Spring 2008: Register

Turman recipient comes full circle with Emory

By Eric Rangus

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The J. Pollard Turman Alumni Service Award honors Emory graduates who give back to their alma mater through service. On Friday, March 7, in the Miller-Ward Alumni House, it was the Emory Alumni Association (EAA) that gave back in presenting the 2008 Turman Award to Phil Reese 66C 76MBA 76L.

As a graduate student Reese worked to help create Emory’s JD/MBA program, from which he was the first graduate. During his alumni years he has contributed in a variety of ways, through leadership, advising, mentoring, and more, across the Emory enterprise.

When accepting the award, Reese said his relationship with Emory had come full circle—from student to alumnus to honoree. “Emory giving to me, so that I could develop the capacity to give back to Emory, so that Emory could give to me once again,” said Reese, who lives in Wilmington, DE. “It is all very unbelievable.”

Emory Trustee Laura Jones Hardman 67C delivered the keynote address. The award was presented by President Jim Wagner and Jack Guynn, a member of the board of trustees of the Tull Charitable Foundation, which provides Emory with a $25,000 gift in honor of the Turman recipient.

The Turman Award, Emory’s highest alumni award for service, honors Emory alumni who make exemplary contributions of time, expertise, and leadership to the University. The EAA has presented the award annually since 1998. The award itself is a glass cow designed by Hans Godo-Fräbel, an internationally acclaimed glass artist based in Atlanta. J. Pollard Turman, the award’s namesake, referred to leaders as “bell cows,” the leaders of the herd, hence the rather whimsical design.

Reese, whose professional background is in banking and management, is involved with both the School of Law and Goizueta Business School. He sits on advisory boards and campaign cabinets for both schools (chairing the law school’s in each case). His broad range of contributions to Emory includes service with regional chapters, a stint on the Emory Alumni Board, time spent as a mentor to students, and much more.

Reese graduated from Emory College in 1966, and then entered the U.S. Army, serving for six years, rising to the rank of captain. After his honorable discharge, he entered the School of Law. After a year, he inquired with the business school about the possibility of creating a joint degree program with the law school. It took more than two years to make it happen, but since 1976, more than 230 Emory students have graduated with the JD/MBA joint degree Reese helped start.

Wagner noted that Reese’s core reason for engagement with Emory was that the University gave Reese a chance when it didn’t have to. “It’s as simple as that,” Wagner said. “Emory gave him an opportunity to excel. He did. And he has never forgotten. And Phil Reese’s long memory and deep gratitude are still being felt across our University more than forty years after he first stepped onto our campus, and it will continue to be felt long into the future.”

Reese intends to donate his award (along with a match) to Goizueta to create a leadership sailing program. The program will include JD/MBA students, so it will touch both his graduate schools.

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