In this issue


Emory's alumni house will honor Jake Ward '33C-'36G and H. Prentice Miller '27C-'28G

Dean of Alumni Judson C. "Jake" Ward '33C-'36G says he "was greatly surprised and flattered beyond words" when he learned that Emory's new alumni center, the Miller-Ward House, would be named in part for him.

"I was also flattered to be connected with Dean [H. Prentice] Miller, whom I knew very well and who taught me sophomore English," Ward continues. "He and I were good friends, and I was a great admirer of his."

H. Prentice Miller '27C-'28G served as dean of the freshman and sophomore classes and was the first person to be named dean of alumni at Emory.

"The house will bring alumni back to the University in a better mood to events such as Alumni Assembly," Ward predicts. "I think it will lift their spirits."

"Prentice Miller and Jake Ward are the only two people to serve as dean of alumni in Emory's history," explains Association of Emory Alumni (AEA) Executive Director Bob Carpenter. "Together they probably touched more lives than anyone else associated with the school. From the beginning, the choice of their names for the house was obvious to us."

The Miller-Ward House, which is being designed by architect Jim Chapman of Chapman Coyle Chapman, will be constructed on Houston Mill Road and will incorporate the existing two-story, 7,500-square-foot Scholars Press building. New construction will triple the available space. Public areas will account for about half the space in the new alumni center; the remainder will be used for offices for the AEA staff and others involved with alumni.

A partially underground parking deck will also be constructed. Groundbreaking for the Miller-Ward House is scheduled to take place this fall, with completion slated for late fall of 1999.

"It will be a portal to the campus, a place to learn about services available to alumni such as the Career Network or the Admission Network," says Carpenter.

Anne Carson '61C has been actively involved in the project, and she feels the house will help better connect alumni to the University. Carson, a professional home space planner and a member of the committee working on the design of the Miller-Ward House, says they are trying to create an inviting and enduring environment.

"It should be a warm, friendly, welcoming home," she says, "but also an efficient place where the alumni offices are."

Ginger Cain '77C-'82G, who became Emory's first University Archivist last September, is excited about the potential the new facility has as a repository for Emory memorabilia and historical items.

"Emory's alumni are its history in many ways, and since the alumni house will be the first stop for many visiting alumni, it will be an excellent venue for selected University Archives-related activities," Cain explains.

"The alumni house will provide a setting for informing, educating, and remembering. University Archives programming there would be used to engage alumni in knowing about Emory's history and help alumni feel that their continued association with the University will help ensure that Emory's present becomes another important chapter in its history."--J.D.T.


Culture of Toys conference examines Americans' increasing investment in play

American fun and games is serious business these days, according to some of the scholars who convened at Emory recently for The Culture of Toys Conference.

"Our culture puts a great deal of its money into play," said Brian Sutton-Smith, author of Toys as Culture and University of Pennsylvania professor emeritus of education, psychology, and folklore. Sutton-Smith co-chaired the conference with Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Anthropology Melvin Konner.

Sutton-Smith and Konner were among eleven historians, anthropologists, folklorists, sociologists, and psychologists who spoke at the two-day conference on the ways environment and culture shape toy-making and play. Emory hosted the event as a prelude to the Smithsonian Institution's Festival of American Folklife in 2000, which will bring children from around the world to Washington, D.C., to demonstrate toy-making and play from their native cultures. The Emory conference organizers, including Emory Associate Professor of Medicine Neil Shulman, charged the group to address multidisciplinary questions that may arise about the proposed festival.

Pennsylvania State University Professor of History Gary Cross, author of Kids' Stuff: Toys and the Changing World of Childhood, presented historical evidence on the increasing investment into play. "Americans went from spending $6.7 billion in 1980 on toys to an estimated $20 billion last year," he said.

"Contemporary toys are grouped in product lines, requiring repeated purchases. They invite children to make a mini-world of play where they serve as director, not as participant, in the action."

These trends, Cross said, have in part made modern, manufactured toys largely the same around the world. "Since the [Berlin] Wall came down in 1989, Mattel has penetrated all the old communist centers, while the regional or ethnic toys that require special materials and design have declined. Toys 'R' Us has become the international center for toy purchase."

Folklore and anthropology consultant Suzanne Seriff, however, argued that traditional, hand-crafted toys are in no danger of disappearing. "The toys and toy makers I've encountered in my fieldwork are in fact firmly embedded in the economic, religious, social, and cultural life of their communities," she said. --A.O.A.

Chopp Appointed Provost

Late in the production cycle of this issue of Emory Magazine, the Executive Committee of the Emory Board of Trustees approved the appointment of Rebecca Chopp as provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, effective May 1. Chopp replaces Billy E. Frye, who served as provost from 1988 until his appointment as chancellor of the University in 1997. Chopp had served as interim provost and vice president since June 1997.

University President William M. Chace described Chopp as "a person of considerable academic strength and reputation . . . whose personal, diplomatic, and strategic skills will move Emory rapidly ahead as a first-rate university."

Chopp joined the Emory faculty in 1985 and was named Charles Howard Candler Professor of Theology at the Candler School of Theology in January 1996. She served as dean of faculty and academic affairs at Candler from 1993 to 1997 and chaired the University's Commission on Teaching from January 1996 to September 1997.

Additional details about Chopp's appointment will appear in the fall issue of Emory Magazine.

Photo by Ann Borden


Alumna's interactive book examines slavery

For Velma Maia Thomas '80G, the title of her recently published book on slavery, Lest We Forget, is an apt summation of why she wrote it.

"I don't want people to forget this part of our history," says Thomas, who earned her master's degree in international affairs from Emory in 1980 and is a member of the Caucus of Emory Black Alumni. "I think if we do forget it, we have done a disservice to people who have really suffered and struggled to bring us this far. We owe it to them to remember their suffering and their struggles and to draw strength from that."

Lest We Forget examines the transatlantic slave trade, in which Thomas estimates fifty million people died en route to the New World. The book chronicles slavery from its beginnings in Africa in the fifteenth century through President Abraham Lincoln's signing of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863.

The Black Caucus of the American Library Association named it one of the twelve best books of 1997, and the New York Public Library selected it as the theme of its 1998 essay contest for Black History Month. Emerge magazine noted that Lest We Forget "breathes life--courage, despair, perseverance--into a legacy often conveyed with a soporific tone in weightier volumes."

Thomas' book grew out of the Black Holocaust Exhibit, a collection of more than one hundred original documents related to slavery that took her about four years to amass. The exhibit is based at the Shrine of the Black Madonna Bookstore in Atlanta's West End, where Thomas has worked for nearly fifteen years.

Thomas first began collecting these kinds of artifacts after a dealer sent two documents to her through the mail. One concerned the sale of a man for approximately $500, and the other documented a child in Virginia who was sold and moved to New Orleans.

Thomas remembers she was "really touched at such a deep level that I wanted to collect these [kinds of documents] so that other people could see them. I really felt a lot of people didn't know the depths and the pain and the struggles of slavery."

Thomas says reactions to the exhibit vary. "People are touched in different ways. A lot of people come out saying, I had no idea all this took place. Black and white people."

Lest We Forget evolved after a sales representative at Random House read an article in the New York Times that featured Thomas and the exhibit. Thomas was intrigued with the idea of writing a book focusing on the exhibit, but she insisted that it had to be different.

"I wanted to make it something that the average person would pick up, that a family would pick up, that people would want to read," she explains.

After a brainstorming session with representatives from Random House, they decided to make the book interactive and three-dimensional. Lest We Forget features a number of reproductions of documents from the Black Holocaust Exhibit. Some of them can be taken out of the book and handled, including a receipt for the purchase of a slave woman named Francis.

Thomas hopes to secure funding to take the Black Holocaust Exhibit to other cities. "I am really hoping to make this an exhibit that will travel across the continent," she says. "We don't want this to be just our little jewel."--J.D.T.


Evening at Emory teaches Spanish to medical professionals

Three years ago, several Atlanta-area hospitals requested that Evening at Emory, the University's community education program, provide a class to prepare medical professionals to communicate with an increasing number of Spanish-speaking patients.

Rose Cunningham, who at that time had taught conversational Spanish at Evening at Emory for twelve years, created the course, "Spanish for the Medical Profession," which she still teaches.

Each week, Cunningham and her students simulate situations in which the medical professionals speak Spanish with a "patient." During the winter 1998 session, she brought in a Minnie Mouse doll for her students to treat. After she detailed the doll's illness, students inquired in Spanish about the patient's symptoms and medical history.

Cunningham's course focuses on learning Spanish the way she originally had: by listening and having conversations. She learned Spanish at the age of six when her family left Bucharest for Havana during World War II. Cunningham learned English after marrying an American, who brought her to Atlanta in 1948.

The demand for Cunningham's classes has increased as more Spanish-speaking patients have entered Atlanta hospitals. Eight students signed up for her first course; thirty-seven students enrolled for the winter 1998 session.--E.C.

"We pride ourselves on being a government of laws and not men--for which we women, of course, are grateful."

--Former Texas Governor Ann Richards, keynote speaker for Law Day at the Emory School of Law in March

The Pullet Surprises

Media mogul Rupert Murdoch, Internet publisher Matt Drudge, and the CBS network were the principal recipients of the first annual Pullet Surprises, an award program of dubious distinction initiated this spring by Emory's journalism program as a spoof of the Pulitzer Prizes.

According to Loren Ghiglione, James M. Cox Jr. Professor of Journalism, one purpose of the Pullet Surprises "is to celebrate categories of journalism overlooked by the Pulitzers, categories that remind us of the craft's foibles and foolishness, its self-importance and self-indulgence."

Ghiglione says Murdoch won for "putting principal before principle." He explained that when Chris Patten, the last British governor of Hong Kong, submitted a first draft of his book to Murdoch-owned HarperCollins, the publisher canceled its contract with him. Worried about angering the Chinese government, Murdoch killed publication of the book, which was critical of China's human rights abuses. On the day the Patten story broke, the British papers of Murdoch's News Corporation failed to report it.

Drudge, publisher of the Drudge Report, an Internet gossip column, won a Pullet Surprise for posting, then retracting, unsubstantiated charges of spousal abuse against a White House adviser.

And CBS, once known as the "Tiffany network," won for choosing to air "shock jock" talk-show host Howard Stern on twelve of its stations.


Lesli Greenberg '87C helps find families for children with special needs

When Lesli Greenberg '87C was a junior at Emory, she was intrigued by two new classes being offered by the Department of Sociology--one dealt with child sexual abuse and another with domestic violence. She ended up taking the courses, and they revealed a new and disturbing world to her.

"I didn't know these things happened in families," she says. "I grew up in an upper-middle-class family, and everybody was happy and got along."

Greenberg became more interested in the social problems she was exposed to in those classes, and during her senior year she interned at a Cobb County battered women's shelter. There she began working with children who were victims of abuse and neglect, and those experiences inspired her to make a career out of helping them.

"When I saw my first kid who had been abused," she says, "I couldn't believe it, and then I just took it from there."

Greenberg went on to work for six years at the DeKalb County Department of Family and Children Services (DFACS), where she helped children in foster care get adopted. Typically those children had special needs, including physical and psychological problems, and Greenberg found that many were languishing in the foster-care system. To help remedy that problem, she recently left DFACS and established The Giving Tree, an adoption resource center that focuses on finding families for those kinds of children.

One of her primary jobs as executive director of The Giving Tree will be to recruit families interested in adopting these children. Until now, prospective parents became aware of them through My Turn Now: A Child Is Waiting, a book of these children's profiles available at public libraries. Greenberg wants to convert the photographs of the children in the book into slides and take the profiles to PTA meetings, community centers, churches, and synagogues.

"I want to start educating the public on the need for adopting these children and to make this another option for when families are infertile and looking for a child," says Greenberg, who also has a master's degree in community counseling from Georgia State University.

In addition to recruiting parents, The Giving Tree also will screen, train, and prepare them for adopting these types of children. Greenberg knows that if parents aren't properly prepared, there is the potential for the children to suffer.

"We go through a list of things that families can or cannot accept," Greenberg explains. "For example, Would they be able to deal with a child who has been sexually molested? Would they be able to deal with a child who has cerebral palsy? . . . If you do not adequately talk with the family and see what their needs are and make a perfect match, then the child will end up in another lost situation."

One unique facet of The Giving Tree is its emphasis on post-adoption services. "I want to support these families and help them adjust to the adoption and as things come up be a resource for them," she says.

The name for Greenberg's agency comes from the title of a book by Shel Silverstein about a tree's unconditional love for a boy.

"These kids are very similar in that they need unconditional love," says Greenberg. "No matter what they do or how abusive they get, they need someone who is willing to really commit to them and work with them."--J.D.T.


Requests for disability accommodations are rising at Emory

Because she has a rare lung disease, Emory College junior Courtney LaCroix must use a motorized cart to traverse the campus. Her condition, idiopathic pulmonary hemosiderosis, inhibits her breathing when she walks and makes climbing stairs impossible.

Last spring, when LaCroix drove to the Glenn Church School Building for her first class of the semester, she discovered it was on the fourth floor. So instead of listening to a lecture on modern American literature, she went to Emory's Equal Opportunities, Disability Services and Compliance (DSC) office. DSC administrators, whose charge is to accommodate all students with disabilities, relocated LaCroix's classes to accessible buildings.

"I dread coming to school every semester--not because of the classes, but because of the work I have to put into just getting around," says LaCroix, an English major from Covington.

Assistant Dean and Director of Multicultural Programs and Services Vera Rorie is disappointed that many students with disabilities experienced difficulties. "When we accept students, what we have done is made a commitment to help them with all their needs," Rorie says. "We are aware that we are not up to par with these services."

A dramatic increase in the number of students requesting a variety of accommodations overwhelmed Emory's resources this year.

Coordinator of Disabled Student Services Tricia Jacob says the number of students who identified themselves as needing accommodation for documented disabilities increased from sixty students in 1994 to more than four hundred during the 1997-98 academic year.

Physical disabilities such as LaCroix's account for somewhat more than a quarter of DSC's requests for accommodations. The remaining seventy percent are requests for accommodations such as extended time on assignments or changed testing formats because of dyslexia or other learning disabilities.

Rebecca Katz-Doft, a sophomore in the College with multiple disabilities, also faced frustrations with physical and academic accessibility at Emory. Katz-Doft became known as an advocate on campus in March 1997 when she founded the DSC Student Group, which provides support for students using DSC by helping them discuss disability services at Emory, which they hope will improve services and increase public awareness of disabilities.

President Chace calls such dramatic increases a national trend. "At some universities [the number of students with disabilities requesting services] has been doubling in three years," he says.

University officials attribute these increases to a more vocal insistence that universities provide accommodations comparable to the ones students received in elementary and high school, increased awareness of the assistance available at DSC, and growing familiarity with learning disabilities.

Associate Vice President of Equal Opportunities Programming Robert Ethridge says he expects almost 10 percent of the student body ultimately will request services from DSC each year. Students, faculty, staff, and administrators have formed committees to discuss expanding services necessary to provide equal educational opportunities to all students, and the University has allotted funding to hire two more full-time disability services staff members this year.

Until more staff members are hired, Jacob works with each student to assess requests for accommodations. "We're not where we should be," Jacob says, "but we've come a long way."--E.C.

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