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Making the right connections

A Message from the Executive Director of the Association of Emory Alumni

By Bob Carpenter

Hark back, you of greater experience and maturity. Think of landing your first real job.

For many of you, particularly those who emerged from your stay at the academy with a professional degree, the road to career success was fairly well marked. But for a high percentage of those who, like me, received their training in the horizon-expanding liberal arts, the path was obscure. The goal in my twenty-two-year-old mind was obvious--fame, fortune (within reason, of course), happiness, influence (only to be used wisely), and the love and admiration of those of a similar level of attainment. How to get to that exalted end left me without a clue.

I moved to Washington, D.C., within months of my undergraduate commencement with no job, few contacts, and a naive sense of how one secured meaningful employment. Each weekday morning, I cleaned the tables and floors of a delicatessen and at night stood in a circle of revolving crepe pans at a popular theme restaurant, turning out thousands of little French pancakes (that to this day do not pass my lips). The rest of my day was spent making the rounds of the hundreds of offices on Capitol Hill. Each stop was depressingly similar. I would present my cheerful self and my inflated résumé to the receptionist and try to wrangle an interview with someone in charge. But, no, they were not hiring; the person in charge was away. They would certainly keep my handsome résumé on file and be in touch.

The weeks of searching turned to months before the idea of networking reached my brain. There was an older alum from my alma mater whom I had gotten to know through my fraternity. He was well connected in Washington, and he had told me to let him know if he could help. I finally did, and the results were almost theatrical. Doors opened. I got interviews. And, with his help, I finally landed the job. It was a basement level, pitifully paying job, but it was real work. I was out of the delicatessen and forever thankful for that connection made through the university.

I am convinced that helping alumni with their career connections is among the most important work we can do as an association. Our Board of Governors concurs and has directed our staff to put greater emphasis and resources toward the development of an Alumni Career Network.

There is a tradition among many elite universities that alumni have an obligation to provide career assistance to those who graduate after them. Besides the obvious benefits to alumni esprit, this type of network is an effective recruiting tool for the top universities when competing for the best high school students.

Emory does not share this tradition, but I truly believe it is one we can begin and grow. We will start small so our quality remains high. Already this year, we have held Alumni Career Network receptions in Atlanta and New York, our largest alumni population bases. These programs matched successful alumni in a variety of career paths with current Emory students. The students had the opportunity to receive practical advice on how to get started, whom to talk to, and what to say. We hope to expand these programs in the near future to include young alumni and to offer them in more cities.

Eventually, we'd like to have hundreds of Emory alumni around the world hooked into a system to provide mentoring, informational interviews, and networking advice for any other member of the Emory family. I have seen the value of this. The alumni on the giving end feel a real sense of time and effort well spent. The young alumni and students on the receiving end feel we've kept our promise to prepare them for the real world--and we've probably made a friend for life.

I welcome your comments and suggestions. Please call me at 404-727-5706 or e-mail me at


A view from on high

In the past eight decades, the campus has grown and changed considerably

During his inaugural address, Emory University President William M. Chace commented on the spate of construction projects that have taken place on the campus in recent years. "We have built well and we have built generously . . . ," he said. "But amid all the new and the old, we feel crowded. We know we must protect the green and open spaces we still are lucky to have; we must remember that building, too, must have its limits and that someday we must be able to say: `This is Emory. This is what we have wanted in buildings. Now let us teach and learn in them.' "

Emory recently celebrated its eightieth anniversary in Atlanta, having moved here from Oxford in 1915. Over those years, the campus has grown and changed considerably. In honor of Emory's eight decades in Atlanta, and in recognition that the University is nearing its final shape, we present these aerial photographs documenting the evolution of the campus.

Assembly XIV

Emory Health Science: Crossing the Disciplines

The Association of Emory Alumni recently held Assembly XIV, "Emory Health Science: Crossing the Disciplines." More than two hundred and fifty alumni, staff, students, and faculty attended the event, which was co-chaired by Anne Elizabeth Gaston '55M and Harper Gaston '52C-'55M. In addition to participating in roundtable and panel discussions, a research forum, and working groups, attendees had the opportunity to take in the Barkley Forum debate, "Resolved: The U.S. government should restrict the supply lines of physicians-in-training in an effort to reduce the current oversupply." The three-day event ended with a health fair in the Dobbs University Center's Coca-Cola Commons, where assembly delegates could have their body fat percentage, lung capacity, and blood pressure checked; receive information from Emory health delivery units including the Sleep Disorder Center, Winship Cancer Center, and the Emory Eye Center; and get a massage.

"One of the things that has happened through the years in psychiatry is that we have gotten very good at treating depression, which is a great thing for the individual, but it keeps the gene that carries the risk for suicidal depression in the population. . . . By being able to recognize it and treat it, we have been able to keep people alive, which is a wonderful thing. But it also perpetuates the gene, so that their children have an increased risk of developing depression. And the problem is that we can't a priori identify who's at risk yet. And it may be that one of these biological tests or imaging tests [now being used] will allow us to do something we've never done before, which is to identify at-risk individuals so that they can get preferential, preventative treatment, instead of having to constantly try to identify people after they're ill."

--Charles Nemeroff, professor and chair of the Department of Psychiatry, speaking at Assembly XIV's keynote address, "Who am I?--Reflections at the edge of scientific knowledge on the essence of the brain, the nature of neurological disorder, the substance of human personality, and the course of human evolution."
Photo by Ann Borden
"One of the great concerns in [health care management] is that we not get caught up in the economic indicators and lose sight of the fact that what we're trying to preserve is a very central, personal experience that all of us want when we're sick. . . . I think what motivates me more than anything else [at Emory] is not the fact that we've got some of the best technical and scientific minds in medicine here. It's this other quality: if you hear [Emory physicians] informally talk about patients and relationships, you realize you're getting a level of care that's not just a scientific process. It's a human one, and we're addressing the whole person. Does that sound soft or fuzzy? Yes. But is it real? Absolutely."

--Rick Gilkey, executive director of the Center for Healthcare Leadership in the School of Medicine, speaking at the panel, "Do You Want Your Care Managed?
Photo by Annemarie Poyo

The Concerts Division of Emory University is seeking information about programming and artists who appeared on the Flora Glenn Candler Concert Series prior to 1970. Programs, brochures, and other materials are needed to create a comprehensive archive of one of the South's oldest endowed concert series. Please call 404-727-6690 or write Concerts Division, Emory University, 1399 Oxford Road N.E., Atlanta, Georgia 30322 if you have information to share.


Functional art

In the spring of 1994, while her classmates were crafting cover letters and refining resumes, Michelle Klein was applying for a business license and shopping for commercial real estate. Form and Function, the art gallery she manages and co-owns (with Atlanta artist Flournoy Holmes) in Atlanta's Virginia-Highland neighborhood, opened in July 1994, less than two months after she graduated from Emory College with a bachelor's degree in Renaissance art history. "I was raised in the arts, and this is where my passions fell," says Klein, adding that her father is an advertising artist, her mother is a museum and gallery enthusiast, and her brother is a photographer.

The spacious gallery is filled with an abundance of eclectic, contemporary, functional objets d'art. Next to a cherry-red, polymer sofa shaped like a pair of lips is a desk made from the chrome bumpers of old automobiles. Steel teapots share shelf space with elegant glass clocks. "Everything here has a use," Klein says. "I look for craftsmanship, quality, originality. We get new work in every week, so it always looks different."

Klein spent much of her senior year shaping her vision--going to art shows, studying trade publications, and convincing artists to place their work in a gallery that didn't yet exist. "I didn't have concrete expectations," she says. "When we first opened we were completely different from what we are now. I've learned an incredible amount."

Early on, Klein says, she was concerned about how people would react to her youth, but it has become less of an issue over time. "I did all my communications and basically got commitments over the phone at first. But now I've been open for over a year, and I think people are seeing that this is not a fly-by-night thing. . . . I'm hoping to make Form and Function Gallery a mainstay in the Atlanta art community."--A.O.A.

Speaking from experience

Some 125 Emory College students recently joined nineteen alumni for the first Atlanta Alumni Career Network reception, sponsored by the Association of Emory Alumni (AEA). Held in conjunction with Careers '96, a recruiting and networking event for Atlanta area college and university students at the Peachtree Plaza Hotel, the reception featured keynote speaker Wendell Reilly '80C, chief financial officer of Lamar Advertising. Reilly shared practical advice on the habits and characteristics employers seek in job applicants and what students can do to put themselves in the best possible light during a job interview. Afterward, the alumni, representing a variety of career fields, hosted round-table discussions with students, offering suggestions from how to create a strong résumé to the philosophical approach one should take during a job search.

The Atlanta reception followed a similar event in New York City, and future Alumni Career Network gatherings are being planned for other areas, according to Bob Carpenter, executive director of the AEA. "I believe it's almost a part of our contract with students that we provide them assistance in their career search," Carpenter says. "Emory has had an alumni career network only in a very unstructured way. What we're trying to do is put it in place and build a structure we know we can count on. We're hoping these alumni who have charted successful courses for their careers will be able to pass on that knowledge."--A.O.A.

For more profiles of Emory alumni, read In Brief.

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