President Chace, in his presentations to alumni groups, often says that to truly understand Emory you must start forty miles southeast of the Atlanta campus at Oxford. It's always a good time to visit Emory's birthplace, but I had the good fortune to attend Oxford Day, the annual alumni celebration, on a beautiful spring Saturday this April. The Quadrangle could not have been prettier with its new lawn, buds, and blossoms. Old grads walked beside current Oxford students. Tables and chairs placed on the grass would soon welcome the reunion classes for lunch. The smell of barbecue brought perfection to the scene.
After a morning of socializing and reminiscing over Cokes and peanuts, the crowd made its way over to Allen Memorial Church for a brief program. (The church is named for an 1850s Emory graduate, Young J. Allen, who spent his life as a Methodist missionary to China. Could there be a more ebullient and optimistic name for one in that line of work?)
We slid into the pews and heard Oxford Dean Bill Murdy welcome us. The feeling of community was palpable. It seemed the essence of communication. The few spoke to inform. The many gathered to listen and learn. As the meeting went on, some in the audience rose to share their thoughts with the group and the speakers, completing the circle. This was representative of mass communication from the time of Emory's beginning. How, I wondered, have we improved upon this model?
Communication is central to our mission at the Association of Emory Alumni (AEA), but we often are guilty of making it too much of a one-way process. We print, we mail, we phone, we visit, we talk. Quite frankly, it is easier to be busy with this than to devise intelligent and representative means to gather your thoughts, suggestions, opinions, and advice for the current Emory. But we are trying to rectify this on several fronts:
"I want to suggest today that baseball, as our national pastime, has something
to tell us about the American mind. More specifically, in its way of treating
time and space and action, baseball `models' important tensions in mainstream
American culture, conflicts between communitarian values and individualistic
ones. Childhood and youth were spent playing ball; the chain of seasons and
teams gone by is an idiom by which an actual life may be mapped by a sport.
This is nostalgia as a memory of things past. But the nostalgia of baseball
seems to have a powerful effect on even those who never played the sport as a
kid. This sort of nostalgia is like a memory of times absent, a recollection of
something that never was. In this way, baseball is indeed a `field of
dreams'--an urbanite's `memory' of a rural time and place never actually
--Bradd Shore, professor and chair of the Department of
Anthropology, speaking at the panel, "Baseball: Religion in Motion"(Photo by Ann Borden)
"The first recorded competition for knowledge was in the Garden of Eden, over
that infamous apple from the tree of knowledge. In that competition, Eve lost,
Adam lost, even the snake lost. Everybody lost across the board. Yet ever since
that time, human beings have persisted in applying competitive models in places
they don't belong, like in teaching and research in the humanities. . . .
Humanistic knowledge generally isn't directly practical or commodifiable. The
humanities offer relatively few material rewards. For humanists in the
university, cooperative models usually make much more sense than competitive
ones. Competition can mean striving for excellence, trying to do one's best. It
can also mean striving against another person, trying to best someone else. In
some endeavors, these two activities can't be easily separated, but in the
humanities they can be, and they should be. The purpose of the humanities is to
shape the individual, to offer knowledge that can give a richer, more complex
and satisfying life."
--Martine Brownley, professor of English and director of the Program in Women's
Studies, speaking at the panel, "Competition on the Faculty Commons"
Fortunately, we didn't have to.
After her father, Richard Swindle '95PhD, earned his doctorate in educational leadership last May, Anna presented him with a series of poems that deconstructed the experience as only a child could. The poems turned out to be not only very clever, but also keenly acute. What follows is Dorothy Swindle's letter explaining the origin of the verse and two of Anna's six poems.
Dear Emory Magazine,
Last spring when my husband, Richard Swindle, completed the requirements necessary to receive his Ph.D. at the May graduation, our entire family rejoiced. We had done our parts to give him the space needed to get the work done and, at the end of it all, we--especially our two daughters--were delighted to know it was over! We decided that our celebration would include gifts from each of us to Richard.
I am enclosing the poems that our nine year old, Anna, wrote as her gift to her father. We were amazed at the way she so accurately expressed many of the feelings that had been a part of the process of completing a Ph.D. She had been part of the whole process, since he began the program the year she was born!
I have no idea if you would be interested in these, but it occurred to me that other families going through similar journeys might enjoy them. We certainly have.
Dorothy Swindle '81MLS
My, my, my
Look at the sky.
It's very blue
I'm blue, too.
I've got the dissertation blues
'Cause I've been in the basement much too long.
My friends have gotten older.
This apple I started on 5 months ago has gotten moldier.
I hope my family will remember me
When I come upstairs again.
Wait! What did I just do?
I typed in the last word.
I'm finally through!
I'm DONE with my dissertation . . .
On to graduation!
I'm Losing My Temper
I'm losing my temper!
You just can't remember
That I'm doing my dissertation
And I have to get it done before graduation.
You're poking, you're prodding,
You're pesky, you're rude.
Would you please let me work in peace?!
Oh good! There you go!
Go on upstairs.
She's gone, HOORAY!!!
I'm happy today!
But wait! Who to talk to?
Who to poke you and prod you?
Come back downstairs.
Sit down in a chair
And please, please, please keep me company!
A few years later, Dickens was riding the wave of personal computer technology that was sweeping through corporate America. The graphics software programs he wrote and sold by mail-order in his spare time were making him more money than his career in the nuclear power industry. So in 1981, he quit his job to found Dickens Data Systems, which went from $1 million in annual sales in 1986 to $51 million last year. Since its beginnings, the company, now with some one hundred employees, has expanded into manufacturing and servicing peripheral equipment and software for IBM multiuser operating systems.
"IBM is one of our largest customers as well as one of our largest vendors," says Dickens, a former member of Emory's Board of Visitors and a current member of Oxford's Board of Counselors. "All the top companies in America use IBM information systems to run their businesses--look at General Motors, Ford, Coca-Cola."
In 1991, the Atlanta Business Chronicle recognized Dickens Data as the fastest-growing Southeastern high-technology company in the previous five years, and Inc. magazine named Dickens its entrepreneur of the year in the "explosive-growth" category. Last year, the Atlanta Business Chronicle included Dickens Data in a list of the fifty fastest-growing companies in the Atlanta area over the past five years.--A.O.A. (Photo by Kay Hinton)
Six years and many experimental recipes later, Pierpont's company now nets some $100,000 annually from the sale of two sauces, Admiral Pierpont's Royal Thai Peanut Sauce and Admiral Pierpont's Key Lime Sauce. Pierpont, who got his start in the food business as a cook at P.J. Haley's restaurant and pub while attending Emory, also has a line of Mexican condiments in the works.
Pierpont recommends spooning his creamy, slightly spicy peanut sauce onto rice, noodles, even French fries, and using the key lime sauce as a baste or marinade for lamb, seafood, and poultry. "It's not necessarily [as popular as] Heinz tomato catsup yet," he says. "But the sauces seem to have won a certain following." Sold nationwide in specialty food markets such as Happy Herman's in Atlanta, the sauces retail for around four dollars for an eight-ounce jar.
Click here to read a Spring 1996 Emory Magazine article on the history of the Sports Hall of Fame.
When Toni Furman-Eichelberger went in search of educational videos depicting positive African-American role models for her two-year-old son, Lewis, she found very little on the market. "I realized this was probably having a strong effect on the minority child's self-esteem," says Furman-Eichelberger, a 1991 Allied Health alumna who is currently a doctoral student in educational leadership at Clark Atlanta University. "So I said, Well, I'm going to do something about this."
With the help of her husband, Herbert Eichelberger, who earned his Ph.D. degree in Emory's Graduate Institute of the Liberal Arts in 1990 and now teaches film at Clark Atlanta, she founded Ms. T Productions in 1991. Since then her company has released two "Educational Playtime" videos. The thirty-minute, live-action programs feature children of color interacting with well-known Atlanta performing artists, including actress Carol Mitchell-Leon, storyteller Akbar Imhotep, and the Pan People steel drum band. Through stories, music, dance, and puppetry, the videos convey lessons in reading and counting for children two to eight years old.
"The difference between my products and others is that mine project the black child as the majority," says Furman-Eichelberger, who also publishes Nia, a newsletter for children. "They show the black experience in a positive, loving, uplifting light. The black child can say, Look at the kids and performers in this video. I can achieve anything, too." (Photo by Annemarie Poyo)
Emory Magazine recently received a letter from James C. Yeargin '63D detailing the common bonds he shares with another Emory graduate, James R. Fowler '57Ox-'64M. In addition to their first names and their Emory connection, both are rear admirals in the U.S. Naval Reserve, both are the highest-ranking officer in their respective corps, and both work together in their Navy jobs in Washington, D.C. When asked about the coincidences, Yeargin said the two chalk it up to the " `E' factor--a great Emory background." In their civilian life, Fowler is a hand surgeon in Salt Lake City, and Yeargin is a general dentist in Daytona Beach. The above photograph (with Fowler on the right) was taken when the two rear admirals were in Korea last year.--J.D.T.
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