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For the first time, more than 150 University alumni and community members donned black-tie dress and gathered for an evening event September 18 to celebrate the 2003 Emory Medalists. The black-tie dinner kicked off a new incarnation of the fall alumni reunion event: Homecoming. Many other major alumni events will take place during the first Emory Weekend, May 6-10, 2004.

Those selected for the Emory Medal represent “the quintessence of Emory,” said Robert G. Pennington ’74Ox-’76C-’81L-’81MBA, vice president for alumni affairs and special development programs. This year’s recipients are Rev. John L. Cromartie Jr. ’64C-’88T, Ernie Harwell ’40C, and Solon ’57B-’58MBA and Marianna Patterson ’61C.

“Of the many things we do in this house,” University President James W. Wagner said, “I can think of none more important, more fun, and more meaningful than tonight.”

Born in Gainesville, Georgia, Cromartie received his bachelor’s degree in political science from Emory in 1964 and a law degree from the University of Georgia in 1967. He returned to Emory to earn a master’s degree in theology in 1988.

As a lawyer, Cromartie was part of significant civil rights work in the late 1960s. He argued before the U.S. Supreme Court and served as director of the statewide Georgia Legal Services Programs and as president of the National Legal Aid Defenders Association. In 1998, he received the Lifetime Commitment to Public Service Award from the Emory Public Interest Committee of the School of Law.

He was ordained an elder in the United Methodist Church in 1992 and served at Peachtree Road UMC before his appointment to Cumming First UMC. Cromartie has received several awards from the Candler School of Theology, including awards for preaching and leadership.

“I would advise somebody, if at all possible, to end up in a job that they feel passionate about,” Cromartie says. “Use the gifts that you’ve got and be proud of that, whatever those gifts are. And if you can do that and look back over your life and say, I’ve been blessed with opportunities to use my gifts–that’s a good thing.”

Before his retirement last year, Ernie Harwell enjoyed a stellar fifty-five-year career as a baseball announcer, chronicling games for the Atlanta Crackers, the Brooklyn Dodgers, the New York Giants, the Baltimore Orioles, and finally the Detriot Tigers. He was the first announcer to be traded for a player and the first voice to broadcast a sporting event coast-to-coast. Harwell is a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame, the National Sportscasters Hall of Fame, the National Radio Hall of Fame, and Emory’s Sports Hall of Fame.

At Emory, Harwell served as Interfraternity Council President, was editor of the Emory Wheel, a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon, DVS Senior Honor Society, and the Press Club.

“Emory meant a lot to me,” Harwell said. “It showed me some direction. And it’s been part of my life a long time. I’m very humbled by such an honor.”

Atlanta natives and philanthropists Solon and Marianna Patterson have been married for forty-two years, and have numerous Emory alumni in their family.

As a student at Emory, Marianna was a Stipe Scholar, was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa, and served as president of Kappa Kappa Gamma. She has served as an Annual Fund class committee volunteer, has been a member of the alumni leadership committee, the Legacy Society, and the Board of Visitors. With her husband, she co-chaired the 1997 Emory Annual Fund.

“I was always taught that you were supposed to do your best at whatever you did,” she says. “And I also feel that if you’re fortunate enough to receive a good education and to grow up in a secure environment and have an opportunity to do basically what you want to do, you really owe the community back for this.”

Solon’s activities at Emory included serving as president of the Business School Student Council and being a member of the Society for the Advancement of Management and Alpha Kappa Psi, a business school fraternity. He was inducted into Beta Gamma Sigma and was a member of Omicron Delta Kappa, the Student Honor Council, and Chi Phi fraternity. He also has served as president of the Business School Alumni Association.

Solon has served as president and CEO of Montag and Caldwell, the Southeast’s oldest investment counseling firm, which he still chairs. Recently the Pattersons made a joint commitment that names the future plaza between the business school and the Schwartz Center for Performing Arts.

“The opportunity to serve people and help them in their financial affairs, and let them achieve their goals and objectives is the part that I’m most passionate about,” Solon says. “I enjoy the challenges and opportunities that that provides. And I’ve always felt that there’s an obligation to give back to the community, to be involved and to try to help make it better than it was when you found it.”



© 2003 Emory University