September 29, 2003

Emeritus College 'Orange Gallery' opens with exhibit

By Elizabeth Cloud

Sept. 25 marked the debut of a unique collaboration of “artists.” Doctors, lawyers, professors, their family members—what otherwise is known as the Emory community—put their artistic skills to use for an exhibit in the new “Orange Gallery” of Emeritus College.

Twenty-five people submitted a total of 50 pieces, including paintings, photographs and sculpture. The so-called Orange Gallery—the name is inspired by the room’s 1970s-style orange chairs—is actually an ongoing exhibit within the Emeritus College’s Briarcliff Campus offices. Eugene Bianchi, director of Emeritus College, redecorated the rooms with hanging boards and orange trim to help make the space more conducive to artwork.

A champagne gala was held last Thursday, Sept. 25, to celebrate the gallery opening, with Emory faculty members providing live music to accompany the event. The 50 pieces displayed during the opening now will rotate throughout the year in the Orange Gallery, 18 at a time.

Giving the Emory community a chance to showcase its creative side is just one of the many opportunities Emeritus College provides. Founded in 2001 with the purpose of enhancing the relationship between the University and its emeritus faculty, the college has made great strides in benefiting Emory’s educational mission as well as the greater welfare of its emeriti and the community as a whole.

“It’s a win-win situation—we don’t want to let these wonderful people wander off when they retire, after spending 30 years at Emory,” Bianchi said. “We want them to continue to be a part of the community, to contribute to the intellectual stimuli of Emory, as well as to continue to have a place here.”

And through the Emeritus College, they certainly do. In the two years since its inception, the college has hosted numerous programs. Ongoing events include monthly breakfasts, lunches, lecture series, retirement seminars and social outings.

Several standing programs—in addition to the Orange Gallery—also are in place, including the Adopt-a-Hall program that gives emeriti the chance to interact with undergrads. With Adopt-a-Hall, emeriti visit residence halls five to six times during the year for conversations over dinner or a “study break” of dessert and coffee. The meetings provide an opportunity for meaningful conversations about life experiences. Student response has been high; some resident advisors say it is their most successful program.

Still in the planning stages is another unique project, the “Living History” interviews. The Emeritus College will record conversations with retired faculty to be put into the library archives. The talks will give the interview-ees a chance not only to reflect on their time at Emory, but also to share the unique and notable experiences of their lives.

Programs like these have proven to be beneficial to senior faculty members and retirees. Of the 260-plus retirees, Bianchi (an emeritus professor himself) estimated that 70–90 actively are involved in Emeritus College, which includes some family members as well.

“When you are involved with a community like Emory for so long,” Bianchi said, “it’s difficult for some to retire and leave that—and it’s hard for Emory, too, to lose these people. What we try to do is cultivate this population, intellectually and socially, so that both benefit.”

The college’s next major event is scheduled for Oct. 9, when emeriti will have the opportunity to meet President Jim Wagner, followed by a tour of the new Candler Library. For more information on this and other upcoming events, visit or call 404-712-8834.