Not bad for a first try. By all accounts, the revamped and relocated
Emory Weekend was a rousing success, adding several layers of significance
to what stands to become far and away the most important weekend
of the year at Emory.
Held May 6–10 to coincide for the first time with Commencement
activities, Emory Weekend offered alumni of all ages opportunities
to connect with each other and to reconnect with their alma mater.
From the Thursday golf scramble to the Saturday night Last Call
Soirée, this first iteration of Emory Weekend went more smoothly
than even its planners at the Association for Emory Alumni (AEA)
“I never dreamed that we could do as much as we did, as well
as we did, the first time out. I’m just amazed,” said
Bob Pennington, vice president for alumni affairs and special development
projects. “But for the extraordinary cooperation and assistance
we got from across the Emory community, we could not have pulled
More than 7,000 alumni participated in Emory Weekend events, more
than double the number who typically attended the old Alumni Weekend
in the fall, according to Gerald Lowrey, AEA senior director for
campus relations. More than 2,100 people attended the Saturday afternoon
Indigo Girls concert that followed the Block Party on McDonough
Field, at which some 1,200 guests were served lunch.
When AEA announced its plans to move Alumni Weekend to the same
weekend as Commencement, some were skeptical about the idea, fearing
that all manner of logistical problems would arise from bringing
in large numbers of alumni on the same weekend when the campus already
is crowded with family and friends of Emory graduates.
But those problems never materialized, Lowrey said. The traffic
and shuttle-bus arrangements worked well, there were enough hotel
rooms, and there were plenty of seats at Monday’s Commencement
for those alums who stuck around.
“We didn’t detract from the graduates’ experience
but rather enhanced it by allowing alumni to celebrate their accomplishments
and welcome them into the [AEA],” said Lowrey, ’81PhD.
Indeed, both Lowrey and Pennington said one of the highlights was
the Last Call Soirée at the Emory Conference Center, attended
by about 1,200 alumni, graduates and their families, faculty, and
“Since my first association with Emory in 1972, I’ve
never seen such a composite of the Emory community at one event,”
said Pennington, ’74Ox, ’76C, ’81L, ’81MBA.
The folks at AEA were not the only ones pleased with Emory Weekend.
Pennington said he has received nearly a hundred letters and e-mails
from alumni extending their thanks and praising the events, specifically
from those alumni from the Class of 1954 and earlier, who together
were inducted in the new “Corpus Cordis Aureum” and,
clad in golden robes, led the Class of 2004 onto the Quadrangle
“Being honored so royally during Emory Weekend and the Commencement
ceremonies ranks among the highest highlights of my 75 years,”
wrote Edwin Davis, ’54T, a retired colonel and chaplain for
the U.S. Air Force.
“I and my classmates loved every minute of the celebration,”
wrote Betty Marie Stewart, ’52N. “We felt so appreciated.
In fact, one student thanked me for ‘paving the way.’
I felt humbled, yet proud to have been a part of the excellence
that is Emory.”