February 26, 2001
By Eric Rangus firstname.lastname@example.org
Just as Melanie Murphy is sincerely expressing how much she enjoys her job as office coordinator for information services at the School of Public Health, Big Sister laughs.
Not just a giggle. Not just a chortle. A full-fledged roar. One only
an older sibling needling the baby of the family could provide.
Heres how it went:
I love working here, says Murphy, who is on her second tour
of duty at the University. She worked in pediatrics between 1993 and 1996,
then returned to Emory in 1998 at her current job at the School of Public
I used to make fun of people who were here 10, 20 years,
she continued. But after I came back, I see why people stay. You
really become a family. The learning environment is great, there are so
Okay, Dorothy! Donna Crabb breaks in. As background to this conversation, the faint melody of
Somewhere Over the Rainbow can be heard from Cox Hall bell
tower above them.
Thats the perfect background to what youre saying.
Its all about family and home, and theyreplaying
Somewhere Over the Rainbow, Crabb muses.
Theres no place like home. Theres no place like Emory,
she says in her best Judy Garland voice.
In response, Jennifer CrabbDonnas daughter, a 2000 Emory
College graduate and employee at the Association of Emory Alumnialmost
falls out of her chair, doubled over in laughter. A pretty upbeat person
in general, Jennifer is nearing a coronary at this point.
For those observing the conversation, it is truly a hilarious moment.
It is also a perfect example of the busyness of modern life and that the
struggle to balance work with family time doesnt have to weaken
those family bonds.
Of course, it also helps if the whole family works at the same place.
These are my best friends, Jennifer says. I love my
mom and I love my aunt; I do everything with them.
When she was an Emory student, Jennifer would meet her mom and aunt for
lunch every week. That pattern remained after she was hired. As a girl,
Jennifer, a severe asthmatic, would see Melanie all the time when she
worked in pediatrics.
And the familys relationship with the University runs even deeper
than this trio.
As long as I can remember, from when I was a little girl, I came
to work with my grandmother, Jennifer says. Her grandmother, Ruth
Crabb, worked at Emory Hospital until 1995, when she went on disability.
I came to work with her, and I drew pictures for her. Then my mom
came to work at Emory. And then in 1996, I applied to Oxford College.
She graduated from Oxford in 1998, then moved on to Emory, where she earned
a degree in international affairs with a minor in Japanese studies.
Theres a whole new generation on the way, too. Melanie has two
high-school-age children (16-year-old Derrick and 15-year-old Kimberly),
and Jennifer is mother to 1-year-old Jasmine.
It was Emorys Courtesy Scholarship program that allowed Jennifer
to attend and graduate from the University.
When I came here, I had no intention of staying, Donna says.
Prior to coming to Emory in 1990, she had been working on her own as a
technology specialist. From eighth grade, [Jennifer] was talking
about being a lawyer. So, I thought, Id better stay here.
I dont know how else I couldve given her a $100,000 education.
But its not like Jennifer was forced to matriculate. Oxford was, in fact, the only place she applied.
And she still intends to go to law school. She takes the LSAT this summer
and hopes to enroll in the part-time program at Georgia State (so she
can keep her job) in Fall 2002.
I promised myself that when [Jennifer] graduated, I was going to
walk down the aisle with her and keep on walking, Donna says. But
I started working in employment in 1998, and weve been doing a lot
of great things.
For instance, Donna developed and manages HRs CA$H program, which
pays $250 to Emory employees who refer qualified candidates for open Emory
positions. She also developed HRs current plan for temporary staffing.
In fact, when Melanie returned to Emory for her second tour of duty,
she started in her sisters temporary pool. She began in the Department
of International Health in the School of Public Health, moved over to
the admissions office in the School of Medicine, then went back to public
health in information services, where she lasted two weeks before she
was offered a full-time position.
I pull great-quality people [to fill temp jobs], and offices usually
keep them, laughs Donna, who is four years Murphys senior.
This workalong with four years of experience working in orientation,
meeting nearly every new employee walking through Emorys doorshas
kept Donnas profile rather high on campus.
Since Ive been here, Murphy says, Ive had
so many people call me and say, Can you get my resume to your sister?
Theres so much pressure!
Things may be changing, however. The torch is about to be passed.
Ever since she first came to campus, Donna says, motioning
toward her daughter, shes been known as Donna Crabbs
daughter. We worked the Reconciliation Symposium, and all of a sudden
Im being called Jennifer Crabbs mother.
In less than a year as registrar at the Association of Emory Alumni,
Jennifer is quickly establishing her presence. She sits on the Young Alumni
Committee. She is treasurer of the Caucus of Emory Black Alumni, and she
works to bring the main campus closer together with Oxford.
Her current project is to take Emory sophomores to the Oxford campus
to give its students a scouting report of what to expect when they come
to Atlanta as juniors.
I want to try and bridge the gap and ease the transition.
You should ask her what she wants to be, Donna says. Her
daughter, who has her answer ready before a question can be uttered says:
My ultimate goal is to be the dean of Oxford College.
Shes my friend, Jennifer says. She gave me a holiday card, and she signed it herself. She knows me by name!