Also in this issue
President Emeritus James T. Laney '94H has a new role at Emory
Editor's note: James T. Laney served as president of Emory University from 1977 to 1993, when he was named ambassador to Korea. Laney already had strong ties to the Asian nation--he had served in the Army there from 194748 and had taught at Yonsei University in Seoul for five years during the 1960s. After serving as ambassador for more than three years, Laney recently gave up his post and has returned to Atlanta. Emory Magazine spoke with him about his experiences in Korea and his plans.
James T. Laney's legacy as ambassador to Korea can perhaps be summed up in the word engagement. During his three-plus years as the United States' official representative in Korea, the former Emory University president helped shift American foreign policy from snubbing the North Koreans to working to find common ground. Korea scholar Stephen W. Linton told the New York Times that "I think history will see him as the first ambassador to the whole peninsula."
In a recent interview with Emory Magazine, Laney said that what he tried to contribute was a new way of looking at the situation on the Korean peninsula. "Until the last year and a half, our whole policy was to protect South Korea from a possible incursion [from the North]," he explains. "Behind that shield, South Korea prospered and became a democracy. And we did that through a powerful deterrent force, so there was a kind of stability."
That policy, says Laney, worked as long as both sides had a lot to lose and a lot to gain. "But all of a sudden, I tried to point out that the North no longer has a lot to gain, and they are losing it anyway, it is all eroding.
"And therefore just holding them at bay isn't enough, because an economic collapse could send over millions of refugees [to South Korea], and that would be the best-case scenario. At worst, the military could say, Well, we'll just go to war.
"So I said we had to do more than just be a deterrent force. If we are going to really guarantee the South's security, we have to think about what's going on inside North Korea, not just along the [demilitarized zone]."
Laney's tenure as ambassador earned high marks in the press, and in a citation awarding him the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service, then-Secretary of Defense William J. Perry praised him for his "unprecedented leadership and visionary guidance."
Laney says he decided to give up the post because the time was right. "It was the end of Mr. Clinton's first term, and I never had intended to stay on more than one term. We came to a juncture in late December and early January with South Korea and North Korea where there was a kind of a lull. We had for the first time ever obtained a statement of regret from North Korea regarding the submarine incursion of last fall, and that had been very difficult to get. And I thought at that point I could go out gracefully."
Laney will remain an unofficial adviser on Korea but will also have an office in Emory's Center for Ethics in Public Policy and the Professions. He says his role in the center is still evolving, but he hopes to give a number of public lectures next year and discuss issues with experts from around the University.
"I consider this a kind of post-retirement; I'm really not coming back full time. I just want to have an opportunity to reflect with my colleagues on matters of great importance to our time and to higher education."
The center's director, James W. Fowler, says, "We anticipate that his leadership in the center will strengthen our work in the ethics of the professions and in relation to public policy issues. More, we trust that his generative vision for the University as a community of character will strengthen our efforts across the full spectrum of our work."--J.D.T.
OPEN FOR BUSINESS
The new home of the Goizueta Business School was dedicated in September
On September 26, the Roberto C. Goizueta Business School dedicated its new home on Clifton Road. The $25-million, five-story, 120,000-square-foot facility features a state-of-the-art technological infrastructure that reaches into classrooms, offices, meeting rooms, and public areas. Its forty-three miles of copper cable, twenty-one miles of fiber optic cable, and more than eleven hundred ways and places to plug in a laptop computer and log on to the Internet make it one of the most technologically advanced academic settings in the United States.
The building's pink marble accents, arched windows, and red-tiled roof reflect the architectural hallmarks of Emory's Quadrangle buildings. A first-floor commons area contains thirteen study "banquettes" (each equipped with connections for four laptop computers) whose windows look out upon a grassy, tree-lined courtyard and patio. Other noteworthy elements include a dramatic circular staircase in the center of the building and an elegant, top-floor conference room and executive commons, complete with a kitchen. Perhaps the structure's most unusual aspect, however, is its egalitarianism. All faculty and professional staff offices, including the dean's, are the same size.--A.O.A.
DANCING WITH THE PAST
Cutting a rug on the southern festival circuit
Throughout the nineteenth century, the culture and survival of Native Americans were under siege. As an antidote to the pressure they felt, tribes like the Sioux and the Arapaho engaged in ceremonies called "ghost dancing" in which they attempted to magically conjure the past to recreate the glory days before the white man arrived. Ironically, according to Graduate Institute of the Liberal Arts doctoral candidate Rodger Lyle Brown, ghost dancing survives today, but the impulse has been reconfigured by rural, mostly white communities in the South.
Since 1988, Brown has attended myriad small-town festivals, including Swine Time in Climax, Georgia; Hillbilly Days in Pikeville, Kentucky; and the Clarkton, North Carolina, Tobacco Festival. He says on the surface these gatherings appear to be nothing more than an excuse for the locals to fry some fish and clog the night away, but that their real purpose runs much deeper.
"At the heart of each event I found the same underlying impulse," Brown writes in the introduction to his new book, Ghost Dancing on the Cracker Circuit: The Culture of Festivals in the American South. "There was an attempt to perpetuate communities under economic and cultural stress by the manufacturing of annual rituals."
Just as Native Americans had done, Brown writes, the orga-nizers of these events "wanted to ghost dance for the old Main Street, for imagined places and remembered times when values and hierarchies that favored their interests were still in place." In short, if happy days had long since left town, at least one day a year could be happy.
Brown's book is an intellectual travelogue of bizarre small-town culture, and Art Papers described it as "a roaring great read" in which "difficult moments of theory are translated into striking metaphors." The project got its start in 1988 when Brown attended Rattlesnake Roundup in Whigham, Georgia. The annual event takes place in late January, and people drive in from miles around to watch local hunters use gasoline fumes to force giant, venomous rattlers out of their sandy dens. But when Brown began asking around about the cultural and historic significance of the roundup to the town, he was surprised with the answer he got.
"We used to host community fish fries," Whigham's retired postmaster told him. "But then before you know it, all the groups in the county, the Rotary, the Kiwanis, they're having fish fries too! So there wasn't any profit in it. We needed us a new attraction, so we came up with the roundup."
During his research for the book, Brown met up with countless oddball characters, including a preacher who toured the circuit selling pellet guns, butterfly knives, and Mexican bullwhips, and another man who made his livelihood displaying his giant, sixty-year-old alligator at various festivals. But the strangest folks he met were two men at Mule Day in Calvary, Georgia, who had won a Deputy Barney Fife and Sheriff Andy Taylor look-alike contest and were driving at the head of the festival's parade. The men were being feted because they resembled two fictional characters from the Andy Griffith television program. For Brown, that image was just too rich.
"These weren't just any celebrity look-alikes,"he writes. "These were Barney and Andy look-alikes, ultimate ikons [sic] of the mythified train-depot-and-post-office small town white crossroads South. These were . . . copies of a copy for which there is no original. . . . What seeing Andy and Barney on Mule Day helped me understand was that ghost dancing has become an American metaphor for the mournful remembrance of a lost culture."
And sometimes, it's a culture that never existed in the first place.--J.D.T.
Professor Craig Hill's award-winning wood-pulp-to-paper conversion process is kinder to nature because it mimics nature
Goodrich C. White Professor of Chemistry Craig Hill's newly developed method of converting wood pulp to paper isn't original. In fact, he and his collaborators borrowed the idea from nature.
"We have an industrial process that mimics a natural process," Hill explains. "But there are things we can do that nature can't, because we have access to catalysts and systems that aren't abundant in nature."
The new process is kinder to the environment than traditional industrial methods, which use chlorine to convert wood pulp into paper and produce toxic and carcinogenic byproducts. The mills discharge these pollutants into rivers, posing an environmental and public health threat. Hill and his fellow researchers have discovered an alternative method to remove lignin, the black, gooey substance in wood, while leaving the raw material for paper. Instead of chlorine, Hill and his colleagues use polyoxometalates (POMs), which do not produce potentially cancer-causing byproducts.
Moreover, unlike chlorine, POMs are reusable. "They're 99.9 percent recyclable," says Hill. "And they break the lignin down into carbon dioxide and water, so there are no pollutants whatsoever."
The process is safe and efficient largely because it treats wood exactly the way nature does. "All wood is broken down by microscopic life that's in every teaspoon of the earth's surface," Hill says. "They effectively do the same thing we're doing-they take biomass and [using] the air as an oxidizing agent, they catalyze the reaction. That's what rotting wood is all about, and it's ultimately converted back to its constituents."
Hill began his research in response to environmental laws designed to urge pulp and paper companies to find conversion methods that didn't involve chlorine. "Congress has set some very rigid guidelines for the entire industry in this country, and other countries are under similar pressure," he explains. Several paper companies have formed a consortium in support of his POM research.
The USDA recently presented Hill and his colleagues with its Group Honor Award for Excellence for their new process. Previously, Hill and Professor of Biology Paul Doetsch received the Albert E. Levy Science Faculty Research Award from the Emory chapter of Sigma Xi, a science fraternity, for their development of another practical application for POMs. Their research produced a POM they call a "smart" catalyst. If damaged, the molecule seeks to repair itself. Hill hopes the catalyst will be used in synthetic fabrics, such as material for garments worn by troops in warfare.
"We made some cloth that decontaminated itself after exposure to mustard gas," he says. "There's a lot of research and development yet to go, but [the Army] is interested in it."--A.O.A.
A new name in health care
The Woodruff Health Sciences Center Board recently approved the name "Emory Healthcare" as the new designation for the Emory University System of Health Care. Emory Healthcare is composed of the Emory Clinics and fifteen Emory Clinic health centers throughout metropolitan Atlanta, Emory University Hospital, Crawford Long Hospital, Emory-Adventist Hospital, Wesley Woods Geriatric Hospital, Egleston Children's Hospital, and forty-nine community hospitals in five states.
Photo by Ann Borden
A HOME FOR LITERARY HISTORY
Emory acquires the papers of England's poet laureate
Among the literary papers of Ted Hughes, England's poet laureate since 1984, is a 1968 letter from artist Leonard Baskin. The typed note recalls the moment "in that little coffeehouse on Upper Brook Street" when Baskin proposed the two collaborate on a sequence of poems and illustrations--a project that resulted in Crow, one of Hughes' most acclaimed works. The fragile sheet is singed around the edges due to a fire in the poet's home in 1970.
That damaged letter recently found a safe haven in the Department of Special Collections of the Robert W. Woodruff Library. Emory's March 1997 acquisition of the Hughes archive--five thousand pounds of manuscripts, correspondence, photographs, and other materials--was in part a rescue operation.
For many years, some modern poetry scholars feared that the items now in the Woodruff Library would be lost or destroyed. A number of documents in the collection were blackened in the 1970 blaze, and many others have deteriorated from improper storage. Moreover, other scholars had expressed the concern that Hughes might try to suppress material concerning his troubled relationship with American poet and novelist Sylvia Plath.
"This acquisition should put many of those fears to rest," says Emory literary collections curator Steve Enniss of the eighty-six boxes that until last March filled an upstairs room in Hughes' home in Devon, England. "There is early material [reflecting Plath's role] here. It was at risk, but I think Ted realized this is a part of literary history that needs to be preserved. Study of his work is now possible in a way that was not possible before."
Hughes is known for his vivid, often violent poems about the natural world. In early works such as his 1960 volume, Lupercal, his experiments with savage vocabulary and jarring rhythms drew critical attention in England and the United States.
"His contribution to English poetry has been powerful and immensely influential . . . ," says University President William M. Chace, a scholar of modern literature. "He has been among those who have made English poetic statement more forceful, immediate, visceral, and disturbing. In addition, his affinity with some of the leading poets of Northern Ireland makes the arrival of his papers at Emory particularly appropriate, for our collection has thus gained greater coherence and depth."
Emory's Department of Special Collections, which holds some eight hundred collections of personal papers and organizational archives, is recognized for its extensive modern literature archives. The University's holdings have long included the papers of Irish writers William Butler Yeats, Seamus Heaney, Paul Muldoon, Thomas Kinsella, and Michael Longley, among others. Because of Hughes' correspondence and collaboration with several of these writers, the addition of his papers strengthens the library's collection.
A native of West Yorkshire, England, Hughes began writing poetry as a student in Pembroke College, Cambridge. He met and married Plath in 1956. Over the next several years, he began receiving prizes for his work, including the Guinness Poetry Award in 1958 and the Somerset Maugham Award in 1960. He and Plath separated in 1963, and she committed suicide soon after. Following her death, Hughes helped bring much of her unpublished work into print while his own career continued to flourish. This year, he and Heaney, a 1995 Nobel Laureate, co-edited The School-Bag, a collection of poetry for children.
Dating from the 1950s to the present, Hughes' papers are expected to shed new light on his life and work, including his relationship with Plath. For instance, the collection contains an unpublished, typed manuscript page from Plath's novel, The Bell Jar, scratched through in blue pencil, ripped into three pieces, then restored with tape. On the back is a hand-written poem by Hughes.
Enniss expects the process of organizing and cataloguing the collection to take up to two years. One of his tasks will be to restore a tattered, brittle scrapbook in which Plath documented Hughes' career during the late 1950s and early '60s. Peeling from its pages are clippings of published poems, a note from 1948 Nobel Laureate T.S. Eliot, and letters and telegrams from editors at the Nation, the Partisan Review, and Harper and Row.
"Sylvia took tremendous pride in his career," observes Enniss. "There was a close relationship in those years, creative as well as personal."
Also in the archive are original manuscripts of almost all of Hughes' work to date, including unpublished writings. He scribbled lines on envelopes, paper sacks, even newspaper wrappers. There is also vast correspondence with other artists and writers.
"His papers will be of enormous teaching and scholarly use," adds Professor of English Ronald Schuchard, who has taught Hughes' work since 1970. "Because of his editing and correspondence with other poets, he's really an international poet laureate. His outreach is international, and his papers here will draw scholars from around the world."--A.O.A.
It takes a village
Three architectural firms have been selected to collaborate on the development of a performing arts center on the Emory campus. The design team includes representatives from Michael Dennis & Associates; Howard-Montgomery-Steger; and Smallwood, Reynolds, Stewart, Stewart & Associates. The new center will be an "arts village," making use of both existing and new facilities.
Additionally, Oxford College has retained the architectural and planning firm of Ann Beha Associates to conduct a feasibility study for the construction of a new performing arts facility on its campus.
Photo by Annemarie Poyo
Physics professor Raymond C. DuVarney's camera helps put the heavens in focus
In the spring of 1990, astronauts from the space shuttle Discovery placed the Hubble Space Telescope into orbit some 370 miles above the surface of the Earth. The primary reason for going to such extremes was to circumvent the atmospheric disturbance that had always blurred the vision of ground-based telescopes. Now, an Emory professor is helping astronomers get Hubble-like clarity without having to strap a telescope to a rocket.
Raymond C. DuVarney, associate professor and chair of the Department of Physics, has developed a high-speed electronic/fiber-optic camera, nicknamed Fibercam, that works in conjunction with an adaptive optics system. Developed for use in the Reagan administration's Star Wars missile defense program, adaptive optics was designed to allow a laser to be shot at an incoming missile while compensating for the disrupting effect the atmosphere would have on the beam of light.
DuVarney's camera, which is scheduled to be installed soon at the Mount Palomar Observatory outside Los Angeles, is helping scientists apply that same technology to astronomy. It works by focusing starlight on a sensor and then taking electronic pictures of the star's image every millisecond. After digitizing those images, a computer calculates the atmospheric distortion, and that information is used to optically correct the image on a millisecond-by-millisecond time scale. DuVarney says, "It allows you to get an image of what the object would look like had the atmosphere not been there; the image is essentially distortion free."
The potential benefits of this system are considerable. The Hubble telescope is limited by its small size, about one meter in diameter. According to DuVarney, whose collaborator is Charles Bleau '85G, one of his former physics students, "Adaptive optics has the promise of allowing a huge Earth-based telescope to give a performance superior to the Hubble's by removing the atmospheric distortion." He says this system also will be used to link two telescopes on the ground that are hundreds of meters apart. Their combined size, coupled with the enhanced clarity from adaptive optics, would give the apparatus hundreds of times the resolution of the Hubble.
What would that allow astronomers to see that they can't now?
"Potentially, you could see a planet orbiting around a neighboring star," says DuVarney. "That's one of the things people are trying to see with these coupled telescope systems. It's been inferred that other stars would have planets, but one has never been seen."
This technology could also help scientists turn back the clock. "The other potential is to see further back in time," says DuVarney. "There are still many questions about the origin and early evolution of the universe and the Big Bang. The ability to see smaller and fainter objects allows us to look back in time at young galaxies and to see the early structure of the universe."
DuVarney is currently working on reducing the electronic noise his camera produces. This noise creates interference; reducing it will allow the camera with the adaptive optics system to run on less light and enable it to see dimmer, more distant objects.
"Any system has noise, no matter how good it is," explains DuVarney. "For instance, when you play an old record, the hiss and the pop you hear, that's noise. And now we have CDs, which still have noise, but it's so low you can't hear it. With less noise, the camera can get the information it needs with less light. So astronomers can then use adaptive optic systems on dimmer parts of the sky. Right now, these systems are only useful if there's a fairly bright star in the field of view, and we're trying to improve on that."
DuVarney says this system also has significant cost benefits. "An adaptive optics system would be only a fraction of the cost of launching and maintaining a space telescope. I mean, it takes a whole space program, with a space shuttle and astronauts, to run the Hubble."--J.D.T.
YERKES ADDITION HOUSES VACCINE RESEARCH
A new facility will focus efforts on preventing the spread of AIDS
Several internationally known immunologists and virologists recently recruited to Emory will work together in the new Vaccine Research Center of the Yerkes Regional Primate Research Center. Although construction of the new facility on the grounds of Yerkes began in August and won't be completed until late 1998, Rafi Ahmed, a preeminent vaccine researcher who came to Emory from UCLA last year, is already serving as director of the center, the aim of which is to develop new ways to prevent the spread of infectious diseases, especially AIDS.
Joining Ahmed are Harriet Robinson, who came to Emory from the University of Massachusetts Medical Center to serve as chief of microbiology and immunology at Yerkes, and Mark Feinberg, formerly of the Office of AIDS Research at the National Institutes of Health, who will lend his expertise in applying non-human primate AIDS research to humans.
The Vaccine Research Center's Yerkes location will give researchers access to primates for research and to Yerkes' extensive biocontainment and pathology support facilities. Its proximity to the Woodruff Health Sciences Center, the Rollins School of Public Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the nearby Ponce Center, a new, five-thousand-patient-base facility for AIDS patients, also provides significant advantages for the researchers.--A.O.A.
OUT OF HER FATHER'S SHADOW
Martin Luther King's youngest child, Emory alumna Bernice King, reflects on her own call to the ministry
People often make comparisons between my way of speaking and my father's," writes Reverend Bernice King, the youngest daughter of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., in her new book. "They say that I sound like him; that I remind them of him; that many of my words resonate with the same passion as his." King, who was five years old when her father was assassinated, adds that her connection to him has less to do with vocal similarities and more to do with the source of their words: "Our words flow from a heart full of love, compassion, and conviction, out to the hearts of others."
A 1990 graduate of both the Emory School of Law and the Candler School of Theology, King seals that bond of words in Hard Questions, Heart Answers, a collection of her sermons and speeches released last winter. In the volume, which she dedicated to her father, King tackles such controversial subjects as disaffected youth, gun control, teen pregnancy, and the death penalty-issues that, she says, bring into the present the "triple evils of poverty, racism, and war" her father identified during the civil rights movement.
The only one of Martin Luther King's four children to enter the ministry, Bernice King is remembered by many as the young girl captured in a Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph as she lay in her mother's lap at her father's 1968 funeral. She first discovered her gift of oratory at seventeen, when she spoke on apartheid in her mother's place at the United Nations in 1980. Also that year, she began to sense a call to the ministry. She resisted the call for eight years, however, because of her conflicting emotions about her father.
"I didn't come into a knowledge of what he really and truly represented until I was a teenager," King said recently via telephone from Grand Rapids, Michigan, during a tour to promote her book. "My mother invoked his words in the house a lot, what he lived for and what he struggled for, and people around me talked about Dr. King and what he represented. But I just did not grasp all of that until later. And when I did, I realized that he was a powerful man, to say the least, but on the other hand, he was my dad, and he was taken away from me. I became angry and bitter, and I spent close to eight years struggling with that anger."
Part of King's struggle concerned how to separate her identity from her father's. It wasn't until she was in her early twenties, after she graduated from Spelman College with notions of becoming a lawyer, that she began reading his sermons and speeches.
"There was this dichotomy," she says. "While part of me was pushing him away, the other part was seeking to embrace him and understand why he had to die. So after a few years, I started exploring his books to see who he was-his mind, his heart, the things that drove him. It began to open me up to discovering his deep sense of commitment to God and his compassion for humanity, and it enabled me to begin to look at that within me and at this call that I had received."
On March 27, 1988, the day before her twenty-fifth birthday, King formally accepted her call to the ministry by preaching her trial sermon at Ebenezer Baptist Church, where her father, grandfather, and great-grandfather had served and where she was ordained two years later. In the fall of 1988, she began her law and divinity studies at Emory. "Theology school really helped me to do a lot of soul-searching, of learning who Bernice is and identifying my strengths and deficiencies," she says.
King's subsequent service as a law clerk in the Fulton County Juvenile Court stirred her interest in working with urban youth. Although she does not practice law, she says her legal training strengthens her work as assistant pastor of Greater Rising Star Baptist Church in Atlanta, where she oversees ministries for youth and women. "In ministry, in order to address the host of problems and challenges people bring to you, you have to ask a lot of questions," she says. "And one thing I learned in law school is that there is always a question behind the question. There is never a final answer. Those lessons help me be comprehensive and critical in my approach."
Hard Questions, Heart Answers clearly reflects King's keen, critical style. The book ends with "A Call for Good Samaritans," urgent words for action and involvement: "Now is the time for the church of God to get on center stage and take the leading role. . . . The time is past for timid, docile, cowardly, reticent Christians. We need more risk-takers."--A.O.A.
An excerpt from Hard Questions, Heart Answers
Having lost my father and grandmother to gun violence, I well understand the deep hurt and anger felt by the loved ones of those who have been murdered. Yet I can't accept the judgment that their killers deserve to be executed. This merely perpetuates the tragic, unending cycle of violence that destroys our hope for a decent society.
I sometimes struggle with my own anger and negative feelings toward those who killed my father. He was a Christian minister who was assassinated while practicing the social gospel of service to the destitute. I remember my father saying, "I plan to stand by nonviolence because I have found it to be a philosophy of life that regulates not only my dealings in the struggle for racial justice but also my dealings with people, with my own self."
Then I remember that my beloved grandmother was slain while playing the organ in church, and that even after her death, my grandfather said, "I don't hate anybody." Both my father and my grandmother dedicated their lives to carrying forward the unfinished work of Jesus Christ, the Prophet and Savior who said we must turn the other cheek, put up our swords, and love and pray for our enemies and those who would abuse us.
This journey to genuine forgiveness, this journey of hope, has been a difficult pilgrimage for me, but I feel that I have finally crossed over. Today I understand that the need for revenge and the anger that accompanies it are sicknesses of the soul that ultimately destroy the one who harbors them.
Up three places from last year, Emory finished fourth in the nation among some three hundred and fifty NCAA Division III schools in the final 1996-97 standings for the Sears Directors' Cup, presented to the school with the best all-around athletics program. Emory student-athletes also continued to excel in the classroom. At the end of the 1996 calendar year, male student- athletes at Emory compiled a mean GPA of 3.11, compared to 3.06 for all male undergraduates in the University Athletic Association (UAA), Emory's nine-member athletic conference, which consists of Brandeis University, Carnegie Mellon University, Case Western Reserve University, Johns Hopkins University, New York University, the University of Chicago, the University of Rochester, and Washington University. Emory's female student athletes had a mean GPA of 3.31, compared to 3.15 for all women undergraduates in the UAA. Last fall, the men's and women's cross country teams were recognized as All-Academic teams by the United States Track Coaches Association, and the women's team's combined GPA of 3.88 was the best in the nation among Division III schools. Also, during the spring semester, 37 percent of Emory's student-athletes made the dean's list.
A FRIEND IN NEED
William C. Warren IV '79M-'82PEDS left a thriving pediatrics practice to care for inner-city children
When William C. Warren IV was a student at the Emory School of Medicine in the late 1970s, he joined a goodwill mission to the Dominican Republic. Providing care to medically underserved Dominicans gave Warren a sense of satisfaction and commitment that remained long after he departed the Caribbean isle.
Two years ago, Warren, who graduated from medical school in 1979, gave up his eleven-year-old pediatric practice in an affluent north Atlanta suburb to become director of and sole full-time physician at a clinic in the Techwood Baptist Center, serving the inner-city Techwood-Clark Howell Homes development. What's more, he did it for free. No salary, no federal grants. Gratis.
"The main reason I'm doing this is a sense, much like a minister, of having a calling from God to be involved in the care of the less fortunate," Warren recently told Emory Magazine.
What makes Warren's decision all the more noteworthy is that he is the great-great-grandson of Asa G. Candler, best known as the founder of The Coca-Cola Company, who was the first chairman of the Emory University Board of Trustees. Warren's great-great-uncle, Methodist Bishop Warren A. Candler, was the University's first Chancellor. His father, William C. Warren III, currently sits on the Board of Trustees. As a result, he has received considerable attention from publications including the Atlanta Business Chronicle and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
"When I embarked upon this, I never expected to draw any attention," Warren says. "And the fact that I have gotten some is flabbergasting, because I never cultivated it."
Although Warren's family ties afforded him the wherewithal to leave a thriving medical practice for a non-paying position, his decision to radically change his life was not made in haste.
"It wasn't easy to leave my private practice. I liked what I was doing," he says. "I saw a lot of patients, worked a lot of weekends, worked a lot of nights. Some of that I don't miss. But I do miss the relationships. As their doctor, you become part of their family, especially when you go through crises with them. You really bond. It's almost like a divorce when you leave a relationship like that. It's hard."
Colleagues were stunned. Patients cried. But Warren's family supported him, and he was sure it was the right thing to do.
"There are many factors that influence that kind of [decision]. Part of it has to do with the fact that I grew up in Atlanta. I saw what was going on around me. I trained at Grady. I saw what it was like. So it was not through ignorance on my part that I came down here. I felt this is something that God wanted me to do. I felt a calling."
Ironically, although there is an acute need for medical care in the area served by the clinic, Warren sees only a handful of children each day. Part of the reason is that the economically disadvantaged neighborhood--the oldest public housing project in the United States--was virtually leveled prior to the Olympics and is only now being rebuilt and repopulated. Another reason is that many low-income families have become accustomed to living from crisis to crisis and have not yet accepted the concept of preventive medicine.
Warren sees patients three days a week. The rest of his time is spent fund raising, recruiting medical and dental help and non-medical volunteers, and soliciting medicine and supplies.
"My reward is just doing something that was on my heart for a long time, fulfilling a dream of being involved in inner city medical missions," he says. "Another reward is being able to work with and care for children who otherwise wouldn't be able to get good pediatric care."--A.B.
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