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.
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. "Im now
being paid to do something I love dearly."
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.
loves Emory. Thats 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 thats
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."
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
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
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 alumnian experience
that continues to shape his views.
common perception by alumni was that the only time they heard
from Emory was with outstretched palm," Pennington says.
"Its 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 its doing, not because
theyve been beaten into submission."
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.
twenty years in commercial real estate law representing institutions,
corporations, and high-net-worth clients, the last decade
a partner at King & Spalding, Pennington says he believes
in setting goals and achieving them. Hes already set several
for alumni affairs: to develop more "affinity and identity
among Emorys 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."
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. Its
like buying stock that just keeps going up and up in value."