CANDLER School of Theology Dean R. Kevin LaGree has accepted an appointment as president of Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa, effective July 1. Simpson is a four-year, private, liberal-arts Division III school affiliated with the United Methodist Church.
LaGree leaves Emory after an eight-year tenure as dean, during which the schools endowment grew from $26 million to $190 million, and scholarship funds doubled. LaGrees legacy also includes the appointment of fourteen faculty members and the development of a new master of divinity curriculum.
He also facilitated the ongoing relationship between Emory and South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu that resulted in Tutus acceptance of a position as Robert W. Woodruff Visiting Professor of Theology during the current academic year.
"Kevin LaGrees legacy is powerful and indelible in Emorys history. He has been a superb colleague, and he will be a superb college president," University President William M. Chace said.
Professor of Christian Education Charles R. Foster, who has served as associate dean of the faculty at Candler for two years, has been appointed interim dean.
Stephen B. Thomas, director of the Institute for Minority Health Research at the Rollins School of Public Health, has been asked to join President Clintons "Closing the Gap" initiative on race.
Thomas was nominated by Surgeon General David Satcher to serve on a panel charged with ending health-care disparities faced by minority groups in such areas as cancer screening and management, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, HIV, immunization, and infant mortality.
The Department of Health and Human Services, which directs the initiative, wants to eliminate race-based gaps in health care by 2010.
This spring, Charles Howard Candler Professor of Renaissance Literature Frank Manley and Vincent Murphy, artistic director of Theater Emory, collaborated on a stage adaptation of Manleys debut novel, The Cockfighter, for the Humana Festival of New American Plays, a highly regarded outlet for experimental drama at the Actors Theatre in Louisville, Kentucky.
Published by Coffee House Press in 1998, Manleys spare, suspenseful story details the coming-of-age of a twelve-year-old boy, whose introduction to the violent world of cockfighting unleashes volatile, conflicting emotions that ultimately transform his life.
Murphy, who wrote and directed the adaptation, set the dramatic climax in a cockfighting arena, imbuing the novels protagonists with the traits of posturing roosters.
Manleys first play, Two Masters, premiered at Emory in 1984 and the following year was co-winner of the Humana Festival. Another play, The Evidence, inaugurated Theater Emorys 1990 season and the following year was staged at the off-Broadway Ensemble Studio Theatre in New York City.
Law Professor Abdullahi An-Naim has embarked on a two-year project he describes as a "global mapping" of the fundamentals of Islamic family law, funded by a $371,000 grant from the Ford Foundation.
An-Naim will direct a team of twenty scholars who will investigate how Islamic law is interpreted in cases of divorce and child custody and examine broader themes of marriage and womens rights. Specific case studies will be examined in the United States and Egypt.
At the heart of the research is the question of whether the traditional tenets of Islamic law are being, or can be, adapted to contemporary society.
As part of the project, An-Naim will travel to Uzbekistan to teach a course on human rights at the Academy for State and Social Construction, followed by project research in the post-Soviet republics. He plans to conclude the project with an international conference next spring.
Assistant Professor of Psychology Scott O. Lilienfeld received the 1998 David Shakow Early Career Award from the clinical psychology division of the American Psychological Association. Lilienfelds research centers on origins of personality traits leading to antisocial or criminal behavior in adolescents and adults. He joined Emorys psychology department in 1994.
Associate Professor of Political Science Michael J. Rich is using a $200,000 Ford Foundation grant to examine the status of welfare-to-work programs in major U.S. cities such as Los Angeles, Boston, and Cleveland, contrasted with similar programs in rural Georgia.
Rich will examine the overall programs as well as support services such as child care, employment training centers, and community non-profits. The overall goal of the project is to recommend program changes where needed and to provide a demographic analysis of welfare recipients.
Compiled by Greg Fulton