May 27, 2003

Schools honor their own at ceremonies

From staff reports

Following the University’s main Commencement on the Quadrangle, each of Emory’s individual schools held diploma ceremonies across campus. Following are highlights from each:
Emory College
“We are bound to the people who have attended Emory in a way I find impossible to articulate,” said senior class orator Anton DiSclafani during her speech at the Emory College graduation on the Quad.“Emory became my home, and how can we ever describe our homes?”

Through her studies, DiSclafani said she has learned that stories “exist past a person” and that as people share stories, their stories become each other’s. It is through this oral tradition or other methods of interpretation that graduates will forever be linked to Emory.

“We choose which stories to tell—this much is clear, this much is certain—just as we choose whom we will tell, and in what tone of voice. And we choose what stories to live, and we choose what stories to pass on, and in this way, we remember. In this way we are remembered,” DiSclafani told her fellow 1,780 graduates.

“This is the most alarming class we’ve ever had,” quipped MBA Program Director Kembrel Jones during the Goizueta Business School diploma ceremony. A false fire alarm in the P.E. Center blared for several minutes during the awarding of full-time MBA degrees, and when it was quieted the audience let loose with a loud ovation.

The business school awarded 605 degrees (256 BBA, 222 full-time MBA, 65 Evening MBA and 62 Executive MBA degrees).

This year’s full-time MBA class is notable in that its members gave Emory the largest class gift in the University’s history: $122,000 to endow a nonprofit internship.

Graduate school
Cathy Caruth, Winship Distinguished Research Professor of Comparative Literature, spoke to the Class of 2003’s newly minted master’s and PhD holders at the Graduate School of Arts and Science’s ceremony, held in the Glenn Church School Amphitheater.

“As we emerge as teachers in an era of trauma, it is perhaps our responsibility as teachers to teach others and ourselves to listen to those voices that cannot be heard—not only the voices that attempt to speak through the silences in our past histories, but also the voices that, in our current political climate, are increasingly suppressed and silenced,” Caruth told the graduates. “The capacity to listen, as teachers, may also be what Noam Chomsky calls the crucial ‘responsibility of the intellectual,’ the responsibility ‘not only to observe, but to see,’ to see beyond the fictions of our political actions in the world and to strive to reach out to the questions of our ungrasped histories that lie behind them.

“To teach how to see in this way—which is also to teach how to learn—may also be our most difficult and challenging task,” she said.

Some 204 members of the School of Law’s Class of 2003 received their JD diplomas and hoods at a ceremony on the front lawn of Gambrell Hall. Jonas Robitscher Professor of Law John Witte, voted by the class as outstanding professor, addressed the assembled, as did Jeffrey Silver, who was voted outstanding student.

Dean Tom Arthur recognized two students who had returned from the war in Iraq: Josiah Bancroft, who will graduate in 2004, and 2003 class member Joe Benz. Despite being stationed in Kuwait during the war, Benz downloaded his class work and completed his courses in time to graduate. He returned to Atlanta from Kuwait only the previous day and attended the ceremonies with his family.

Both Michael Johns, executive vice president for health affairs, and keynote speaker Haile Debas advised the 2003 graduates of the School of Medicine that they were becoming doctors at the dawn of a new era.

“Every day we can do so much more for our patients, for our science and for our society,” Johns told the crowd in Glenn Auditorium. “You have the opportunity to be pioneers, to be trailblazers, and now you have the tools and training to make important contributions.”
Debas, dean of medicine, vice chancellor for medical affairs and Maurice Galante Distinguished Professor of Surgery at the University of California-San Francisco, said he was honored to be invited to speak.

“It’s awe-inspiring to be in Atlanta, the birthplace of Martin Luther King Jr. and of the civil rights movement—perhaps I would not be delivering this address if not for those two things,” Debas said.

Standing on a podium in the courtyard of the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, speaker Mary Wakefield declared the crowd’s excitement palpable.

“Are you sure you want to graduate?” she asked the graduates, who included 59 bachelor’s, 76 master’s degree graduates, one master’s of nursing/ public health dual degree recipient and the first-ever nursing PhD graduate.

Wakefield is director and professor of the Center for Rural Health at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine. Her career has spanned a long and diverse path, including significant work with governmental health care iniatives and policymaking issues.

Today’s nurses must be about the business of change, as society requires health care professionals to provide new levels of care to the changing societal makeup of patients, Wakefield said.

Longer life spans, complicated insurance issues and changing technology are just some of the elements shaping the nursing professions.

“If all were well in this world, you could be getting jobs at Toys ‘R’ Us or I’d be going fishing,” Wakefield said. “But all is not well.”

Public health

With Dean Jim Curran temporarily indisposed as he watched his daughter graduate from Emory College, Executive Associate Dean Richard Levinson presided over the
first half of the Rollins School of Public Health’s diploma ceremony.

Representing the Class of 2003, Rebecca Vander Meulen advised her fellow graduates to “take delight in a journey of small steps” as they enter the world of public health.

“Whether our goal is to educate, analyze or treat, if we don’t listen, we won’t
succeed,” she said.

Keynote speaker Allan Rosenfield, DeLamar Professor of Public Health and dean of the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, said that, in the wake of 9/11, public health is gaining a higher profile, but he called for a stronger national infrastructure to respond to public health threats. Rosenfield also spoke of public health problems in the United States caused by lack of health insurance.

“It is unacceptable if not immoral that some 41 million people are uninsured in this country,”he said. “We cannot and must not accept the inequities between rich
and poor at home and abroad in regards to access [to health care].”

The theology school’s diploma ceremony in Glenn Auditorium may have begun an hour late, but the tardiness (because of the length of the medical school ceremony) did nothing to dampen the excitement and joy.

Most appropriately, the congregational hymn chosen for the occasion was “This Is a Day of New Beginnings,” written by professor of music emeritus and honorary degree recipient Carlton “Sam” Young.

Steve Kraftchick, Candler’s associate dean for academic affairs, delivered the keynote address and encouraged the graduates to take an active role in their communities: “With the privilege of learning comes the responsibility of service, and the success of your time here at Candler will not be measured by what you have done but by what you do with what you have acquired.”