days sense of poignancy was heightened by the presence
of Nobel-Prize-winning Irish poet Seamus Heaney, Emorys
Commencement speaker, who offered his own memories of time spent
at the University: seeing the Hale-Bop comet with President
William M. Chace and wife JoAn, hearing Yeats poetry chanted
by a literature student who was blind. Heaney urged graduates
to turn to words and literature to make sense of the world around
themparticularly in dark days, like those following the
September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
literature has a virtue, if those works of the human imagination
that have been preserved by teachers and librarians for millennia
have a virtue, it is surely their ability to make us realize
fully and feelingly what is happening to us as individuals and
as nations, Heaney said. As human beings, we need
this realization, and one of the most observable proofs that
we do need it was the quest, in the wake of September 11, the
general and urgent quest for poems that would be equal to that
be human, said Heaney, is to forever seek the right balance
between the self as individual and as part of a community, and
he challenged graduates to give each appropriate weight. The
human condition can be understood as a series of immense climaxes
and cataclysms in the historical record, but equally and intimately,
the human condition is experienced in the privacy and bewilderment
of individual consciousness, Heaney said. Which,
for example, is the more important element in this mornings
Commencement? Is it the inner newness and strangeness of change
that each graduate is experiencing, the sense of standing in
a new solitude at the threshold of a new life? Or is it the
huge, consoling familiarity of being together at Emory, of being
carried along by a shared companionship, by the pageantry and
community and solidarity we all belong to and enjoy?
things are important to a fully-lived life and always will be,
and the challenge you face in the years ahead is to maintain
a balance between the call to be true to your mysteriously essential
inner selves and the need to operate capably and self-respectingly
in the outer world of affairs.
who sat next to Chace on the stage throughout the departing
presidents final Commencement, was the first of four honorary
degree recipients to address the 2003 graduates. Anthony S.
Fauci, who has served as director of the National Institute
of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes
of Health since 1984 and as chief of the Laboratory of Immunoregulation
since 1980, received a doctor of science degree. A pioneer in
the field of immunoregulation and the fight against AIDS, Fauci
now plays an essential role in creating government policy to
shared two lessons with graduates. While many of you are
completing graduate studies, you may feel that on this day you
are no longer really a student, Fauci said. Let
me tell you that this is just an illusion. In fact, we are all
perpetual students and the mosaic of our knowledge and experiences
is eternally unfinished. . . . The next lesson is that you must
be prepared for virgin territory, the unexpected, and great
changes, even in fields that may now seem very well established.
Levering Lewis, currently the Martin Luther King Jr. University
Professor in the Department of History at Rutgers University,
also accepted an honorary doctor of letters degree. Lewis is
the author of a two-volume biography of W.E.B. Du Bois, each
of which won the Pulitzer Prize for biography. At age twelve,
Lewis met the eighty-year-old Du Bois, who asked him, What
are you going to do with your life?
Lewis told graduates, are going to work, play, bond, vote,
and parent in a multi-cultural nation of accelerating ethnic,
demographic, gendered, technological, and scientific complexity.
[This] is a nation that has come about in major measure because
of the contagious civil rights revolution of the 1960s and 70s
whose momentum has empowered women, ethnics, gay, and other
challenged categories that continue to emerge and lay claim
to a fair share of the American dream.
also reminded graduates that Emory admitted its first students
of color only forty years ago. That southern men and women
of my generation and abilities were proscribed from competing
for a place in a great national university of the South simply
on the basis of skin color ought never be forgotten by you smart,
enlightened, and advantaged mistresses and masters of tomorrows
universe, Lewis said. While it is true that Confederate
flags, like raw racism and Senate majority leaders, belong in
the graveyard of lost causes, nevertheless, the great social
gains of the last fifty years are only as authentic as your
vigilant guardianship makes them.
R. Young, an internationally known music composer for the United
Methodist Church and the only person to have edited two major
hymnals for the same denomination in the twentieth century,
received an honorary doctor of music degree. In addition to
traveling the world, conducting clinics and directing choir
and hymn festivals, Young once directed the music program at
Emorys Candler School of Theology.
honoring me, Carlton said, you also honor the art
and science of hymns and hymnology. . . . With regard to the
latter, you should take pride that the Pitts Theology Library
houses the foremost collection of Christian hymns with a special
emphasis on Reformation and American hymnody.
two decades of editing, compiling, and teaching [international]
song I have been privileged to listen and to know firsthand
some of the profound human significance of these singing traditions,
in particular how, perhaps uniquely, they are a true sharing
of culture, and at the same time provide ways of crossing over
into anothers lives.
President Chace introduced each speaker and presented the major
faculty and student awards (see p.), he was authorized by Ben
F. Johnson III, chair of the University Board of Trustees, to
confer degrees upon the 2003 graduates. For the last time, Chace
asked each group of degree recipients to be seated in his habitual
humorous way: Please pick up an old copy of National Geographic
and sit down, he told M.D. recipients; I enjoin
you to have a seat, to the newly minted lawyers; My
special offer, available only today, you are free to have a
seat, to graduates of the business school; and to theology
scholars, I pray you, take a seat.
E. Mack 83C, president of the Association of Emory Alumni,
welcomed graduates into the community of Emory alumni. Yesterday,
you were students, she told them. Today, you join
the host of illustrious alumni. . . . We want you to be a part
of Emorys future. You are always welcome and you are always
at home here.
the University Commencement ceremony, graduates of Emorys
individual schools scattered across campus for their own diploma
ceremonies. College graduates receiving their bachelors
degrees remained on the Quad to hear their class orator, Anton
DiSclafani, a creative writing major who wrote an independent
paper on The Ethics of Native American Literature.
echoing Heaneys theme, talked from a highly personal vantage
point about the impact of words and language and their ability
to evoke the human experience. She spoke of how stories are
shaped, and how they shape those who hear them.
have accumulated my own story of Emory, as we all have,
DiSclafani said. We are bound to the people who have gone
to Emory in ways we cannot articulate. Emory became my home,
and how can we ever describe our home? I could talk for hours
and still not list everything I will miss. What story will we
live when we leave this place?
what stories graduates find themselves living, Heaney said,
they will be challenged to be wise and to be good, to
hold in a single thought reality and justiceand
the stories of those who have gone before may help them do so.
you are so challenged, Heaney said, remember that
others have been in the same predicament for millennia, so turn
to them and in particular to those among them who offered their
answers to the challenge. Turn, in other words, to the poets
and writers who took the strain and held the line and stood
their ground in the hard-won, decisive place. And then, class
of 2003, go you in your turn and do likewise.
mood was jubilant in Glenn Memorial Auditorium, where graduates
of Emory School of Medicine awaited their diplomas. The valedictory
address was given by Haile T. Debas, dean of the School of Medicine
and Vice Chancellor of Medical Affairs at the University of
California, San Francisco. Always remember, he told
the group of doctors, that the center of your universe
is your patient, whom you will teach and from whom you will
the auditorium, Carla Glanville waited excitedly to see her
sister, Denise Glanville, receive her Ph.D. in clinical psychology
at the graduate school ceremony. Some twenty members of the
Glanville clan had come for the occasion, from as far away as
Jamaica. Our whole family is very proud, Carla said.
Sidney Shoop, three, slept through the ceremony in which his
mom, Marcia W. Mount Shoop, received her doctor of philosophy
degree in religious studies.
went to bed super-late and got up super-early, said dad
Shoop is associate pastor at First Presbyterian Church of Libertyville,
Illinois, and finished her dissertation (Let the Bones
Live: A Theology of Embodiment) while living in Chicago,
flying back in for commencement. Her father, mother, and three
sisters were also on hand to share in the celebration. Were
sure excited shes gotten it, said Shoop, of his
The student speaker at the Rollins School of Public Health ceremony
was Rebecca J. Vander Meulen, who received a masters in
public health with a specialty in international health. The
Woodruff scholar did her thesis in Mozambique, on the subject
of ecological sanitationin other words, latrines.
are practicing health care in a broken world, where problems
are complicated and often paradoxical, Vander Meulen said.
In the midst of this mess, we somehow say we want to practice
public health, to believe that our efforts make a difference.
Every ten seconds, Vander Meulen said, someone in the world
dies from inadequate water or sanitation. Yet, with the right
expertise and with the help of health-care experts, many in
dire situations can turn their lives around. For instance, instead
of creating a health hazard, properly treated human wastes can
be used as fertilizer, resulting in thriving crops.
must bear witness to peoples hopes and despair,
she said. Sometimes soaring, often trudging, we must continue
forward . . . toward this vision of abundant life.
Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing graduated its first
doctoral student: Carolyn Constantin, who wrote her dissertation
on immune responses during pregnancy, using mice as a model.
A womens health nurse practitioner, Constantin has been
a labor and delivery nurse and an instructor for a course on
maternal and child health at Boston College before entering
Emorys Ph.D. program. Many people supported me in
this venture, Constantin said.
false fire alarm in the Woodruff P.E. Center may have temporarily
shattered the eardrums, but not the happiness, of the 605 Goizueta
Business School graduates, including 222 MBA recipients who
gave the largest class gift in the Universitys history.
Similarly, despite a minor car accident that took place squarely
in front of the School of Law during the diploma ceremony, spirits
were high among the J.D. recipients. The student speaker reminded
graduates that while law is a serious business, laughter is
important as well. With whats going on in the world
today, he said, practicing law will take a lot out
of us. Remember, be generous to yourself as well.
read about Oxfords Commencement click here.
Brittain Award winner.
McMullan Award winner.
new Commencement tradition: candlelight cross over.