November 27, 2000
Currey retires from BOT helm
By Michael Terrazas firstname.lastname@example.org
Perhaps most surprising about Brad Currey, with what hes meant to Emory over the past 20 years, is what he is notan Emory alumnus.
It was really remarkable, as a graduate of Princeton University
and not an Emory alum, that [Currey] had such an incredible passion for
this university and for striving to make it the best university in the
South, said University Secretary Gary Hauk.
Raised in Chattanooga, Tenn., Currey graduated from Princetons
Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs in 1951. After
military service in Korea, Currey moved to Atlanta to begin a career in
banking. He was president and chief operating officer of Rock-Tenn Co.
in 1980, when then-President James Laney asked if he would consider taking
over the Board of Trustees investment committee.
What made Currey acceptand accept immediately, he said, without
even a night to sleep on itwas his recollection of a story one of
his old Princeton professors told about the South. He said, Well,
Currey, the South will always have an inferiority complex until it develops
some great institutions: a great orchestra, a great university, a great
library, a great museum.
I packed that in the back of my head, Currey continued, and
when Laney made him the offer, he unpacked it. I thought to myself,
By golly, with Mr. Woodruffs money and Jim Laneys leadership,
[the Princeton professor] might be just about right. This is the
time for a great university in the South.
Twenty years later, as he steps down from a six-year tenure as chair
of the Board of Trustees for the institution that stands arguably the
best chance of becomingif it has not already becomethat Great
Southern University, how does he think everyones done?
Splendidly, Currey said. I couldnt be prouder
of what I see out there. [Emory students] go to a great university and
are very fortunate to be a part of it during its better years.
And more than a few people on campus think more than little bit of the
credit for this goes directly to Currey.
Among Mr. Curreys many virtues, said President Bill
Chace in listing why Currey made such a good trustee, I would cite
in particular his warmth, his loyalty, his steadfast integrity, his love
of people and his dedication to the Atlanta community.
Currey defers credit for everything accomplished during his tenure to
the rest of the board and to Chace and the Emory administration. He cited
the quality of people Emory has hired as one of the highlights of the
last six years, along with development and implementation of the Campus
Master Plan. Currey said he believes the concepts embodied in the plan
have ingrained themselves into the Emory consciouness and will persist
even after the people who developed them are long gone.
New BOT chair Ben Johnson knows Curreys is a tough act to follow.
Deep humility, Johnson said, when asked how he feels to be
Curreys successor. It was one of Brads stated goals
to turn Emory leadership back over to its alumni. Every major committee
of the board is now chaired by an alumnus. Im confident we will
try to do our best to be good stewards of this great University we all
owe so much.
I hope it will not sound overly sentimental to say that I have
come to love Brad and [wife] Sally Currey and hope they will be my friends
for the rest of my life, said Bill Fox, vice president for Institutional
Advancement, who worked with Currey to direct the Emory Campaign just
before Currey was named BOT chair in 1994.
Brad Currey took me under his wing and taught me more than I could have ever learned anywhere else, Fox continued. He has the ability to see the broader vision and, at the same time, not forget the details. That is a rare and genuine gift. He is a wise and a good man, and my life has been blessed by our relationship.