April 28, 2003

Danny Glover to star in Class Day

By Beverly Clark

A new tradition for Emory graduating seniors kicks off Thursday, May 8, with the first-ever Class Day celebration, featuring actor and activist Danny Glover as Class Day speaker.

Glover will hold an open conversation with theater actor and collaborator Felix Justice from 5–6:30 p.m. in the P.E. Center. The event is open to graduating seniors and by written invitation; tickets are not required.

Glover’s remarks will inaugurate Class Day at Emory, an event students and administrators developed together to give undergraduates their own tradition and the opportunity to hear from a well-known speaker of their choice. The main Commencement ceremonies, to be held Monday, May 12, will feature a keynote address by Nobel Prize-winning Irish poet Seamus Heaney.

“This year’s Class Day, created as a way to honor and celebrate the senior class, is the beginning of a positive tradition for the Emory community,” said President Bill Chace.

The first Boisfeuillet Jones Medals also will be given during Class Day ceremonies to three seniors who exemplify the attributes of one of Emory’s most distinguished graduates. Recipients are selected for their good citizenship, outstanding leadership, devoted service to Emory and the community, academic performance, and potential to effect positive change in their chosen profession and society at large.

The first recipients of the award are:

• Purvi Patel, an Emory College senior majoring in international studies and women’s studies, who was in the first class of Kenneth Cole Fellows for Community Building and Social Change and served as president of the College Council during 2002–03.

• Rachel Shaw, a Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing senior and outgoing president of the Emory International Student Nursing Association, who was one of the first two Emory students to participate in an academic exchange with the Yonsei University College of Nursing in South Korea.

• Victor Delgadillo, a Goizueta Business School senior who is outgoing president of undergraduate student government at Goizueta, founder of the school’s pre-BBA mentor program and one of the founders of the undergraduate Latin American Business Club.

Class Day is the first of three events for seniors held on the Thursday before Commencement.

At the Emory Senior Class Reception from 7–8:30 p.m. at the Emory Conference Center Hotel, seniors will offer the traditional Coca-Cola toast. They will then make a ceremonial candlelight walk across the Houston Mill Road pedestrian bridge to Miller-Ward Alumni House for desserts and entertainment.

“This is an opportunity for the seniors to get together one last time before graduation to reflect on their years at Emory and leave on a positive note,” said senior Christopher Richardson, former president of the Student Government Association who helped spearhead the effort to create the new event. “We think we’ve laid the foundation for a great tradition by picking as our first class speaker Danny Glover, who is both well-known and should give our class some inspiring words of wisdom before we graduate.”

Glover is known for his work in Hollywood blockbusters and dramatic films, as well as his community service work, having served as the first Goodwill Ambassador to the United Nations’ Development Program, among other activities. Glover made his film debut in Escape From Alcatraz (1979) and became well known in the 1980s for his roles in The Color Purple (1984) and the Lethal Weapon film series co-starring Mel Gibson. He also has played starring roles in television films such as Mandela (1987). More recently, Glover was seen in Good Fences (2003) and The Royal Tenenbaums (2001).