmoryWire. It'll be out Tuesday, March 29.

-- Eric Rangus, director of communications, EAA

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