William M. Chace

Charting by a New Constellation

In my letter to the Emory community published last month in Emory Report, I noted that the success of the Emory Campaign has made the work of the next decade more complex. That work will not necessarily be more difficult than what we have already done. The task of raising $400 million--so ably carried out by Brad Currey, John McIntyre, Bill Fox, and an army of volunteers--is not lightly undertaken nor easily accomplished by any institution. But the single-mindedness required to drive the level of giving higher is of a different order of labor than the work that lies before us.

We know we must continue to raise funds for facilities. Under the rubric of "Science 2000," the departments of chemistry, physics, biology, and mathematics and computer sciences have offered a compelling vision of scientific collaboration and education. As scientific research in all areas increasingly overlaps and fills the interstices between disciplines, "Science 2000" will encourage Emory's faculty and students to step forward in exactly the directions they need to be going. To fulfill this plan, however, will require renovation and enlargement of the Atwood Chemistry Center and construction of a new building to house physics and environmental sciences.

Then there is the matter of the performing arts. Last spring I charged a committee, chaired by then-Associate Dean of Emory College Rosemary Magee, to scrutinize all of our assumptions about what Emory requires to enable our arts departments to carry out their educational missions. With great enthusiasm and creativity, that committee has crafted a long-range plan that will make excellent use of some of our existing facilities and will lead in five years to the opening of a modest but handsomely suitable performing arts center. It will house rehearsal studios, offices, and a concert hall for the academic programs already in place. Our community, our faculty and students, need such a platform for their talents.

And, yes, we will continue to need to look at our research and instructional needs in the health sciences. A new research building and a classroom building will be minimal needs of the School of Medicine. The Woodruff School of Nursing likewise simply must have a larger facility, or it will have to surrender its mission to become a leader in nursing education for the next century.

These, then, are the direct and uncomplicated goals that remain before us. For all their "simplicity," they will be nonetheless difficult, though not impossible, for us to achieve. More difficult will be the achievement of various intangibles: the cumulative strengthening of alumni pride to match the Campaign's éclat; "a sense of place"--in the words of University Senate President Rick Letz--commensurate with "a place of sense"; the synergy of true collaboration and not just our talking back and forth from our old, separated islands of learning; the assured perpetuation of unique resources, such as The Carter Center, for shaping the fate of the world for the good; and the work of offering our students the finest classroom and laboratory experiences available anywhere.

The Campaign has both turned the prow of our ship into deeper waters and powered us into the strong currents. We are up to the voyage. We will chart our course by the new constellation of priorities so clearly laid out, and affirmed by the Board of Trustees, in Provost Billy E. Frye's Choices and Responsibility. We will make our way, in part, by deploying our resources--including our beneficent endowment--as boldly and as creatively as any university in the country might do.

With respect to our fiscal life, two initiatives need underscoring. First, the University will seek ways to create a large discretionary fund to support the aims of Choices and Responsibility. Then that powerful document can become a reality, not just a dream. Currently, the schools and departments already support these aims indirectly through programs and hundreds of thousands of dollars. We now shall do more, by earmarking a significant portion of every annual budget to underwrite specific initiatives in teaching, fostering community, building up the infrastructure, fueling interdisciplinary collaboration, and shoring up external sources of support.

Second, should we establish some small modifications to our endowment spending policy, we will be able to create, over the next five years, a capital matching fund of some $60 million to help meet the facilities needs I have outlined above. We must keep uppermost in our thinking the fact that our considerable wealth is an asset that is good only in so far as we make it work for us. Within the bounds of prudence, and responsive always to the hopes and wishes of those whose benefactions were meant to last forever, we will want to use all of our means to fulfill the ends of excellent education and pioneering research. The Emory Campaign is one extraordinary milestone in the steady evolution of this university; now we move on, as energetically as possible, to others.

Click here to return to Spring 1996 contents page.

Click here to return to Emory University Home Page.