Emory has always taken pride in recognizing its graduates who go on to become renowned leaders in their disciplines and their communities. Recognizing that kind of leadership potential early on, however, is a lot tougher to get a handle on.
William L. Matheson, a 1943 graduate of Emory College, is aiming to make that goal more attainable with his endowment of the Lucius Lamar McMullan Award, named for Matheson's uncle. Matheson, who is now retired, had a career in corporate law and in private practice.
To be given for the first time this year, the McMullan Award will recognize a graduating senior in Emory College who demonstrates outstanding citizenship and exceptional leadership. Each year the dean and faculty of the College will submit student nominations on the basis of citizenship, leadership and potential for service to his or her community, the nation and the world. The award will be given each year at the Emory College diploma ceremony, which immediately follows the central University commencement ceremony.
What Matheson hopes to do in creating the award, according to Associate Dean of the College Peter Dowell, is recognize the kind of potential in students that could lead them to become "a presidential candidate or discover a cure for AIDS or write the great American novel."
"A selection committee will choose the nominee who most closely embodies the qualities honored by the award," said Dowell, "and we will arrange for each year's recipient to meet and correspond with Mr. Matheson."
Dowell said the committee will be comprised of 12-15 College faculty members and senior administrators. "The committee," Dowell explained, "will be looking at the nominees in terms of their academic performance, service to Emory and to the larger community and what other Emory community members, through their letters of nomination, see as what makes a particular nominee unique or special, what makes that person stand out."
To many students, what will make the McMullan Award stand out is the $20,000 gift that accompanies the award, given at graduation to be used for the purpose of the recipient's choosing.
"By introducing the Lucius Lamar McMullan Award with an annual gift of $20,000 and providing for its endowment," Dowell said, "Mr. Matheson will meaningfully honor the memory of an uncle who played an important role in his life and reward Emory College graduates who are destined to be our future leaders."