February 16, 2004

Inauguration torch relay seeks volunteers

By Michael Terrazas

Emory is looking for a few good runners--or walkers, amblers, strollers or even wheelers--to help complete the home stretch of the planned Inauguration Torch Relay, scheduled for April 1-2.

On the morning of Thursday, April 1, a succession of runners will carry the "Inaugural Flame" from the Oxford campus--where the flame will be officially lit in a ceremony on Monday, March 29--to the Atlanta campus. According to University Secretary Gary Hauk, chair of the Inauguration Planning Committee, the 40-mile trek will be made by strong, experienced runners and should arrive in Emory Village late Thursday afternoon.

At that point, however, the torch will be passed to runners of all ages, abilities and affiliations, from students to alumni. The relay will wind through the Emory campus until it reaches Miller-Ward Alumni House, where the flame will be kept overnight until another group of runners carries it to the Quadrangle for the main Inauguration Ceremony, set for 2 p.m., April 2. The committee is looking for roughly 50 volunteers to complete the day-ending relay on Thursday and the final leg on Friday.

"We're looking for people interested in helping move the torch at any speed," Hauk said, adding that differently abled people (the wheelchair-bound, for example) are not only welcome but encouraged to volunteer.

Participants will be randomly chosen from the group of volunteers, and each individual will carry the torch approximately 200 yards, Hauk said. Anyone interested in volunteering should e-mail Hauk directly at ghauk@emory.edu.

The relay is being coordinated by alumnus Kirk Larson ('73C), husband of Susan Gantt, assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences. Larson has been a competitive runner for nearly 30 years and runs for the Atlanta Track Club's Masters Competitive Team. He is working with Gary Jenkins, publisher of Georgia Runner magazine, to recruit runners and coordinate with local juris dictions through which the relay will pass.

Volunteers also are sought for other Inauguration activites, such as serving as ushers at various events or chaperoning VIPs during Inauguration Week. Interested individuals should contact Tricia Stultz at 404-727-6022 or pstultz@emory.edu.