Emory Report

May 18, 1998

 Volume 50, No. 32

Diploma ceremonies usher
graduates into their new lives

With its stately trees at their lushest green, more than 250 sophomores clad in bright blue robes marched onto Oxford College's Quadrangle, Saturday, May 9, to receive associate's degrees and complete the first leg of their undergraduate educations.

Oxford Dean Bill Murdy recalled former Dean Virgil Eady's words to a prior generation of graduates: "You will be tomorrow what you are today becoming. . . .Things don't just happen, you must make them happen."

Emory Board of Trustees Chairman Brad Currey gave the commencement address, in which he praised Murdy and told the graduates, "When you think of Oxford, think of Bill Murdy. When you get to 'big' Emory, think about all the good attributes of Oxford and help us make Emory in Atlanta the kind of place that you have experienced here."

Also on Saturday, the Goizueta Business School held its annual awards ceremony for which the speaker was Michael Lustig, '92EMBA, president of Profit Recovery Group International. "One of the most difficult challenges is balancing the short-term demands of Wall Street with your long-term strategy," he told the graduates. "As leaders, you'll have to master this."

Steven Sanderson, dean of Emory College, presided over his first diploma ceremony since coming to Emory last summer and spoke eloquently to graduates about the college's lasting impression on them and they on it. "You are inside Emory. In the air, in the buildings, in the stories of this place and in the memories," he said. "I am here to send you away with your diploma, a passport to another world. Rise to the adventure that lies ahead. Answer the call."

Candler School Dean Kevin LaGree presided over his school's diploma service. He had been given a good deal of advice about what to say, he said, including suggestions on the form and structure of his remarks. He settled on using exhortation as a form and had two exhortations for this year's graduates. "First, don't do anything stupid. That wisdom has served me well, and I pass it along to you. When you're tempted to do something impulsive, remember this exhortation." Secondly, he told them, "Be the person God created you to be. You will continue to be pressed to be something else, and the allure to have someone else's spiritual experiences will be tempting."

Jim Curran, dean of the Rollins School of Public Health, welcomed the school's 287 graduates and their families to Emory's "most casual of all diploma ceremonies." Kathleen Toomey, director of the Georgia Division of Public Health was this year's speaker. Many problems are beyond the scope of the public health field, she said. Toomey cited one survey that noted "one season of [the television drama] ER has a bigger budget than most hospitals that serve the poor." "You are teachers of public health, and each of you can make a difference," she said.

Further down Clifton Road on the lawn of Gambrell Hall, some 240 Emory law school graduates listened to Judge Phyllis Kravitch of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, who also received an honorary degree at the morning's main ceremony. It is "an exciting time to be entering the legal profession," Kravitch said, reminding graduates that at the eve of a new century they are like their American counterparts on the brink of the 19th and 20th centuries, who could "hardly have imagined the scope of changes" their respective centuries would bring.

National Cancer Institute Director Richard Klausner spoke to freshly minted MDs at the School of Medicine diploma ceremony in Glenn Auditorium. "Do not have more answers than you know to be true," he admonished. "Much of what you'll be doing in medicine is shrouded in uncertainty. Don't fool yourself into thinking that all responses should be answers." He urged the young doctors to be scientific in their approach to healing. "It is not perfection the scientific pose demands, but perspective."

-Compiled by Stacey Jones with reporting from Scott Barker, Jim Elliot, Jan Gleason and Elaine Justice

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