EM Summer 2004



Emory Weekend

Alumni in Africa


Alumni Authors

A record number of alumni came “home” for the first-ever Emory Weekend, a campuswide celebration combining Alumni Weekend and Commencement, May 6-10. More than six thousand alumni and their families registered in advance for the dozens of events offered by the Association of Emory Alumni (AEA) and affiliated programs. Attendance in the past has typically been about three thousand.

Each day offered special events for the entire University community, as well as for specific groups such as reunion classes and graduates of the professional schools. The weekend culminated with Commencement, giving many alumni a chance to reconnect with the pinnacle of Emory tradition.

“Signature” events open to all and hosted by the AEA included the Alumni Golf Scramble, the Senior Candlelight Crossover, a celebratory concert in the Schwartz Center, an afternoon block party and concert by the renowned Indigo Girls, and a late-night Last Call Soiree on Saturday evening.

“We couldn’t be more pleased with the attendance and the success of our inaugural Emory Weekend,” says Vice President for Alumni Affairs and Special Development Programs Robert G. Pennington ’74Ox-’76C-’81L-’81MBA. “It was truly a delight to see so many familiar faces on campus, as well as those alumni who came back for the first time since their graduation. Whatever it was that drew them back to campus, we’ll continue to work as hard as we did this year to offer events and programs that will encourage them to return in the future.”

Teeing Off

Emory Weekend began on a bright note Thursday morning, May 6, a cloudless spring day that might have been special-ordered by Bob Pennington himself.

“It was perfect golf weather,” says Sandy Tillman, program development specialist for the Association of Emory Alumni, the hosts of many of the weekend’s events.

One hundred twenty golfers of all descriptions and skill levels teed off around 9 a.m. at the Stone Mountain Park Golf Course. The winners in each of the five divisions were:

Division 1: Paul Jackson ’82Ox-’84B, Stewart Roberts ’51Ox-’53C-’59M, Keith Davoll and Derrick Lett; Division 2: Joyce Jaleel, Mary Romestant, Myra Sims, Sandy Tillman; Division 3: Ron Flowers ’72T-’74T, Jay Hodges ’72T-’91T, Bob Nicholson, Ken Graap; Division 4: Chuck Lusted, Scott Fletcher, Ethan Solomon ’02C, Will Carr ’05C; Division 5: John Lichtenwalter, Tim Collins, Gary Swidorski, John Yancey

Winner of the putting contest was James Alston, Emory ITD.

The winners of other contests were:

Longest Drive for Women: Mary Romestant

Closest to the Pin for Women: Alice Cunningham ’66G

Longest Putt for Women: Tina Peavy

Longest Drive for Men: Gary Swidorski

Closest to the Pin for Men: Jay Hodges ’72T-’91T

Longest Putt for Men: Michael Leff ’70L

Crossing Over

Much of the synergy of Emory Weekend came of the interaction among graduating seniors, their families, and alumni of all ages. The celebration began Thursday evening, May 6, when, after the traditional senior dinner and Coke toast at the Emory Conference Center, graduating seniors were invited to process by candlelight across the footbridge over Houston Mill Road to the Miller-Ward Alumni House. Their walk together was the second annual Candlelight Crossover, created by the Association of Emory Alumni to symbolize the seniors’ journey from students to alumni.

"There were alumni waiting on the other side to welcome us," says Emily Hunter ’04C, who will study linguistics in Scotland as a Bobby Jones Scholar next year. "The candles were to symbolize our time as undergraduates, and then when we got inside the alumni house we blew them out, and symbolically became alumni. It was really nice, a nice ceremony and tradition."

Seniors then had a chance to mingle with alumni at a dessert reception. Hunter says getting to know fellow graduates in a social setting encouraged her to identify with alumni and to stay connected to the University.

"It definitely had an impact on how people view alumnihood," she says. "Now we understood, this is just a new role we have in the community. We’re still part of Emory, just in a different way."

Getting Out, Getting In

Even as Emory seniors were packing up their rooms Friday morning in preparation for leaving college behind, a group of nervous parents and high-school students were receiving advice on how to get in to the right university.

“Getting In: The Emory Alumni Guide to Selective College Admissions Programs” proved to be one of the more popular offerings of the weekend, with a crowd of more than a hundred. Hosted by Emory and Oxford admissions staff, the program was a practical how-to for high school students and parents facing the college admissions process.

Joel Arogeti ’82L and his daughter Michelle, a sophomore at Atlanta’s Riverwood High School, found the program “very informative.”

“I was impressed by all the practical information,” Arogeti said.

Tuning In

That evening, a Celebratory Concert at the Schwartz Center for Performing Arts provided an opportunity for alumni to enjoy the new arts center and the considerable talents of some of their fellow alumni.

Emory donors were invited to gather at a reception preceding the Celebratory Concert. Some had never visited the Schwartz Center.

Mary Reilly ’81C-’00T and her husband Wendell Reilly ’80C, an Emory trustee, were among those mingling before the concert began. “It’s a beautiful weekend to have these events,” Mary Reilly said.

“This is a very special weekend, and a very special evening,” alumni leader Bob Pennington said as he kicked off the Celebratory Concert. “It doesn’t take very long to realize what a magnificent facility we have here in the Schwartz Center. We are immensely proud of what we have accomplished here already.”

Fittingly, the concert program showcased ten Emory alumni musicians as well as staff and faculty. Alumni performers included Daniel Cole ’93C, bass singer; Yi-Ching Lin ’99C, pianist; Kimberly Lorch ’03C, oboe; Jane Potter Baumer ’87C, mezzo-soprano; Wanda Yang Temko ’92C, soprano (above, right); Laura Ziegler ’95C, pianist (above, left); Todd Qualls ’94C, pianist; Elizabeth Davis Racheva ’97C, soprano; Katherine Blumenthal ’01C, soprano; and Leo Saguiguit ’87C. The program also included piano compositions by Ken Metz ’76C, played by faculty member Laura Gordy. William Ransom and Eric Nelson of the music department performed as well.

Looking Up

After the concert, all alumni guests were invited to the new Math and Science Center, where the observatory and planetarium were open until midnight. Titled “Beauty and the Beast,” the open house offered a live feed of Jupiter from Emory’s state-of-the-art twenty-four-inch reflector telescope, as well as an unobstructed view of the sparkling night sky. Science faculty were on hand as guides.

Ed Booth ’78C and Bridgette Palmer Booth ’80C brought their son, Palmer, eleven, to enjoy the late-night star gazing.

“We came for my twenty-fifth reunion last year, but the program for this weekend looked so good we decided to come again,” said Ed, now living in Jacksonville. “We didn’t realize any of this existed. I remember the old physics building, which had no air conditioning. We just saw the planetarium–what a fascinating course [astronomy] would be. It makes me want to come back.”

Susan Sendelbach ’88T had come mainly for the Candler School’s Theology of Hope Conference that took place on Thursday and Friday, and couldn’t resist the chance to visit the observatory. “This is so cool,” she said. “This is what I want to do in my next life–study space.”

Coming Home

When Emily Saliers ’85C and Amy Ray ’86C–together the world famous Indigo Girls–struck up the first chords of their new song, “One Perfect World,” on Saturday afternoon at McDonough Field, it seemed like the perfect choice for the occasion.

“Happy alumni weekend, happy graduation,” said Saliers; Ray added, “It’s great to see everybody. It feels like we’re at home . . . because we are.” The pair played new music and old favorites for more than an hour, performing in their original style–just the two of them, in jeans, with their guitars.

The day, though hot (temperatures rose above eighty), was lovely and clear. More than 2,500 alumni, children, faculty, staff, students and their families gathered on the expanse of lawn for the AEA’s block party and Indigo Girls show, spreading out blankets, unfolding chairs, or just lounging on the grass. Volunteers circulated through the crowd with sunscreen for those who weren’t prepared for the blazing sun; Vice President for Alumni Affairs and Special Development Programs Robert G. Pennington handed out Emory visors.

The AEA offered a low country boil lunch, as well as games, entertainment, and a giant inflated slide and obstacle course–big hits with the dozens of children present.

Jane Potter Baumer ’87C, one of the featured performers in the Celebratory Concert, brought her daughter Haley, three, out to join the festival.

“I loved it here,” Baumer said. “I can’t believe how much it’s changed. The Schwartz Center is amazing.”

Jessica Hamara ’99BBA, Tim Knowles, Jennifer Pritzer Sender ’99C-’02L-’02PH, and Eric Sender ’02C (left) relaxed on a blanket as they ate boiled crawfish, shrimp, corn, and salad.

“The campus looks great,” Hamara said. “Some of the new buildings are really gorgeous, it makes me proud to show it off to my boyfriend [Knowles]. I thought it would be too crowded this weekend with everything going on, but it’s been very manageable. And we live in New York, so the sun feels good.”

Nicole Foerschler Horn ’97C and Jon Horn ’97C met as students in the old Cox Hall computer lab. They were astonished by the new one, which was completely renovated and updated in 2002. “We’re having a great time,” Nicole said. “We’re huge Indigo Girls fans, which is pretty much why we came back. But I think we’ll definitely come again next year.”

Anyone who missed the low country boil didn’t have to go hungry; dozens bought hot dogs from Signature Hot Dogs, a business started by a Goizueta Business School graduate.

Giscard Walters ’00Ox-’03B was kept busy grilling and serving up beef and veggie dogs to the crowd. “It’s fun, every event is still different,” said Walters.

Last Call

The early part of Saturday evening found more than a dozen class reunions and school-specific gatherings taking place around Emory. But as the night wore on, the crowd began to converge in the ballroom of the Emory Conference Center Hotel, where the first annual Last Call Soiree drew guests from 9 p.m. until well after midnight.

Everyone was invited to this late-night dessert reception and dance, and it seemed everyone came: graduating seniors, their families, alumni, and community members from all corners of campus. Most were formally dressed, lending a festive air to the evening.

About midway through the dance, President Jim Wagner, who was there with his wife, Debbie, took the stage to formally toast the outgoing seniors, raising his glass to a packed ballroom.

The dance band King Sized lured couple after couple onto the floor. One of the first was graduating senior Ann Stonebraker and her father. “We just had to warm Dad up,” said Stonebraker, who graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a degree in psychology.

Diana Suber ’94C and Alisa Porter ’94C said they had come to their five-year reunion, but attendance by their classmates then was low compared to this year, their tenth. They were glad to be celebrating their reunion during Commencement weekend.

“It’s good for the outgoing seniors to be exposed to alumni,” Suber said. “And we really enjoyed the Indigo Girls. That was very exciting. It’s great to see the campus and how it’s changed.”

Juan Doan ’98C also noted the remarkable changes on campus since his graduation and praised Emory Weekend’s offerings.

“This is a great event,” he said. “To have alumni and graduates all coming together is a really good feeling. It’s like the beginning of the end for the seniors.”

Time Honored

On Sunday morning, Judson C. “Jake” Ward Jr. ’33C-’36G, dean of alumni, welcomed more than a hundred guests to the Miller-Ward Alumni House for breakfast and the first formal induction ceremony of Corpus Cordis Aureum, the “Golden Corps of the Heart,” an elite group of alumni who graduated fifty years ago or more.

These alumni were recognized with specially-commissioned gold medallions and for the first time were invited to lead the Commencement procession of graduates on Monday morning. Clad in gold robes, with their medallions hanging from blue ribbons, the charter members of Corpus Cordis Aureum vividly symbolized Emory’s history and heritage.

“Please know that what you represent today is very significant,” Pennington said during the induction ceremony. “You are really the cornerstone of Emory’s future, and for that we are immensely proud.”

Betty Marie Stewart ’52N, who was the first woman president of the Association of Emory Alumni, was among more than one hundred alumni inducted into the new organization. She said she was proud to be the first woman president, but even more so to be the first president from the School of Nursing.

“It was hard work,” she said of her time as AEA president in the 1980s. “We traveled a lot. We were trying, in spite of growing, to maintain our Southern roots. But it was a special time, just after the Woodruff gift. I was blessed to hold the position.”

Bill Cumbaa ’43C, also a newly christened member of Corpus Cordis Aureum, was particularly pleased to have the opportunity to process in the Commencement exercises on May 10.

As a member of the Marine Corps when he was a student at Emory, he missed his own graduation.

“Now, sixty-one years later,” he said, “I get to march in a procession.”–P.P.P.