While at a recent reception in Los Angeles, a young man asked me about opportunities to participate in theatrical productions at Emory. I waxed as eloquently as I could on the wonderful work of Theater Emory, the direction of Vincent Murphy, and the system of having students serve as understudies to professional actors.
I went on to say that for a time during the 1993-94 academic year, renowned South African playwright Athol Fugard served as an artist-in-residence with Theater Emory, and that the troupe produced two of his plays, the names of which I could not recall.
"Oh, I know Fugard well," the young man said without hesitation. He went on to cite the titles of three or four of his favorite Fugard works that, I am afraid to admit, did not ring the slightest, most distant bell. Were any of these the works in question, he asked?
"You know, I'm really not sure," was my not-so-deft reply, and I quickly changed the topic to the recent profusion of student-organized a capella groups on campus.
No doubt there are many people in Los Angeles conversant with Fugard's work, so why relay this message to you? The reception was a Let's Go Emory party in Los Angeles for incoming freshmen and returning students. In my mind, the conversation was extraordinary because the young man was seventeen and is a member of the Emory College Class of 1999.
This is a bright group, and that is an understatement. The Class of '99 boasts the best average high school GPA and SAT test scores in school history.
(Incidentally, 168 children of Emory alumni applied for admission to Emory College this year, and 73 percent of those were accepted, compared to the 51 percent acceptance rate for the total applicant pool. Of those legatees accepted, forty-five have enrolled.)
The Association of Emory Alumni sponsors Let's Go Emory parties each summer in the weeks leading up to freshman orientation and the start of the fall semester. Hosted by alumni or current parents, the events were held this year in Boston; Chicago; Dallas; Houston; Jacksonville; Sands Point, Long Island; Miami; River Vale, New Jersey; Orlando; Philadelphia; Tampa; and Washington, D.C., in addition to Los Angeles.
The format for these parties is simple. There is little speechmaking. The students get a head start on forming their initial circle of friends and contacts. The parents get to ask the Emory staff the inevitable late-arising questions about airports, highways, banks, and air conditioning. And alumni get to feel part of current Emory.
Jonathon Kaplan '87C was the alumni host for the event held at the Los Angeles Athletic Club in August. He spoke briefly to the assembled parents and incoming students, giving them a sense of the profound changes and challenges he had faced as an undergraduate. They would change, too, he said.
He went on to say that Emory should strive to provide "a seamless experience" for incoming students--that a person's relationship with Emory should be positive and fulfilling from the initial contact with an admissions officer, through the years on campus, during their time as young alumni starting families and careers, and on past retirement. I thought his comments summed up very well what the Association of Emory Alumni should be all about. Please let me know what you think.
Recently Emory Magazine received a letter from L.W. Watson Jr. '34B, a retired businessman living in Panama who attended grade school in the Fishburne Building. In his letter, he described what the school and Emory were like during the 1920s.--J.D.T.
I first became acquainted with Emory when my family moved to the new subdivision being developed from the Candler Estate adjoining Emory. The year was 1924, at which time I, at eleven years old, had been around Atlanta about as long as Emory.
I enrolled in the fifth grade in the school on the Emory campus in the long low building on Clifton Road which was later to become [known as] the Education Building. Then it was known simply as "The Emory School" and was an attempt by Emory fathers and the neighborhood to provide something better than the education available at that time from the DeKalb County school system. Emory furnished the facilities and each family made a small contribution toward teachers' salaries.
At that time, my friends and I did not think of Emory as a university. It was a wonderful pine grove with winding cinder paths along which we rode our bicycles to school. It was there we played football and baseball, hunted quail and trapped rabbits, and feuded with the intruders in our domain--the Emory students. . . .
The second floor of the Emory school was used as classrooms, but only half of the ground floor had been completed and was unpaved. On rainy days, recess was held in this area where we enjoyed the unusual facilities of being able to play marbles indoors. However, we were also at the bitter end of the steam line from the central heating plant. When the lines contained enough steam to warm us, the knocking would drown out classes. At other times, we sat through classes in overcoats, or on many occasions classes were dismissed because of the cold. . . .
In spite of the physical facilities Professor Haddock, the principal, ran a "no nonsense" show. He drilled us over and over in the three "R's" for which I was ever after grateful. Even the time he sneezed and his false teeth hit the blackboard did not rattle him or deter him from his philosophy of "master the fundamentals and the rest will come easy." Only years later when his constant drill stood us well did we appreciate what he had done for us.
Friday night was Boy Scout meeting night. For a while we met in that unpaved section under the school, but later Emory authorities decided that a scout hut should be made a community project. We all pitched in and finally it was finished in back of Doc Ivey's drug store along the railroad track. I am sure that in picking the location, the Emory fathers completely overlooked the fact that a group of us would return home after scout meetings through the middle of campus.
This developed into a feud with Alabama Hall students which ran something like this: Our group would wander along the paths that passed by Alabama Hall. . . . When we were nearly past the building we would yell something like, "Everybody in Alabama Hall is a dirty sissy." This would generally bring a head to a window with some retort to which we might reply:
"To heck with Emory--Hooray for Tech."
Of course we were ready to run at full speed down the dark path which we knew by heart as soon as an enemy body appeared at the door.
Eventually our heckling was ignored so we had to resort to more drastic measures. This involved a rotten orange or apple which would be directed at the first window to be opened following our taunts. This was sure to bring a squad after us on the double, but we could generally lose them down the dark paths.
Our particular and private wilderness area was the region at the campus bordering Lullwater Creek starting at Oxford Road . . . and extending back to the railroad tracks. Each winter we maintained a trapline, sometimes with steel traps from Sears Roebuck and other times with traps made from boxes and snares.
On one occasion we had observed a strange unknown monster along the creek. It continued to elude our traps, but after several weeks of stalking we felled it with a rifle. It turned out to be a three foot alligator, undoubtedly the only one ever captured on the Emory campus. Our pictures with our prize catch made the Atlanta Journal Sunday rotogravure section.
There was a covey of bobwhite quail which frequented our area. As soon as the hunting season opened we would relentlessly pursue them with a single barrel shotgun. We never killed very many but probably caused nervous exhaustion among the survivors. A certain degree of nervousness was also caused to married students who lived in the wooden dwellings just across the railroad track from the Emory Station. Frequently a single quail would seek refuge in a field in back of these houses and when our birdshot would rain down on their roofs all sorts of shouts and dire threats would be directed at us.
The Emory School provided no facilities for athletics but we found ways around this--thanks to Emory University. This was before the days of organized Little League, but we had our own sandlot team, the Emory Bullpups. We played such stalwarts as the Briarcliff Tigers, the Northside Terror, the Rinkeydinks, and the Grant Park Terriers. We played all of our "home games" on the Emory athletic field, there being only one at the time. Emory would use the field on Saturday morning and we played on Saturday afternoons. Generally we would persuade "Coach" Lester or "Graveyard" Stipe to act as referees.
For some reason it never occurred to us to ask permission to use the field, and Emory never complained. That is except on one occasion, when we received a visit from an emissary of the University to register a complaint about the loud use of profanity on our part. We agreed to calm down the practice sessions after that, or at least to lower our voices. . . .
Those were the days of the Sunday afternoon automobile ride--in an open car of course. Sedans were still considered too dangerous with all that flying glass. Before we acquired a car, kind friends would often invite us for a ride after Sunday lunch. We reciprocated by showing off Emory University to them, it still being a novelty to Atlantans.
I was the special guide since I knew all the buildings. Our tour would enter by the main gate at the end of the streetcar line. First we would pass by the Quadrangle consisting of Law, Theology, and Physics, with Chemistry close behind. Then we would cross the bridge to the dormitory area consisting of Alabama, Winship, and Dobbs halls.
We would then take a right turn by the wooden dining hall, pass by Anatomy and Physiology (I wasn't sure just what that meant). Then back in front of the hospital, nurses home and . . . "Oh, that small building over there--that's our school!"
Eventually, as it must to all, progress came to our neighborhood. The county system decided to build Druid Hills High School. Thus in our senior year we found ourselves moved into a modern brick building with an athletic field, gymnasium, auditorium, and even a school song to the tune of Madelaine. But it would never be the same.
Most of the boys of our graduating class entered Emory. So far as I know, no one considered any other university. If they had accepted coeds in those days, probably the entire class would have enrolled. I was able to make it thanks to the absence of college entrance exams and by being able to pay $225 annual tuition at $25 per month.
By this time, the library building was beginning to enclose the Quadrangle, a start had been made on fraternity row, and most of the campus roads had been paved. Emory and I were both well on our way to growing up.
This year's program attracted 150 alumni, friends and family members of alumni, and several Emory staff members for the week of June 18. Twenty morning classes, from which participants chose two, were accompanied by afternoon plenary discussions, evening entertainment, leisure activities, and programs for children. The week's theme was "Revolutions of the Mind: 20th Century Problems--21st Century Solutions." According to Alumni University director Cliff Cockerham, the session went "wonderfully. . . . People expressed a lot of enthusiasm for coming back next year and bringing their family, friends, and fellow alumni."
Classes began the day after a Sunday afternoon opening convocation and Father's Day picnic. Among the most popular were Stories and the Moral Life, a class taught by Secretary of the University Gary Hauk '91Ph.D. on the relationship between narrative and ethics; and Writing and Analysis: Evolving Different Voices, a workshop led by Poetry Atlanta director Capers Limehouse. The nineteen students in the latter course have continued meeting monthly as a writers' group.
Several courses from last year's Alumni University session made return appearances, including Ethical Rest Stops on the Information Superhighway, led by Emory Internet experts; and Gone with the Wind: Images and Facts in the Southern Heart, taught by Dean of Alumni Judson C. Ward '33C-'36G. Other courses in high demand were Behavior: Molecules, Models, and Beyond, featuring Yerkes researchers; The First Amendment at the Core of Democracy, led by Dean of the School of Law Woody Hunter; and Moral Responsibility in the 21st Century: The Status of Ethics in the Professions, led by ethicists from various disciplines. Many students began their days with lessons in T'ai Chi Ch'uan, an ancient Chinese system of exercise, taught by JoAn Chace, wife of University President William M. Chace.
Mary Allison, whose husband, Eugene, is a 1992 graduate of the Goizueta Business School's executive MBA program, came from her home in Düsseldorf, Germany, for the week. Conversant "only minimally" in German, she says, "I don't have anyone to talk to about ideas. . . . I thought it would be great to come back here and listen to people talk about what's going on." She relished the afternoon plenary sessions, which featured roundtable discussions with Emory faculty. The daily topics were "Mourning in America: Is the city dead?," "The Global Village: Has urban renewal hit?," "Molecular Magic: Are there mitochondrial clocks?," and "Discovering Self in a World of Crisis: What can we learn from Rome's fall?" The Friday afternoon closing convocation featured Dean of Emory College David Bright addressing the theme, "Revolutions of the Mind: 20th Century Problems--21st Century Solutions."
"The phrase, it seems to me, evokes notions of clarity of definition, cerebration, exactness, technology, conclusiveness, looking out beyond our current modes into a new and better use of our minds," Bright said. "And despite the terror we all acknowledge in the problems `out there,' we are somehow reassured by the future- oriented optimism of twenty-first-century solutions."
In the late afternoons and evenings, Alumni University students had the opportunity to attend poetry readings, an art gallery opening, a jazz coffeehouse performance, a Braves game, and film screenings followed by discussions. Campus athletic facilities, the computer center, libraries, and museum galleries were also available. To complete the re-created college experience, Mary Allison and forty-four other guests opted to live in the Woodruff Residential Center for the week. "I walked into the dorm and thought, I'm back in college," she says.
The thirteen children who joined their families selected from an array of programs. There was day care for the youngest, while elementary-age children could enroll in tennis camp, golf camp, or Culture Camp, a week-long exploration of ancient civilizations offered by the Michael C. Carlos Museum. Teens also could participate in the sports camps or the Barkley Forum Summer Policy Debate Institute. Several enrolled in Alumni University courses with their parents.
For Lucy Cobbs Bailey '82C and her husband, Keith Bailey '81C, of Largo, Florida, the week provided an ideal family vacation with their three-month-old daughter, Alexandra, and three-year-old daughter, Honor. While Lucy and Keith attended classes, Alexandra stayed at the Baby Depot daycare center and Honor attended Fresh Air Affairs, a Montessori program for preschoolers. This was the Baileys' second year at Alumni University, and they plan to return. "What I enjoy the most is what I enjoyed when I was at Emory: being in a classroom with other students, especially the ones who are older than me, . . ." says Lucy. "Emory graduates are interesting people. It's fun to be around them again in a setting where you're not just having a party but you're also discussing issues. . . .
"To me it's good to be able to have children in a university environment. . . . Honor has seen mom and daddy here, and there's that example that you don't stop school once you graduate from high school or college. You keep on learning throughout your life."
A decade later the 1955 Oxford alumnus and 1957 Emory College graduate opened Steinhatchee Landing, a thirty-five-acre resort amidst Spanish-moss-draped live oaks in the sleepy fishing village of Steinhatchee. The resort, built in nineteenth-century architectural styles, features a restaurant and twenty wood-frame, tin-roofed houses with broad porches and creaky wooden swings. An April 1994 Southern Living article likened Steinhatchee Landing to Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings' Cross Creek retreat, describing it as "a place that steps softly, at a measured pace."
"My intent was to make this look like a real village from the 1890s, without any phone or electric lines showing," Fowler says. "And I use very little asphalt. We use natural materials on the streets [to] enhance the natural beauty of the place."
Fowler has been active in alumni activities at Emory and Oxford. He served as the 1983-84 Emory Alumni Association president, a member of the 1986 Blue Ribbon Study Committee of Alumni Relations that created the Association of Emory Alumni, and an alumnus trustee from 1988 to 1993. He is currently a member of the Oxford Board of Counselors.--A.O.A.
While at Emory, Kinnear was president of Delta Delta Delta and was named the "Greatest contributor to the Emory University Greek system." She also was a member of the Task Force for Children's Survival at the Carter Center of Emory University, the Order of Omega, Alpha Kappa Delta (sociological honor society), and Rho Lambda (Panhellenic honor society). She recently played a leadership role in the Association of Emory Alumni Club in Dallas and helped plan her five-year class reunion in July 1994.
In 1993, she received an MBA degree from the University of Texas at Austin. At the time of her death, she resided in Dallas and worked as an account manager for Procter and Gamble, which has established a scholarship in her name at Emory.
While a graduate student, Kinnear had the opportunity to write an autobiographical essay, which her mother, Elizabeth Kinnear, found after her daughter's death.
"I believe that my mission in life is to share my enthusiasm and energy with others, because it lifts people's spirits and brings joy," Kinnear wrote in February 1993. "I desire to change people's lives for the better. I want to help people be the best they can be. . . . I want my life to be remembered for my spirit, dedication, and giving to others."
Classmates and friends are invited to attend a memorial service for Caroline Kinnear at 2 p.m. Saturday, November 11, at the Delta Delta Delta lodge on the Emory campus. Those who would like to make contributions to her memorial scholarship fund should send them to: The Caroline F. Kinnear Memorial Scholarship, Emory College, 210 White Hall, Atlanta, Georgia 30322.
The curious footnote triggered fourteen years of research into the life of Amanda America Dickson, who, Leslie discovered, was David Dickson's daughter. Leslie's book, Woman of Color, Daughter of Privilege: Amanda America Dickson, 1849-1893, published in March 1995 by The University of Georgia Press, is the result of an odyssey through countless newspaper archives, Dickson family oral histories and correspondence, trial transcripts, and other court documents.
Born to a slave belonging to David Dickson's mother, Amanda was taken from her mother as an infant and raised in her father's household by her white grandmother. Technically a slave until a provision in her grandmother's will freed her in 1864, Amanda was shielded from the conventions of her slave status by her genteel upbringing and education. "As best I can tell, she spent most of her time reading," Leslie says. "She lived in an intellectual world, in a world of books and solitude."
After her father's death in 1885, Amanda, who described herself as having "no nation," became the wealthiest African-American woman in the South. When white relatives of David Dickson contested her inheritance, the dispute ultimately went to the Georgia Supreme Court, which upheld earlier rulings that honored the will. After the trial, Amanda bought a large, elegant home in Augusta. Despite the notoriety of being the illegitimate, mixed-race daughter of a wealthy white planter, she was highly regarded by Augusta's elite society with whom, according to one of her acquaintances, she "would exchange little neighborly acts." She lived in Augusta until her death in 1893.
As she conducted her research, Leslie uncovered other cases of interracial relationships that were "forbidden in the abstract [yet] existed in reality," she writes. "The real question for me is, What's the difference between the ideology [of racial barriers] and how people lived from day to day?" she says. "What was the Old South really like? If you get down on the ground and see how people were living, I think it's really very different than what we think of, especially if you use Gone With The Wind as a model, which many do. . . . But people cared for one another and worked out compromises. . . . I believe Amanda America wanted to be a new person in a place where she didn't have to be either black or white."--A.O.A.
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