The 12th annual Pride banquet, scheduled for Thursday, March
18, at Miller-Ward Alumni House, will feature a keynote address
by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Margaret Edson.
Tickets for Emory faculty and staff are $20 in advance; student tickets are $10
and all can be purchased at the Dobbs Center ticket counter. If available, tickets
will be $25 ($15 for students) at the door.
Edson’s appearance was lined up by Doug Lothes, chair of the Pride banquet
subcommittee of the President’s Commission on the Status of LGBT Concerns,
which sponsors the event.
“I just asked her,” said Lothes, administrative assistant in University
Development. Lothes and Edson are friends from All Saints Episcopal Church. When
she asked what she should talk about, Lothes’ reply was simple.
“Anything you want to talk about, I’m sure we’ll want to hear
it,” Lothes said, relating his response. “She has curtailed talking
about her play, but I think part of the appeal of the Pride banquet for her is
that she hasn’t had a lot of opportunities to talk to a gay audience.” Edson
is a lesbian; she and her partner are parents of two children.
Edson has kept a low profile since winning the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for Drama
for her play Wit. She is a kindergarten teacher at John Hope Elementary School
in Atlanta, and her public-speaking engagements have been minimal in the past
Edson is no stranger to the Emory community, however. She delivered the Commencement
address to the Oxford College Class of 2002.
A 1983 magna cum laude graduate of Smith College, Edson studied
Renaissance history. She earned a master’s in English from Georgetown University in 1992. Prior
to starting her teaching career, Edson held a variety of jobs including waitressing
at a hog-farmer’s bar, working at a bike shop and as a clerk on the
cancer and AIDS research unit of a Washington-area hospital.
The Pride banquet will begin with a beer/wine/soda reception at 6:30 p.m., followed
by a buffet dinner at 7 p.m. LGBT Chair Jeff Martin will deliver a brief report
on the accomplishments of the commission over the past year as well as introduce
President Jim Wagner, who is attending his first banquet. After the introduction,
Edson will take the podium.
“This is a good chance for the commission to get together on a social level
as well as relate to a wider audience what we have accomplished on the year,” said
Martin, manager of meeting services.
The banquet, which is open to the entire Emory community, often is small (Martin
said he hopes for 50 attendees; current ticket sales has the commission about
two-thirds of the way there), but the presence of Wagner and Edson could increase
“I think President Wagner being there is important,” Martin said. “He
gets to hear what we’ve done first hand rather than in an e-mail
or year-end report.”
Those accomplishments are wide-ranging. For instance, the commission has
sponsored events such as an HR meeting on domestic-partner benefits and
an event at Oxford on gays in the military.
For more information about the Pride banquet, contact Lothes at firstname.lastname@example.org.