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Emory Medalists 2009
Medalists’ work helps those as far away as Africa and as close as the Emory campus
By Eric Rangus
The 2009 Emory Medalists include an attorney whose lifelong relationship with Emory will positively impact students for generations to come, and an ordained minister whose humanitarian work as the head of one of the world’s largest nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) has improved the lives of more than 100 million people around the globe.
Henry Bowden Jr. 74L has made the promotion of Emory’s best interests an integral part of his everyday life since arriving as a student at the School of Law nearly four decades ago. An accomplished attorney, he is the founder of Bowden Law Firm (recently renamed Bowden Spratt Law Firm), whose practice focuses on estate planning and administration, charitable gift planning, and the representation of tax-exempt organizations.
Bowden was president of the Emory Law Alumni Association in 1986 and 1987, has served on the Emory Board of Trustees since 1986, and was selected as a Distinguished Alumnus by the law school in 2005. Bowden also plays an active role in the Atlanta community, having served as chair of the Atlanta Ballet and of the historic Oakland Cemetery Foundation, and of the boards of many private foundations.
Bowden’s commitment to and support of Emory is a family legacy. One of the Quadrangle’s anchor buildings, Bowden Hall, is named for his father, Henry L. Bowden 32C 34L 59H, longtime chair of the Board of Trustees and general counsel. And Bowden met his wife, Jeanne Johnson Bowden 77L, on campus—in Cox Hall, in fact, site of the Emory Medal award ceremony. Early one semester, she stopped to ask him the time, and they struck up a conversation.
“I asked her name and for her telephone number, and we ended up having a date that Friday or Saturday night,” Bowden said. “We ended up getting married a year and a half later.”
In addition to his father and his wife, Bowden’s grandfather, sister, and son all attended the University, and scholarships awarded in each of his parent’s names are granted by the law school and the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing.
From mission work in the 1980s in what was then Yugoslavia to his current commitments to improve the living conditions of some of the world’s most vulnerable populations in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and even here in the United States, the dedication of Arthur Keys Jr. 92T knows no boundaries—national, cultural, religious, or otherwise.
Keys, an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, is the founder, president, and CEO of International Relief and Development (IRD), one of the world’s largest NGOs. Keys has been involved in the management of approximately $1 billion of development assistance, with major grants from a variety of U.S. government and international agencies.
The organization of three thousand people currently serves more than 100 million people around the globe. With Keys’s guidance, IRD has begun a partnership with Candler School of Theology and Emory’s Institute of Developing Nations (IDN).
“We’ve developed special expertise in working in conflict and postconflict environments, and also at managing very large projects,” Keys said. “So we’ve managed projects from a half million dollars in Gaza to a half billion dollars in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
For his work on issues related to poverty and global inequality, Keys received the 2005 William Sloane Coffin Award for Peace and Justice from Yale University Divinity School.
Bowden and Keys received the Emory Medal at a black tie ceremony in October. Presented by the Emory Alumni Association (EAA), the Emory Medal is the highest University award given exclusively to alumni. Honorees are chosen by the Emory Alumni Board (EAB) in recognition of accomplishments that include distinguished service to Emory, the EAA, or a school alumni association; distinguished community or public service; or distinguished achievement in business, the arts, the professions, government, or education.