`The work still before us':
President Chace looks beyond the Emory Campaign

The successful conclusion of the Emory Campaign represents far more than achieving the numerical goal announced five years ago. That achievement itself is, of course, enormously gratifying. Few universities ever have raised $400 million, and the "topping out" of this project at a grand total of $419 million is a feat in which alumni, faculty, staff, students and our many, many friends can take justifiable pride. As significant as this milestone is, however, the road to it has traversed a landscape filled with important reasons to pause, give thanks and reflect on the road ahead.

The Emory Campaign is remarkable, though not unique, in the leadership changes that have occurred at the University since the campaign was launched. Despite transitions in the positions of board chairman, president and vice president for institutional advancement, the campaign never once missed a beat. Its spectacular success is clearly a tribute to the dedication and effectiveness of our campaign volunteers and the loyalty of Emory alumni. If there is any lesson about the future of Emory that we can draw with certainty from the campaign, it is this: the support of these volunteers and alumni--essential for the last five years--has prepared us as never before to move confidently forward. We will continue to rely on the commitment and leadership that we have seen grow up around us.

The second lesson to draw from the campaign is that institutional priorities, while generally constant, do shift in the face of success. Any university will always require more of some things; but an ambitious university will require also those things that will make it distinctive.

When the University Priorities Committee submitted its recommendations for the campaign to the administration and the Board of Trustees in 1989, the list of priorities was long, but coherent and relatively simple. The committee called for increased endowment to support faculty chairs and scholarships, capital to build research and teaching facilities, and funding to underwrite bold strides into new arenas of library development and information technology. These priorities were unexceptional and would find a place on any school's wish list. To a large extent we have met these priorities through the campaign. Insofar as they are priorities still before us--insofar as we remain committed to reaching the as yet unreached goal of new facilities for our arts departments, for physical sciences, and for medical education--the work of the next few years looms clearly before us.

In another sense, the success of the campaign has made the work of the next decade more complex. For the campaign has made it possible for Emory to continue probing the limits of what new character a major university should assume at the turn of the millennium. The years since the beginning of the campaign have been years of intellectual ferment and growth on campus: years in which friends helped us to conceive new academic programs undreamed of in 1989 (for instance, the Emerson Center for Scientific Computation made possible by alumnus Cherry L. Emerson); years in which new configurations of strength suggested different opportunities than those we imagined five years ago (for instance, the A. Worley Brown Fellowships in Southern studies made possible by the Rock-Tenn Company and others); and years in which satisfying certain basic needs on campus (for instance, renovating our older residence halls) has allowed us to turn to fulfilling our higher wants and dreams (for instance, wiring all the residence halls for online computer networking as we renovated them).

There is still much we can do to build our faculty, enhance our curriculum, complete the construction of the campus and maintain our edge in recruiting the best students for an affordable education. But our real work now lies in rising to the challenges that have been laid out in Provost Billy Frye's Choices & Responsibility and in the responses that that powerful document has engendered.

This moment in Emory's history presents us with unusual opportunities that will make unusual demands on the University, to see whether our institutional life can match our own high aspirations. We need to shore up our infrastructure still more, to establish the "jumping-off" spot for our pioneering forays. We need to forge better, stronger links with external constituencies, to nourish the understanding suppport that has brought us this far. We need to emphasize the symbiosis of teaching and research, to continue the Emory legacy of strong scholarship in all its dimensions. We need to encourage interdisciplinary research, to make possible discoveries at the boundaries of knowledge that will prove vital to the future. And we need to attend to the bonds of our campus community, to demonstrate that the good and the excellent are not necessarily inimical -- they can flourish together.

All of this is no small task. But it is one worthy of Emory and of us all. It will require as much financial and budgetary flexibility as we can muster, commensurate with the institutional suppleness that we have as a relatively young research university. This year the Program and Budget Committee of the central administration is looking for effective ways to assure that flexibility--by engaging broader segments of the University earlier in the budget-making process, and by trying to think creatively about the use of all our resources, including a more powerful deployment of our endowment.

We have barely closed the books on the Emory Campaign, yet already we are looking for substantive ways to engage you in Emory's new agenda. Here, then, is my personal invitation to you to help us move on with vigor, imagination and hope. We still have much work to do.

William M. Chace is president of Emory University.