EM Summer 2004



Emory Weekend

Alumni in Africa


Alumni Authors



Much of Emory University’s 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.

But 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.

This 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.

This 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 year’s graduates are major banks, consulting firms, Teach for America, and the Peace Corps.

Overseeing his first—and the University’s 159th–Commencement on May 10, Emory President James W. Wagner paid tribute to Emory’s 3,331 graduates and their families on this “time-honored and festive occasion.”

The 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 world.”

In 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 us today.”

Robinson 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.

In 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.

A 1968 graduate of Harvard Law School, Robinson said her college years, like those of this year’s 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.”

Addressing 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 you’ll 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 you–or, rather, two very different and divided worlds around you.

“You’ve been given a great gift, one which several thousand million people on the planet will never receive. You’ve 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.”

Through 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 rights.”

Robinson urged graduates to hold fast to the ideals on which higher education rests–truth, justice, and reasoned dialogue.

“I hope you will remember that at each step in your lives, you’ll 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.”

Wagner 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.”

Three 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.

Bynum, 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 and Harvard.

“Today 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 I’m joining the Emory community on this spot and on the day where I joined the larger human community a lifetime ago.”

Bynum urged students to take support from and commit themselves to the groups–family, work, national, global– in which they “embed” themselves, for through one’s community comes “immortality.”

Walker, 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 bachelor’s degree from Benedict College in South Carolina, a master’s 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.

“We 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 of sacrifice.”

James 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.

After 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.

As 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.

Wearing 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.

Surrounded 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.

At 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.

Candler School of Theology graduates gathered inside Glenn Memorial Church, which was–like most venues across campus with indoor seating–filled 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

Kimble, Burns receive faculty awards

The University Scholar/Teacher Award was given to Associate Research Professor of Nursing Laura Porter Kimble–an announcement that was greeted with cheers from the nursing graduates. Kimble (above) developed Emory’s 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.

The 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 member–and often chaired–every major college and University committee for which he was eligible, always “comporting himself by the highest ethical standards,” according to colleagues.

Other 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.


Oxford Commencement

Student Awards

Faculty Awards





© 2004 Emory University