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November 27, 2000

Emory names new trustees, new chair

By Michael Terrazas

Emory filled four of its eight open trustee positions at the Board of Trustees’ Nov. 9 meeting, and with the retirement of Brad Currey after six years as chair, the board also named a new leader in Ben Johnson, an Emory alumnus and managing partner in the Atlanta law firm of Alston & Bird.

“At the heart of a great university is an exciting undergraduate experience,” said Johnson ’65C. “That’s the source of my debt to Emory: an undergraduate experience that stimulated me in the classroom and in a rich array of other activities—musical concerts, political debates, religious programs, residential life, writing for The Wheel, participating in debate tournaments with the Barkley Forum, interaction with faculty outside the classroom—that were just as important as what was experienced in the classroom.”

Johnson, along with John Morgan ’67Ox, ’69B, was moved from his previous status as an alumni trustee to a term position. With four new trustees—Kenneth Carder, Doug Daft, Rhoda Peters and Michael Watson—brought in, the moves now leave four vacancies (two alumni and two term positions) on the 39-seat board.

University Secretary Gary Hauk said Johnson has already appointed a subcommittee to examine the United Methodist Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference’s request that 60 percent of the board members be United Methodist representatives. Two of the new trustees, Carder and Watson, are Methodist bishops, and Hauk said Peters is a prominent Methodist lay leader in Kentucky.

Hauk said Johnson brings a keen understanding of academic affairs to his chairship, having already chaired the board’s committee on academic affairs during his time as alumni trustee.

“His instincts about the life and function of the University are very good,” Hauk said. “He gave some remarks at the [Nov. 8} trustee dinner and talked about the university as ‘a place of unruly paradox’; it is a bastion of tradition, and yet it’s on the cutting edge of new knowledge and challenges tradition in many ways.”

President Bill Chace expressed a similar satisfaction with the new BOT chair. “I envision, with pleasure, a close and very productive working relationship with Mr. Johnson,” Chace said. “I admire his quiet and patient rationality, his love of the academy, his wit and his superb diplomatic skills with one and all.”

For his part, Johnson recognizes the tasks at hand. “Emory has made as much progress in elevating its reputation among the world’s elite research universities as any other institution over the last decade,” Johnson said. “Understanding the strength of our competitors requires us to work even harder to strengthen our resources and work even smarter to maximize the impact of those resources.”

As he retires at age 70 (click here for related story), Currey said the board is left in very good hands. “Ben is a wonderful man,” Currey said of his successor. “His father [Ben Johnson Jr.] was dean of the law school; he literally grew up running around this campus. He loves Emory. I’m awfully pleased to be succeeded by an alumnus, and I’ve very optimistic about the future of Emory and its board and everybody connected with it.”

Kenneth Carder, 60, is resident bishop for the United Methodist Church in the Jackson, Miss., area. He received his bachelor’s in sociology and English from East Tennessee State University in 1962; his master’s of divinity from Wesley Theological Seminary in 1965; and his doctor of ministry degree from Vanderbilt Divinity School in 1980. He also studied at the Candler School of Theology and received clinical pastoral training at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington in 1964.

Doug Daft, 57, was elected CEO of The Coca-Cola Company in February. He is the 11th chairman of Coca-Cola’s board of directors. Daft joined the company in 1969 as planning officer in its Sydney, Australia, office. He spent time working in Coca-Cola’s Far East divisions, working his way up to president of the Middle and Far East Group in 1995. In December 1999 he was named president and chief operating officer. Daft received a bachelor’s in mathematics from the University of New England and a post-graduate degree in business administration from the University of
New South Wales.

Rhoda Peters, 67, is the Kentucky Conference provost for the United Methodist Church and editor-in-chief of the conference newspaper, NetNews. Previously she served as discipleship formation director, director of the Louisville (Ky.) Conference Council on Ministries and as director of programs at St. Paul UMC in Louisville. Peters received her bachelor’s in English from Kentucky Wesleyan College in 1955 and her master’s in speech and theater from Indiana University in 1956.

Michael Watson ’74T, 51, was elected to the episcopacy by the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference earlier this year and was assigned to the South Georgia area. He lives in Macon. Previously he served as pastor of the Dauphin Way UMC in Mobile, Ala., and as founding pastor of Covenant UMC from 1979–90 in his hometown of Dothan, Ala. He received a bachelor’s degree in finance and real estate from the University of Alabama in 1971, his master’s of divinity from Emory’s Candler School of Theology in 1974 and his doctorate of ministry from Vanderbilt in 1975.


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