November 1, 1999
Volume 52, No. 10
Chace, Maron deliver second annual State of University
Address in Glenn Auditorium
Last year's inaugural State of the University Address, while notable for launching what is sure to become an Emory tradition, had the feel of a class project; it was set in mid-sized, fluorescent-lit lecture hall that absorbed much of the evening's words and song.
This year's edition, however, luxuriated in the space of Glenn Auditorium and had all the trappings of the special night it was, as President Bill Chace and Student Government Association President Matt Maron stood before a few hundred spectators Oct. 25 and delivered the Second Annual State of the University Address.
Broadcast and webcast live via EmoryVision, the evening grounded itself from the beginning with nods to tradition. University Secretary Gary Hauk explained the history and symbolism of the Emory Mace as the Spirit of Emory, William M. Dooley, lurched his way down the aisle. Dooley, who celebrated his 100th birthday, nodded appreciatively at the crowd's rendition of "Happy Birthday."
"This is a wonderful time to take account" of all that's right with Emory, Dooley's spokesperson read. "I invite you to consider what is actualized when the administration and the student body cooperate--this event, the State of the University Address."
A cappella group No Strings Attached delivered Emory's alma mater before the two presidents were introduced. Speaking first, Maron asked for a moment of silence in memory of Vince Currid, the college senior who died Oct. 22 from injuries sustained in a September automobile accident.
"A university is not perfect a place, nor does it attempt to be so, but Emory is an exception," said Maron, who admitted that he has been accused of being too "pro-Emory" but added that his attitude toward the school has been "like a roller coaster" and was solidified by student efforts to improve the University community.
Maron listed several initiatives in which students have played a critical role, including the Campus Master Plan and capital development efforts; the holiday shuttle service to make trips to the airport easier for students during holidays; proposition 10.25, which appropriated more funds for student entertainment events; and the recently installed lights on McDonough Field.
To make the most of the latter, Maron said SGA will continue to lobby for night-time concerts at McDonough, then in the same breath added that students must show more responsibility for their actions if these social events are to happen, or if others are to be reinstated. Traditional events like Bid Day have been taken away, he said, because of a "rash of irresponsible behavior" relating to alcohol and drugs.
"It's time to take a serious look at what is causing Emory students to push the limits," he said. "I'm not here to condemn anyone ... but I want to make sure we provide a proper and efficient mechanism to help people" with drug and/or alcohol problems.
Chace said he would report on the University's health "as your physician reports to you on your bodily health, and I can say Emory is in very, very good shape--it's healthy in every aspect I can think of."
From admissions to faculty recruitment, population diversity to capital construction, Chace said, Emory is enjoying prosperity. The master plan, the new Vaccine Center, Emory's relationship with Grady Hospital and even the Phoenix Plan for fraternities are all solid measures of the University's health.
But all those numerical, economic, even quantitative measures are not sufficient to capture the "state" of the University, any more than strict economic reports from the president of the United States would relate the state of the union. "What would be missing from that State of the Union Address would be, of course, everything--everything that really makes a place strong or leaves it weak, the spirt of the place," Chace said.
That spirit, he continued, is embodied in the 4,800-plus undergraduates on campus. "The life of Emory is defined in large part by your presence," he said. "A citizen is not a resident, a customer or a guest, but a person who by investing personally in a community assumes ownership of it. I ask all of you to assume citizenship of Emory."
In answering questions, both from the crowd and those delivered via LearnLink, Chace had to deal with tough issues right off the bat, first with a question about damage to Lullwater done by runoff from the shuttle road construction, then one concerning the lawsuit filed by former professor Jeffrey Sonnenfeld.
"I want to answer this question in as full a way as I can, but I'm restrained by the nature of the litigation itself," Chace said about the suit that was featured on "60 Minutes" Oct. 10. "I can say that I found Professor Sonnenfeld's behavior deeply disturbing and wholly inappropriate for a tenured faculty member, and the University absolutely stands by its actions. I believe I acted at every step in full accord with both my professional and ethical obligations as president."
Other questions to both presidents concerned Emory's participation in community partnership programs, the availability of kosher food on campus to the University's Jewish population, shuttle service to popular social destinations, college rankings and per-student spending, and using capital projects as an opportunity to teach students about environmental sustainable construction.
To view the event in its entirety, visit EmoryVision at <www.emory.edu/EMORYVISION/>.