TIGER WOODS has played its links, and Prince William chose it as his college town. But long before it made headlines for celebrity sightings, St. Andrews was well-known for its prestigious University, picturesque setting, and the game of golf.

The medieval city wraps around the spired buildings of St. Andrews University’s three oldest colleges–St. Salvator, St. Leonards, and St. Marys–which date to the mid-fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Although modern facilities have been added, St. Andrews exudes an Old World charm and prestige that draws students from all over the world.

Fewer than half the University’s six thousand students are from Scotland; the majority come from England and abroad. And every year since 1976, this group has included Emory students through the Robert T. “Bobby” Jones Jr. scholarship and exchange program.

Jones, who attended Emory law school between 1926 and 1927, became world-renowned when he won golf’s “Grand Slam” in 1930–the British Open, British Amateur, U.S. Open, and U.S. Amateur. After his death in 1971, a group of friends and colleagues honored him with a trust that funds the exchange program.

St. Andrews, known as the birthplace of golf and home to the Royal and Ancient Golf Club which boasts the famous Old Course, seemed the perfect institution for such a program. The city had long ago adopted Bobby Jones, granting him the Freedom of the City and Royal Borough of St. Andrews in 1958 (the first American to be so honored since Benjamin Franklin in 1759).

So far, nearly one hundred Emory students selected for their “intellectual excellence and record of significant leadership” have attended St. Andrews, and Emory has hosted about the same number of St. Andrews students.

“I was from a small town in Arkansas–Russellville–and not only was it my first time out of the country, but I was the first member of my immediate family to travel outside of the country,” says Polly Price (left), now a professor of law at Emory, who was selected in 1984 to be a Bobby Jones Scholar. “One of the first things I remember seeing after getting off the train was a magnificent cathedral and a castle nearby. I had never seen anything that historic. And it was an easy place to make friends–although at first I had a difficult time understanding what was said to me, and my Southern dialect was equally difficult for them.”

Price and about a hundred other Bobby Jones Scholars from both sides of the Atlantic celebrated the twenty-fifth anniversary of the program with a reunion gala at St. Andrews this summer, envisioned by Senior Vice President for Institutional Advancement William H. Fox and organized by Associate Director of Institutional Advancement Marjorie Nunn and Director of Development for Emory College Caroline Moise.

“This was a five-year dream of mine–something I thought would give new clarity and vision to the program,” Fox said. “It really was magical.”

Emory President William M. Chace and his wife, JoAn, were there for the occasion, as was St. Andrews Principal Brian Lang.

“The reunion was almost euphoric in its warmth and good vibes,” said John Ingersoll, senior associate vice president of arts and sciences development at Emory and secretary of the committee for the scholarship. “For the first time, I think the Jones Scholars see themselves not as a specific quartet of one-year sojourners, but as a two-hundred-member club that is as illustrious as any.”

The scholars say they feel a connection not only to each other but to Jones himself.

“I grew up in Georgia listening to stories my grandfather [George F. Nunn ’35C] would tell about Bobby Jones,” says Christopher Nunn, who spent a year as a Jones Scholar after graduating from Emory in 1996. “He was such a well-rounded individual, in athletics, academics, and business. A true gentleman of yesteryear. There are very few scholarships where people relate to the namesake, but as I walked through St. Andrews, I saw it through his eyes.”

After the reunion, Nunn was inspired to try to form an alumni network of Jones Scholars. “We’re such a broad group of people with such diverse interests. One is with the State Department, one is acting in London’s West End, another is the head of surgery at Memorial Sloan-Kettering, . . .” says Nunn, a consultant in Atlanta. “All of our lives, in part, were shaped by that year at St. Andrews.”

Dan Colman, a New York actor who is performing in the North Carolina Shakespeare Festival this summer, was a Jones Scholar in 1997 and started an improv group at St. Andrews–Blind Mirth–that he was glad to see during the reunion was still up and running five years later.

“We performed in pubs, the student center–it was great,” says Colman. “I studied Shakespeare, experienced single-malt Scotch, and went to the Highlands. This summer, as I was walking around through the streets of the town, every spot held a memory.” A highlight was taking a midnight swim in the frigid waters of the North Sea–an annual tradition among St. Andrews students called the “May dip.”

“All four Jones Scholars from my year were there. We had all lost contact, so we did a lot of catching up,” Colman says. “We became a lawyer, a teacher, a writer, and an actor–the same scholarship, different paths.”

Kwame Lawson (left), now a professor at Georgia State University, spent six years at St. Andrews, staying beyond his one-year Jones scholarship in 1992 to gain a doctorate in contemporary Arabic literature.

“St. Andrews took a very different approach to the teaching of the language and the literature. It was very old school,” Lawson says. “There wasn’t as much emphasis on proficiency in the language; we spent more time discussing the higher elements of the literature. I originally had not planned on getting into academia–I was thinking more about foreign service, government-oriented work. So it definitely changed the trajectory of my life.”

Scholars from both sides of the ocean frequently used their year abroad to travel, which is encouraged with a stipend from the Jones trust.

Amanda Ridings, a math major at St. Andrews who came to Atlanta in 1981 as a Jones Scholar, vividly remembers driving cross-country with a friend she met at Emory and being awed by the urban splendor of San Francisco and the open range of the heartland.

“I went to forty-two states,” says Ridings, now an independent management consultant in Scotland who serves as a trustee for the Bobby Jones program. “We drove across America several times, living on peanut butter. The weather was amazing–days and days of blue, cloudless skies. I remember camping in Oklahoma at dusk, with all these fireflies flitting about. We don’t have anything vaguely approaching fireflies in Scotland. And the people we met were very warm and generous.”

Price, the 1984 scholar, went to law school at Harvard after returning from St. Andrews.

“My time there gave me so much confidence. I learned I could travel to a completely different country and make friends, do well, and be happy. It inspired a lifelong love of travel,” she says. “I’ve taught at the law school in Dresden, traveled to South Africa on a state department trip, visited Central and South America.”

For what he inspired in a small-town girl from Arkansas who decided that she, too, wanted to be a lawyer, Bobby Jones can be quite proud.–M.J.L.

To find out more about Bobby Jones, go to www.bobbyjones.com. If you are a former Jones scholar and want to find out more about the Jones Scholar alumni network, contact mnunn@emory.edu.



© 2002 Emory University