Volume 76
Number 4

The Uncommon Common Man

Indecision 2000

Fire and Water

Emory University

Association of Emory Alumni

Current News and Events

Emory Report



Sports Updates








Protecting human subjects

Robert R. Rich, executive associate dean of research in Emory University School of Medicine, has been appointed to the new National Human Research Protections Advisory Committee by Health and Human Services Secretary Donna E. Shalala. As one of twelve committee members, Rich will advise the secretary and other department officials on responsible conduct during human research and the protection of human subjects.


















































FOUR-TIME ALUMNUS Robert G. Pennington is passionate about all things Emory. So when he was courted for the position of vice president of alumni affairs and special development programs, he sacrificed a partnership at a top Atlanta law firm and accepted.

"My family has twelve Emory degrees among us. Emory has been a part of my life since 1961, when my older brother, John, went to Oxford, followed by my brother Bill,’’ says Pennington ’74Ox-’76C-’81MBA-’81L. "I’m now being paid to do something I love dearly."

Jack W. Gilbert, associate vice president for planned giving and leadership development, retires in May after twenty-two years at Emory and says he has full confidence in Pennington, who will assume many of his responsibilities.

"He loves Emory. That’s more than enough," Gilbert says. "He has a great desire to see that the quality of programming for alumni is comparable to the quality of everything else that’s going on at Emory. To succeed in this job, you have to have a great willingness to become friends with several thousand people and to help them understand what a contribution they can make to the future of the University."

From his new office on the first floor of the Miller-Ward Alumni House, Pennington will oversee the alumni office, the parent program, the annual fund, the career network service, and planned giving.

"Bob has already been serving Emory superbly for years . . . in almost every imaginable capacity," says William H. Fox, senior vice president for institutional advancement. "My mandate to him is simple: to creatively, imaginatively, and effectively develop an alumni program for the next several decades that will serve and engage our alumni as they deserve to be served and engaged."

After graduating from Emory College in 1976, Pennington served as assistant director of admissions for Oxford College for a year prior to enrolling in the Goizueta Business School, and later the School of Law. In 1986, with four Emory degrees to his credit, he was asked to serve on a blue-ribbon committee to examine the way the University related to alumni–an experience that continues to shape his views.

"A common perception by alumni was that the only time they heard from Emory was with outstretched palm," Pennington says. "It’s important to separate giving and gift soliciting from alumni services and programs. I want alumni to give, and to do so . . . because they have a heartfelt fondness for the University and believe in what it’s doing, not because they’ve been beaten into submission."

Pennington served four terms as a member of the Board of Governors of the Association of Emory Alumni, chaired the committee on traditions and community ties, and has been a member of the Oxford College Board of Counselors, the Emory College Council of Advisors, and the executive committee of the Emory Law Alumni Association. He served as national chair of the Emory Annual Fund and as chair of the Goizueta Business School Partners Campaign.

After twenty years in commercial real estate law representing institutions, corporations, and high-net-worth clients, the last decade

as a partner at King & Spalding, Pennington says he believes in setting goals and achieving them. He’s already set several for alumni affairs: to develop more "affinity and identity’’ among Emory’s ninety-one thousand alumni for the university; to increase annual giving; to broaden and diversify the pool of actively involved alumni; to bring together alumni, faculty, and students for events; to make Alumni Weekend more engaging; to encourage regional alumni groups; and to make good use of the "awe-inspiring, remarkable Miller-Ward Alumni House."

"This is right where I want to be," Pennington says, from behind a desk topped with Emory memorabilia and photos of his two young sons. "There is tremendous energy and enthusiasm here. I am amazed at what has occurred at Emory since I graduated. It feels good to be a part of such a great success story. It’s like buying stock that just keeps going up and up in value." –M.J.L.


Shakespeare once wrote of “graves, of worms and epitaphs.”

In the epitaph Benjamin Franklin composed for himself, he stated: “The body . . . lies here, food for worms.’’

But some worms, instead of being agents of mortality, may reveal the secret to extending life.

In a recent study of the nematode worm C. elegans by Emory scientists and collaborators, these long-maligned invertebrates gave researchers clues on how to slow the aging process.

The collaborative research by Douglas C. Wallace, director of the Center for Molecular Medicine at Emory, and scientists from three other institutions revealed that drugs that eliminated oxygen radicals–the toxic byproducts of metabolism–extended the nematodes’ life span by about fifty percent. The scientists also restored a normal life span to mutant worms, which had a defect causing increased oxygen radical production and rapid aging.

Although the drugs used were antioxidants, they were much more powerful than over-the-counter antioxidants such as vitamin E. These synthetic enzymes work by converting oxygen radicals into water, thus “cleaning up” the byproducts that cause cell damage.

By altering the aging process, scientists hope to defer the onset of many age-related disorders such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and diabetes.

next page >>>



© 2001 Emory University