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Friday, October 7, 2011

And the 2011 Emory Medal goes to...

If there’s one thing I admire most about our alumni, it’s their selfless desire to serve their community and their love for helping others.

Last night, the Emory Alumni Association celebrated the noble work of two outstanding alumni, James Turpin 49C 51T 55M and Mary Ann Oakley 70G 74L, the 2011 Emory Medalists.

The Emory Medal is the highest University honor awarded exclusively to alumni. Honorees are selected by the Emory Alumni Board based on a list of criteria, including service to the Emory community and leadership.

To me, Jim Turpin and Mary Ann Oakley embody the true meaning of an Emory Medalist. Turpin, founder of Project Concern International, has devoted his life to serving the world in places where medical care is limited or does not exist. Oakley dedicated her life to her career as an employment lawyer, fighting for the rights of children in the middle of messy divorces.

The recipients enjoyed the Emory Medal ceremony with close family and friends, including President Jim Wagner and EAB President Dirk Brown, who served as the master of ceremonies for the night. The night included a video montage of the two talking about their accomplishments, their families, and how their Emory education shaped them to become the people they are today.

I watched as the twosome viewed their stories on the big screen with pride and humility shown on their faces. I can only imagine what it feels like to visualize the incredible impact they’ve made on the Emory community and the world summed up in a five-minute video.

This was my first time attending the Emory Medal ceremony, and having met with our recipients previously, I know they were both humbled and shocked by the honor—even nervous about the ceremony. I couldn’t think of more-deserving Emory Medalists this year.

Stay tuned for one-on-one interviews with our 2011 Emory Medalists.

--Tania Dowdy 08Ox 10C, online services specialist, EAA

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