Howard O. “Woody” Hunter leaves provost post

Howard O. “Woody” Hunter, who has served as interim provost since July 1, 2001, stepped down from the University’s chief academic position on September 1.

Hunter agreed to be interim provost after leaving his twelve-year deanship of Emory’s law school, and says he plans to take a sabbatical to pursue projects he has kept “on hold” for the past two years.

“As I have said many times, [the interim provostship] is perhaps the best job I ever have had,” Hunter wrote in a letter to outgoing President William M. Chace and new President James Wagner to inform them of his decision. “Emory is a fascinating institution, and serving as interim provost has provided me with the chance to learn much more about all the work that is going on here and to make many new friends across the campus.”

As chair of the University’s Ways and Means Committee, Hunter oversaw a cost containment and reduction exercise that resulted in a balanced budget for fiscal year 2004 despite severe reductions in endowment income due to stock market declines.

Hunter said he is most proud of a number of faculty and senior administrative appointments made during his tenure, as well as acquisitions made by Special Collections in Woodruff Library.

“For twenty-seven years I have been a member of the Emory faculty, and for more than half that time I have served in a senior administrative position,” Hunter wrote. “The development of Emory has been remarkable during that time, and I am pleased to have been part of the University leadership during this period of enormous intellectual growth.”

With his decision, Hunter has presented Wagner with one of the first major tasks of his new presidency: finding an acting provost and then launching a search for a permanent one.

“Emory owes a real debt of gratitude to Woody for his service,” Wagner said. “As for the future, we will seek the advice of the President’s Advisory Committee, of the Council of Deans, and of the executive leadership of the University in formulating as soon as possible a plan to go forward.”

New Vice Provost and Halle Institute Director

Holli Semetko, an expert on the role and influence of media in elections, politics, and public opinion, is Emory’s new vice provost and director of the Halle Institute for Global Learning.

Prior to coming to Emory, Semetko was professor and chair of audience and public opinion research on the faculty of social and behavioral sciences at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands. She has also been a faculty member at the University of Michigan and Syracuse University, and a research fellow at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

“Top universities such as Emory have profoundly important roles to play in fostering international understanding through enhancing awareness and the exchange of ideas,” said Semetko, who has lived for most of the past two decades in Europe. A U.S. citizen, she earned her undergraduate degree in economics and political science at Albion College in 1980. She earned two graduate degrees in England, including her Ph.D. from The London School of Economics and Political Science.

The hiring of Semetko stabilizes a position that has not seen permanence in some time. Marion Creekmore served as interim vice provost during the 2002—03 academic year. Prior to that, School of Law Dean Tom Arthur held the position on an interim basis.



© 2003 Emory University