the Woodruffs Are
Part of the approximately
$103 million Woodruff gift that has fueled Emory's growth in the
last two decades was set aside for thirteen endowed Woodruff chairs
to be sprinkled across the schools. In 2002, almost half of those
chairs were unfilled. But the hiring last spring of five new Woodruff
professors in the humanities, law, and medicine brings to twelve
the number of those chairs filled. It also helps to make good the
original intent of bringing more top scholars to this campus. The
College lured Shoshana Felman from Yale and Yusef Komunyakaa from
Princeton, the School of Medicine won David Ledbetter from Chicago,
and the law school scored a double--bringing home Michael Perry
from Wake Forest and Martha Fineman from Columbia.
Two of the reasons these scholars say they were attracted to Emory
are the strength of faculty already here and opportunities for significant
interdisciplinary collaboration. "This is clearly a place supportive
of academic entrepreneurs and intellectual innovation," says
Fineman, Robert W. Woodruff Professor of Law. "The Center for
the Interdisciplinary Study of Religion in the Law School, for example,
is exemplary in this regard and inspires me to think of how I might
broaden the Feminism and Legal Theory Project when I bring it with
me to Emory."
Ledbetter, Robert W. Woodruff Professor of Human Genetics and Chief
of the Division of Medical Genetics, similarly looks forward to
interdisciplinary work. "My interests in rapidly translating
new discoveries and technologies from basic genomic sciences to
improved health should help build bridges to all of the outstanding
clinical programs of the Woodruff Health Sciences Center and clinical
departments of the medical school," he says.
While all senior hires enrich the research potential of their departments,
key appointments in two particular fields--genetics and African-American
literary studies--promise to speed a momentum that has been building
for years. Genetics chair Steven Warren has recruited nine tenure-track
faculty in recent years and more than tripled the size of the department.
When eminent geneticist Douglass Wallace left Emory in 2002, Warren
and others began searching for another senior researcher to complement
this growing cadre.
medical schools and universities recognize the importance of the
completion of the human genome sequence and its potential impact
on biology and medicine," says Ledbetter, "but few have
strong strategic plans to exploit the massive amounts of new data
and powerful new technologies. Emory has a clear vision of enhancing
a highly integrated human and medical genetics program."
On the other side of campus, English, African-American studies,
creative writing, and women's studies have developed a group of
scholars and poets poised to make significant contributions to African-American
letters. Mark Sanders, director of African-American studies, traces
this effort back to the appointment of Francis Smith Foster in 1994
as Candler Professor of English and Women's Studies. "That
raised the visibility of the study of African-American literature
here and helped us to recruit two rising stars, poet Natasha Trethewey
and critic Lawrence Jackson," he says.
In addition to the appointment of Pulitzer Prize winning poet Yusef
Komunyakaa as Robert W. Woodruff Professor of Creative Writing,
the English department was able to recruit senior scholar Michael
Awkward last year from the University of Pennsylvania to fill its
Longstreet chair. "The center of gravity in African-American
studies may be shifting from the Northeast and Midwest to the Southeast,"
says Sanders. "Historically, Harvard, Yale, Maryland, and Michigan
have been the major players. Now Emory is on par with them."
Several faculty and administrators also credit gains in library
collections and the work of special collections librarians in attracting
top recruits in literature.
Strategy, synergy, and serendipity sometimes all come together in
recruiting efforts, says Interim Provost Howard Hunter. "These
things all fit together. And sometimes the best recruiting is done
by not letting someone leave. You try to make it a better place
for people you want to keep, before they have even thought about