Building for the Future:
Walker Ray 62C 65M, president, Emory Alumni Board
Walker Ray 65M is every child’s dream doctor. A solo pediatrician in Tucker, Georgia, for more than thirty years, Ray is kind, cheerful, reassuring, and actually has a twinkle in his eye. His practice provides care to some three to four thousand young patients each year.
Ray also is no stranger to the title “president.” He has held the top post in organizations including the Medical Association of Georgia (MAG), the DeKalb Medical Society, and the Emory Medical Alumni Association. This year he brings his talents both as a caregiver and a leader to the Emory Alumni Board, the advisory board to the newly rechristened Emory Alumni Association (EAA).
“I’m very happy and pleased to be in this position and be able to contribute along with so many others,” Ray says. “When you are associated with something of value, it’s wonderful to be a part of it. There is a sense that we are building something special now.”
Ray has been actively involved with the Alumni Association for years, but says he was drawn to the leadership position because of the inspiring growth and change taking place at the University.
“I have observed Emory closely my entire life,” Ray says. “The University was somewhat insular in the past, but there has been a paradigm shift in the last few years to a new understanding that we need to be service oriented. There is a public good that private institutions need to serve.”
Ray’s specific goals for the board this year are to support the implementation of the University strategic plan, to increase interaction between alumni and faculty, and to encourage alumni to be more active in the life of the University by boosting their presence on campus.
Ray also has remained involved with the School of Medicine and is the longest-serving alumni member of the Medical School Admissions Committee. He joined when his children—Anne, Sarah, and Molly—were in high school and college and had friends who were considering medical school. Ray found himself a kind of kitchen-table career counselor, so he became interested in the admission process and joined the committee. Although he is not involved in final decisions, he interviews students and makes recommendations.
“These people are young, motivated, idealistic, and eager to serve,” he says. “Every time I do it, it recharges my batteries.”
Ray is a member of the Alpha Omega Honor Medical Society and the 2003 recipient of the MAG Distinguished Service Award. His numerous professional and philanthropic affiliations include serving on the Board of Trustees for Egleston Children’s Hospital and Emory Medicine Alumni, as chair of the medical staff of Egleston and the Department of Pediatrics of DeKalb Medical Center, and as vice president of the board of the Physicians Foundation for Health Systems Innovations.
The mission of the Emory Alumni Board is to provide a representative alumni body that will advise the Alumni Association and facilitate the successful advancement of their mission, and to actively engage the EAA staff, President Jim Wagner, and the Board of Trustees in the fulfillment of the University’s broad vision.
“Everybody is so nurturing, collaborative, and cooperative,” Ray says of the alumni board. “It’s just a joy and a wonder to be able to work in such an environment.”—P.P.P.