VIP Volunteer

By Michelle Valigursky

Portrait at the Alumni House

Tom Brodnax

Courtesy the EAA

At the CNN Center’s Omni Hotel in mid-February, the crowd in the ballroom milled excitedly around a VIP—Emory’s own Tom Brodnax 65Ox 68C. Brodnax had received the top volunteer award from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) District III, the Bill Franklin Volunteer of the Year Award.

“The only reason anyone volunteers for anything is passion. My family history with Emory University goes back to 1860. Emory is in my blood,” Brodnax says.

After retiring in the mid-1990s from marketing with IBM, Brodnax became a full-time volunteer at Emory. He served on the Emory Board of Governors from 1996 to 2000 as well as on the Miller-Ward Alumni House committee to oversee operations and alumni interaction. Brodnax used his analytical and programming skills to help the Emory Annual Fund be more efficient, targeted and strategic.

Brodnax has photographed Emory’s major alumni/student weekends for more than a decade, adding important documentation to the archive of Emory Alumni Association events. His photos regularly appear in Emory Magazine. He was the recipient in 2002 of the J. Pollard Turman Alumni Service Award, the highest award given to an alumnus for volunteer service to Emory. In 2012, he also was awarded the William L. Norton Outstanding Alumnus Award given by the Oxford College Alumni Board.

As a student, Brodnax attended Oxford College of Emory with the Class of 1965. Accepting an assignment as a sophomore to work with Georgia’s then-Senator Richard B. Russell’s staff, he attended George Washington University. He returned to Emory College to earn his bachelor’s degree in mathematics in 1968. Throughout college and beyond, he was a leader within Sigma Chi Fraternity.

Brodnax was in the United States Navy from 1971 to 1975 and served as the operations officer on the Destroyer Squadron 20 staff.

“Tom’s legacy of volunteerism at Emory and in his community is a model of drive, determination, and excellence,” says Allison Dykes, vice president for alumni relations at the Emory Alumni Association (EAA).

The EAA won two other CASE III awards as well, the Award of Excellence for Overall Alumni Relations Organization, and a Special Merit Award for the Emory Cares International Service Day program.

“We could not be more proud of our EAA colleagues who work diligently to deliver programs that inspire and involve our alumni around the world,” Dykes says.

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