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May 28, 2002

Leadership natural for Manasco

By Eric Rangus

Less than two weeks into her senior year—one in which she was to serve as president of the Student Government Association—Anna Manasco stood on the front steps of Candler Library. More than 2,000 pairs of eyes stared back seeking some sort of comfort.

It was Wednesday night, Sept. 12.

“Strengthened by each other, refreshed by our togetherness, we gather here tonight to do our little to expunge intolerance, divisiveness and hatred from the human race and the world,” Manasco said, calmly. While Manasco’s words mentioned doing just a little—to the thousands of faculty, staff and students gathered—her composed presence meant a lot.

Manasco stood center stage not only at the Quadrangle’s candlelight vigil the night following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, but appeared at several other campuswide events designed to ease the pain of the Emory community. In between, she managed the SGA’s 14-member executive board, which organized many of those events, often with only a few hours of planning.

The office of SGA president requires a multitude of leadership skills, and from practically the moment Manasco took the title, she was tested in ways perhaps no other Emory student leader had been before. That she passed every test was a testament to her talent and helped make her a worthy recipient of the 2002 Lucius Lamar McMullan Award.

The McMullan award is given each year to a graduating senior who exhibits “outstanding citizenship, exceptional leadership and potential for service to his or her community, the nation and the world.”

“Dealing with the commitments I made, not only to myself but to other people, was definitely complicated but it was an incredible learning experience,” Manasco said. “The crisis management aspect [of this year] was unlike any experience I’ll ever have—for better or worse.”

A political science major who wrote her honors thesis on representations of women in state legislatures, Manasco plans to use the $20,000 grant that accompanies the award to finance graduate work at Oxford College in England.

Throughout her college career, Manasco was no stranger to leadership. Not only did she lead SGA, but she also was president of her sorority, Kappa Kappa Gamma, which won the Emory Dean’s Cup for Fraternal Excellence (the University’s highest Greek honor).

She served as a member of the student concerns committee for the President’s Commission on the Status of Women, was a member of the Barkley Forum debate society and was a FAME student leader. Manasco also belongs to a half-dozen academic honor societies.

“I had a once-in-a-lifetime chance to experience what Emory has to offer and dabble in a lot of different things,” Manasco said. “I took it knowing the risks that were involved and definitely would make the same decision all over again.”

She plans to travel this summer, as well as spend time at home in Montgomery, Ala., where she volunteers with Alabama Girls State, a mock government program for teenage girls.