MARY J. LOFTUS
of Emory Universitys 2004 Commencement was dictated
by tradition: The academic procession was led across the Quadrangle
by Chief Marshal Raymond C. DuVarney, professor of physics,
as it has been for nearly a decade. The kilt-clad Atlanta
Pipe Band drum and bagpipe ensemble played Emory Old
St. Andrews March, written by alumnus Henry D. Frantz
Jr. 71C-74L. And graduates wore a style of academic
regalia first adopted by the Class of 1902.
much about the ceremony was marked by modernity as well. Even
as they filled the rows of folding chairs, graduates pulled
cell phones and digital cameras from beneath their black robes
to record and immortalize the moment.
is a graduation class that, for the most part, has known only
a wired world. By the time most members of the Class of 2004
were born (circa 1982), computers, cordless phones, Walkmans,
and VCRs were fast becoming a way of life.
is also a class whose years at Emory have been shaped by a domestic
terror attack and a war on foreign soil, a call to national
defense and shifting international alliances, increasing corporate
influence and growing community activism. The largest employers
of this years graduates are major banks, consulting firms,
Teach for America, and the Peace Corps.
his firstand the Universitys 159thCommencement
on May 10, Emory President James W. Wagner paid tribute to Emorys
3,331 graduates and their families on this time-honored
and festive occasion.
invocation was given by Susan Henry Crowe 76T, dean of
the chapel and of religious life, who prayed, Breathe
into us a sense of celebration and responsibility. . . . May
our yearning be to bring healing and hope to this dark and needy
introducing the keynote speaker, Wagner began by saying, More
than two decades ago, a Renaissance of sorts in Irish studies
began at this University. . . . A bit more than a decade ago,
to mark this flourishing, Emory invited as its Commencement
keynote speaker the first woman ever elected to serve as the
president of Ireland, Mary Robinson. Reasons of state prevented
her visit then. We are delighted she is able to be here with
was a senator in Ireland for twenty years before becoming president
in 1990. She served as United Nations High Commissioner for
Human Rights from 1997 to 2002 and now directs the Ethical Globalization
Initiative, a New York City-based venture that aims to integrate
human rights accountability into governance around the world.
December 2003, Robinson delivered the Rosalynn Carter Distinguished
Lecture in Public Policy at Emory, and she will soon join former
President Jimmy Carter as an adviser to the World Law Institute,
which was established at Emory last year.
1968 graduate of Harvard Law School, Robinson said her college
years, like those of this years Emory graduates, were
days of great questioning, not only in my native Ireland
but also here in the United States. They were times marked by
questions about the Vietnam War and by the struggles in this
country for civil rights.
the graduates with her characteristically forthright style and
Irish brogue, Robinson said, Each one of you will need
to rely on your own moral compass to find your paths. When you
look back many years from now, I believe youll realize
how formative the experience of being here at Emory was during
these times in developing your own inner sense of direction,
your own sense of obligation to yourself, to your families and
communities, and to the world around youor, rather, two
very different and divided worlds around you.
been given a great gift, one which several thousand million
people on the planet will never receive. Youve been given
the gift of time and a space to examine your beliefs and the
world in all its complexity, not just through your eyes, but
also through the eyes of others.
her work with the U.N., said Robinson, she was able to go to
areas of conflict and poverty, serving as a witness to
the suffering of victims in Rwanda, Chechnya, East Timor,
Sierra Leone, and Afghanistan. In each place I visited,
I met women and men who wanted essentially the same things:
fundamental rights to be free from fear and free from want.
I found parents just like yours who wanted their children to
be healthy and happy and to have an education that would help
them get a good start in their lives, she said. But
in each of these conflict zones, I also found at times an unwillingness
on both sides of the divide to see the other or
enemy as an individual with hopes and dreams and with equal
urged graduates to hold fast to the ideals on which higher education
reststruth, justice, and reasoned dialogue.
hope you will remember that at each step in your lives, youll
be required to make judgments, to assess a situation, to form
a view, often in less than ideal circumstances, she said.
There rarely, if ever, will be a perfect result. The test
will be whether you are able to keep on and stay true to your
own moral compass [while] listening acutely to the views of
others around you.
presented Robinson with the honorary Doctor of Laws degree.
Born into a society rich in language and law, he
said, you early determined to set your course to speak
on behalf of the rights of all.
other honorary degree recipients, all Atlantans, were honored
as well: medieval historian Caroline Walker Bynum, president
emeritus of the U.S. Olympic committee LeRoy T. Walker, and
Emory trustee emeritus James Bryan Williams.
whose specialties are medieval spirituality, the religious experiences
of medieval women, and the resurrection of the body in medieval
Christianity, holds degrees from the University of Michigan
is my birthday. I was born right here in Emory Hospital sixty-three
years ago, said Bynum, who is now a professor at the Institute
for Advanced Study in Princeton. So Im joining the
Emory community on this spot and on the day where I joined the
larger human community a lifetime ago.
urged students to take support from and commit themselves to
the groupsfamily, work, national, global in which
they embed themselves, for through ones community
a legendary coach and teacher who was elected by unanimous vote
to lead the U.S. Olympic Committee in 1992, overcame poverty
and racial barriers to earn a bachelors degree from Benedict
College in South Carolina, a masters from Columbia, and
a doctorate from New York University in exercise physiology
and biomechanics. He was appointed chancellor of North Carolina
Central University in the mid-1980s, after serving as a professor
and head track coach. Many of his training methods were used
to prepare athletes who broke world records and won Olympic
medals, and Walker was inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of
Fame in 1987. At the peak of his career, he volunteered for
two years with the Peace Corps in Africa, working on educational
and athletic programs.
had the good fortune of training some of our Olympic athletes
here on this campus before we went to Los Angeles for the Games,
Walker said, addressing the graduates. I would have you
understand . . . that achievement is always on the other side
Bryan Williams, former chairman and CEO of SunTrust Banks, served
as an Emory University trustee for thirty years, during which
time he chaired a five-year campaign that ended in 1984 and
raised $220 million. For twenty years, Williams also chaired
the Woodruff Health Sciences Center, and he created the Robert
W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center Fund in 1996, which led to
the construction of the Winship Cancer Institute. He has been
involved in numerous community organizations in Atlanta, particularly
the Boys and Girls Clubs.
presenting all major faculty and student awards, Wagner was
authorized by Ben F. Johnson III 65C, chair of the University
Board of Trustees, to confer degrees upon the 2004 graduates.
Gregory L. Vaughn 87C welcomed graduates into the ranks
of the Association of Emory Alumni. As you make your mark
in the world, stay in touch, visit often, and let us hear from
you, he said.
the individual schools broke away for their diploma ceremonies,
graduates joined their friends and families. Daniel Lende, who
received his Ph.D. in anthropology from the Graduate School
of Arts and Sciences, was cheered on by his three sons, five-year-old
Sebastian, three-year-old Timothy, and one-year-old Nicolas.
I am looking forward to the chance to move on into a different
stage of my career, said Lende, who has been offered an
assistant professor position at the University of Notre Dame.
a blue Emory T-shirt with My grandma is a Ph.D.
on the back, fourteen-month-old Hayden Watford and his mom,
Rebecca, celebrated the scholarly accomplishment of Lucia Kamm-Steigelman,
who graduated with a doctorate from the School of Nursing while
working as a nursing supervisor at Emory Hospital.
by family members who hailed from South Carolina and Nigeria,
new graduate Uche Egemonye relaxed at a shady picnic table after
the ceremony. She plans to use both her newly granted doctorate
in history and her law degree gained in 1998 from Emory in her
work with the Disability, Law, and Policy Center of Georgia.
We just won an important case concerning handicapped access
to MARTA, Egemonye said.
the Rollins School of Public Health ceremony in Rollins Plaza,
spectators found packets of sunblock and tubes of lip balm on
each seat. You can know that you are preventing skin cancer
while watching your friends and relatives graduate, announced
Dean James Curran.
School of Theology graduates gathered inside Glenn Memorial
Church, which waslike most venues across campus with indoor
seatingfilled to capacity. Dean Russell E. Richey urged
graduates to take with them their most joyful memory created
at Emory. What will it be? . . . A probing encounter with
a Candler friend? Wisdom you received? Long nights of intense
study? . . . Remember this crossing. n
Burns receive faculty awards
University Scholar/Teacher Award was given to Associate Research
Professor of Nursing Laura Porter Kimblean announcement
that was greeted with cheers from the nursing graduates. Kimble
(above) developed Emorys emergency nurse practitioner
program, one of only two such programs in the country. She works
with undergraduate and doctoral students as a teacher and adviser,
has served as interim program coordinator of the Ph.D. in nursing
program, and is associate director of the Center for Symptoms,
Symptom Interaction, and Health Outcomes.
Thomas Jefferson Award, given to a faculty member or administrator
for service to the University, was presented to Thomas Samuel
Burns, Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Late Ancient and Medieval
History. Burns (below), a scholar and teacher at Emory for thirty
years, has served as a memberand often chairedevery
major college and University committee for which he was eligible,
always comporting himself by the highest ethical standards,
according to colleagues.
faculty awards included the George P. Cuttino Award for Excellence
in Mentoring, given to Judith Campbell Rohrer, associate professor
of art history. The Emory Williams Award for Distinguished Teaching,
established in 1972 by Emory Williams 32C, was given to:
Fereydoon Family, Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Physics;
Mark Risjord, associate professor of philosophy; Carrie Rosefsky
Wickham, associate professor of political science; Mohammad
Reza Saadein, associate professor of chemistry at Oxford; Mary
Allison Burdette, assistant professor of the practice of business
law at Goizueta; Joyce L. King, assistant professor of nursing;
and Nanette K. Wenger, professor of medicine.M.J.L.