dear friends, . . .
by Allison Dykes
Vice President for Alumni Relations
Service to one’s community, as well as to Emory, are hallmarks of what it means to be an engaged alumnus. Honoring those alumni who give back most—those who are energized with a spirit of service—is what the J. Pollard Turman Alumni Service Award is all about.
Created through a partnership between the Association of Emory Alumni (AEA) and the Tull Charitable Foundation, the Turman award was first given in 1996. It recognizes Emory alumni who have performed extraordinary service or demonstrated exceptional volunteer leadership in alumni-related activities.
Each year, the AEA collects nominations of worthy alumni, and a recipient is chosen. That person is not only honored with a banquet, but also is given a $25,000 gift to be designated to an Emory school, unit, or program of his or her choosing.
But perhaps even more memorable than the banquet is the Turman Award itself—a "Bell Cow" made of glass that is guaranteed to spark conversation. "Bell Cow" was a term favored by the award’s namesake, J. Pollard Turman 34C 35L, who used it as a synonym for a natural leader. And every Turman Award recipient is just that.
The 2006 Turman Award banquet took place Friday, February 24, at the Miller-Ward Alumni House. More than a hundred guests, including several members of the Board of Governors of the Association of Emory Alumni, were on hand to celebrate the 2006 recipient: Renelda Mack 83C.
Renelda is chief of the civil rights unit of the state attorney’s office in the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit of Palm Beach County, Florida. A former president of the Board of Governors, Renelda has long been an active member of her south Florida community. She has received many awards for her service, including a national award from the Girl Scouts of America as its top adult volunteer.
In 2003, at a twenty-year reunion of Bobby Jones scholars, Renelda came up with the idea of a national day of service for Emory alumni, and Emory Alumni Community Service Day was born. The following year, the program was renamed Emory Cares, and in November 2005, nearly four hundred members of the Emory community (alumni, students, family, and friends) volunteered with Emory Cares in sixteen cities around the world. (See story, facing page.) Emory alumni in London and Barcelona did not want to be left out of the effort. Closer to home, Renelda was one of many members of the Emory family who staffed a food bank in south Florida.
Renelda now serves as an Emory Cares ambassador, drumming up support and participation around the world. The international aspect of Emory Cares is something she is quite passionate about. And we cannot think of a better person at the forefront of the effort.
I am happy to report that Renelda has donated the $25,000 Turman award gift to the Association of Emory Alumni to help fund Emory Cares. The future for the program is very bright—as is its present.
Several regional alumni chapters—New York, Washington, Los Angeles are three—plan service trips as part of their regular programming, which just shows that the spirit of service inherent in Emory alumni knows no restrictions.
If you know someone who has shown exceptional service to his or her community as well as to Emory and would like to nominate them for the 2007 Turman Award, applications are being accepted through July 21, 2006. For more information and to receive an application, contact Martha Fagan, senior director of alumni board relations, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have any other ideas for service projects, I would love to hear about them. Or, if you would like to, just drop me a line at email@example.com. Of course, you can also talk to us personally by attending Emory Weekend 2006, May 11-15.
I hope to see you there!