Inauguration Week Preview

Oxford celebration kicks off Inauguration Week

By Eric Rangus

Emory University got its start at a small, rural campus in Oxford, Ga. So, it only makes sense that the Inauguration of Jim Wagner as Emory’s 19th president should start at that same small, rural campus as well.

“A Celebration of Emory’s Heritage and Tradition” is the title of Oxford College’s contribution to the week’s worth of activity that wraps up with Wagner’s inauguration ceremony, April 2. Scheduled for 5 p.m. on Monday, March 29, the celebration is the first of many campuswide activities geared to bring the entire Emory community together to commemorate the official installation of the University’s new

“This is the birthplace of Emory, and its oldest buildings and possessions are here,” said Clark Lemons, professor of English at Oxford and chair of the celebration’s planning committee. The school that became Emory University was chartered at Oxford in 1836. The move to Atlanta didn’t take place until 1915.

“It makes sense to revisit the University’s roots,” Lemons said. “I think the purpose is to introduce President Wagner to Old Emory—the traditions and historical artifacts that were here prior to the move to Atlanta.”

Movement, with the soon-to-be-inaugurated president at the front of the crowd, will be an integral part of the celebration. Rather than a static ceremony under a Quadrangle tent, the Oxford celebration instead will be a tour of the roots Lemons spoke about.
Led by student guides, the ceremony will begin at the Few Monument outside Seney Hall, move first to the Chapel, then to Phi Gamma Hall, Hopkins Hall, Seney Hall, then back to the Few Monument. At each building a student will deliver a reading. “The buildings are symbolic of the things we want to say about Emory’s heritage,” Lemons said.

The campus tour format is similar to Oxford’s 1995 ceremony to honor the inauguration of Emory’s 18th president Bill Chace, but there have been some new additions.

On the steps of Phi Gamma Hall, the Oxford Chorale will perform “Now Is the Time,” an original hymn written by Oxford Associate Professor of History David Leinweber. The ceremony also will feature the first appearance of the inaugural torch (see story). After it’s lit, the flame will be safeguarded on campus before a relay carries it to Atlanta, Thursday, April 1.

Once the ceremony is completed, the Seney Hall bell will toll 19 times, then all guests will be invited to a reception in Candler Hall. The event is free and open to the