Volume 75
Number 1

The Classes

Beyond the Basics
A message from AEA Executive Director Bob Carpenter

Six weeks in Tibet

Reflection on tradition

Charter Day redux

Eugene Williams Jr. '91C

Where Eagles have landed

Why do Voles Fall in Love?

The Once and Future Mummy Museum

Got bluemilk?

Pop Culture






Beyond the Basics

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

EACH YEAR ON THE Thursday night before Alumni Weekend, we celebrate the induction of another group of Emory athletes into the Emory Sports Hall of Fame. The new inductees are joined by friends and family, as well as many of the previously selected members. Inevitably, stories are shared at the tables and from the podium—stories about teaching, determination, perseverance, dedication, learning, caring, and love. It can make for an emotional night. Following last year’s event, one of my Emory colleagues said to me that the Sports Hall of Fame banquet was his favorite alumni event. Why? "Because it’s the only one we do that makes people cry," he said.

Although I appreciated his observation, he was not quite right. There have been other occasions when I’ve seen our alumni become very emotional (in the most positive sense) as a result of attending one of our events. I want to tell you about another of our programs that brought tears to the eyes of an alumna and the reasons it did.

Two years ago, at the urging of Rebecca McQueen ’76C-’78MPH and other members of our Board of Governors, we held a workshop we called "College Admission 101." Sponsored and staged in partnership with the Emory College Office of Admission, this day-long program took alumni and their high-school-aged children through the process of applying to a selective college, giving them an "insider’s view" of what can be an intimidating and frustrating exercise.

Dean of Admission Dan Walls designed the program as only a seasoned admission professional and parent could. He included on the faculty not only Emory experts but also admission experts from Davidson College, Georgia Tech, and the University of North Carolina, as well as some of the brightest counselors from some of the most highly regarded private secondary schools in the country. For these professionals, the best decision about choosing a college is always predicated on what is best for the young person. They care very deeply about the people whose lives are most affected by their advice and decisions—the students. I remember thinking during that first program two years ago how different so many lives might be if all high school students were given the benefit of counsel from such committed advisors.

The quality of the presentations makes for a very rich and helpful exchange. This is not a starter kit; it is not a recitation of deadlines and test dates. In fact, because of the sophisticated content of the program, we’ve renamed it "Beyond the Basics: An Interactive Workshop for Selective Admission." If you have a child in the ninth, tenth, or eleventh grade, I strongly urge you to register. If you know any Emory alumni with children that age, please mention it to them. The program will be held this year on Friday evening, June 11, and all day Saturday, June 12. The cost is nominal, and I can guarantee you will be pleased with what you get. Please refer to the box on page 26 of this magazine for further information.

So who was the alumna and why did she cry? She was a participant at last year’s workshop. Her daughter, a rising senior in high school, had a special challenge to overcome as she made her case to her selected colleges and universities. She had been a strong student up until the ninth grade when she suddenly hit a wall. Her grades and her interest in extracurricular activities plummeted. A year-and-a-half later, a physical problem was finally identified and successfully treated. Her stellar grades returned, but the damage to the all-important cumulative grade-point-average (GPA) had been done. How was she to explain what happened? She would never make it through the first cut at many colleges just because of an average GPA, but she was a student with the potential to attend any school in the country.

After attending the Friday and Saturday sessions of last year’s program, the mother and daughter stayed around and talked with one of the counselors. An hour of conversation later, they left with a plan and the confidence to tell the daughter’s story. "We haven’t had this much to hope for in years," the mother said to me. That’s when she started to cry.

I’m grateful to my colleague Dan Walls for making that extraordinary counsel available. And I hope you and your child (or children) will join us this summer. If you have any comments on this program or any other service we provide, please call me at 404.727.6400 or send me an e-mail at rcarpen@emory.edu.


Bob Carpenter
Executive Director
Association of Emory Alumni
Emory University


©1999 Emory University