Letters

Editor’s Note: Many thanks to those of you who accepted our invitation to share your memories of Emory leader Bill Fox. A selection of responses follows.

I arrived in Atlanta by night train sometime in 1977 to interview for admission into the Institute of Liberal Arts (ILA) for my doctorate. I’d never visited the deep South before and had a handful of preconceptions lingering from life in New York and several years in Alaska. Bill Fox welcomed and interviewed me, and I was won right away by his genuinely engaging blend of administrator-in-the-making and good-heartedly unpretentious colleague and comrade. It was a delight to work with him those years and later to see him become as fine a representative of Emory as could be desired. I treasure the memory of the man and the school; it was a delicious graduate experience, largely because of the spirit that encouraged Bill’s kinds of gifts. Even as I type this, I see by the light of a desk lamp I liberated from his office when Bill first went from the ILA to become a dean. Last month was the first time I had to replace one of its fluorescent tubes.
Guy Burneko 81PhD
Langley, Washington

Bill kept the Institute of Liberal Arts on an even keel and made it a very welcoming place. It was a great department. Bill knew a student without being pushy. He had a twinkle in his eye about the foibles of professors, and he had what Richard Wilbur termed “cunning: to wink at evil.” Bill was a complete delight and will be missed in the world. What more can anyone ask?
Terri Langston 87PhD
Washington, D.C.

I would like to add my voice to what is, I’m sure, a chorus of voices paying tribute to Bill Fox. I knew Bill forty-two years ago when he was a graduate student, and I was an undergraduate. I have not forgotten his kindnesses towards me, his good humor and open-heartedness. My friends and I all loved Bill. I can only imagine how many others were touched by him. How fortunate we all have been.
Hunter Nesbitt 74C
Westover, Maryland

I was Emory’s university chaplain from 1979 to 1990. One of the best things to happen during my tenure came early: Bill Fox was appointed dean of campus life a short time after I arrived. He not only welcomed my involvement in the staff related to campus life, but he and Carol also participated in the Sunday worship program I led in Cannon Chapel. My wife, Mary Jim, and I were the parents of three Emory students during my chaplaincy, all of whom enjoyed Bill’s interest and encouragement. We will always be grateful for the friendship and support we received from Bill and Carol Fox.
Don Shockley 62T
Brentwood, Tennessee

About ten years ago I attended an alumni cocktail hour and talk where Bill Fox was in attendance. I was admittedly intimidated by the presence of a dean from Emory. I had been a late bloomer in regards to interacting with the staff of the college and had kept my head low during my time at Emory. Feeling more at ease fifteen years later, I admitted to Dean Fox my regret at not interacting more with the school leaders due to my self-imposed awe. He was taken aback immediately, saying it was he who felt awed by the students. He was so careful to put me at ease that night that all these years later I can feel the sincerity of his conviction. I was deeply moved then, and even more so now. Bill Fox is Emory to me. I am deeply saddened at learning of Emory’s loss. My condolences to the school and to his family.
Gary Friedman 90C
Plano, Texas

Bill was in charge of Emory’s board of Visitors when I was nominated to serve on it. I was thrilled to be part of that august, vibrant, and royally treated body, but during my first year, I took a short-term job in Washington and had to leave the board. Bill graciously said, “When you come back to Atlanta, let me know and you can serve for the remainder of your term.” I was thrilled, because one of the things I least wanted to leave was my membership on the board. When I did return, I let him know I was “home,” and he let me start my term all over again! So I was privileged to serve another three years. It was heavenly, and I am forever indebted to him for that very special treat. Being on the Board of Visitors not only gave me added insight into Emory’s glorious educational opportunities and spirit, but also enveloped me in it as a rest-of-life adventure.
Dorothy Toth Beasley
Former Chief Judge,
Court of Appeals of Georgia
Atlanta

Cover of Spring 2014 issue of Emory MagazineArriving at Emory in 1949 for graduate studies on the GI Bill, I found an extra room to rent very near campus, which turned out to be a home-away-from-home with [then-Emory Magazine editor] Randy and Sherry Fort. Great guy, great family, lucky me! Now having myself been a sometime editor of various stuff, over the years, I have no hesitation in declaring that Randy would have been pleased, proud, delighted, and more with the blockbuster “animal issue” just at hand. Appearance, content, everything is superb! Congratulations!
John Porter Bloom 56PhD
Las Cruces, New Mexico

Is Dr. [Brian] Hare aware that dogs have a sense of time? (“And the Dog Has His Day,” spring 2014). I travel frequently for my work, sometimes three or more weeks at a time. Sheeri often greets me when I arrive home even after being gone just for a few hours. But when I return after a lengthy trip, she is insatiable, jumping up on me, begging for belly rubs, licking, nosing; it could go on and on. Her varied reactions depending on how long I’ve been away make sense only in the context of Sheeri’s ability to tell time, or at least to differentiate between a short time and a long time. I assume that dogs’ perception of time could be determined through appropriate experimentation.
Henry Kalter 74C
New York, NY

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