May 24, 2004

Schools follow main event with their own


From staff reports

Following are snapshots of the various school ceremonies that followed Emory’s main Commencement exercises.


Inspired by the words of poet Mary Oliver, senior class orator Louis Graff told his 1,754 fellow graduates that they all have the inner drive to connect with this world, rather than just live in it.

“We all just go about it in different ways, some more beneficial than others,” he said. “One thing unites all of us though, and that is the fact that during this journey to connect we have had the privilege to begin an education, and with this education we have the responsibility and the power to both live our journey and add to the journey of others, with only our own intellect, ingenuity, and compassion as our tools.”
He emphasized to his classmates that it is essential to constantly give back to their communities, nations and beyond. “Within us all, graduates, is potential—limitless potential to connect with this world,” he said.

“I apologize for the lifetime you will spend teaching people how to pronounce of the name of the business school you attended,” quipped Goizueta Business School Dean Tom Robertson in addressing the graduating class of 2004. Robertson was quoting the school’s namesake, former Coca-Cola CEO Roberto Goizueta.

Amanda Bessemer, secretary of the Alumni Association Board, gave a brief welcome to the Alumni Association.

The business school awarded 520 degrees: 224 BBAs, 174 full-time MBAs, 48 Evening MBAs, 20 Modular MBAs, and 54 Weekend Executive MBA degrees.


Saying he understood that, regarding graduation addresses, it was “paramount to be brief,” graduate school interim Dean Bryan Noe kept his remarks concise. Noe reflected on the words spoken to all graduates, that conferral of a degree carries with it all “honors, rights, privileges and responsibilities thereto.”

“My own Ph.D. adviser told me, ‘Many times you will believe the responsibilities greatly outweigh the honors and privileges—boy, was he right,” Noe said. “Irrespective of your career choice, I challenge you to be responsible citizens; you have a responsibility to make positive contributions, whether to your field of endeavor or to society in general.”

In total, the school honored 107 master’s recipients and 164 Ph.D. recipients.

Gwen Keyes, ’93L and president of the Emory Law Alumni Association, told this year’s law graduates that their degrees would open many doors for them. “Make sure,” she said, “that you open the door a little wider for those who come after you.”

Professor Robert Schapiro received the Ben F. Johnson Faculty Award for teaching and service, given once every three years and named after the former law dean and father of current Board of Trustees Chair Ben Johnson. Professor Frank Alexander received the school’s Outstanding Professor Award, his first.

Michael Johns, executive vice president for health affairs, told the class of 2004, “You are among the luckiest people in the world. You are becoming doctors in the dawn of a new era, one in which exciting new technologies will play an increasingly important role and give you the opportunity to be a pioneers and trailblazers in your fields.”

Keynote speaker James Gavin, president of the Morehouse School of Medicine, delivered an entertaining and thought-provoking address. Gavin told the graduates, “You will be among the architects who must lead our commitment to improving the health and functioning of our society.”

“At some point, probably when you saw the program, you would start wondering, ‘Who is this guy and why should we listen to him?’ How could you not? It is the question I would ask,” said Associate Professor of Religion Steve Kraftchick during his address to the Nursing School graduates. “I understand your point of view; I share it. Not knowing who I am, why would you trust that anything I could suggest might be helpful?”

It is precisely that reason—that leap of faith—which Kraftchick said connected him to the group, which included 72 undergraduates and 69 graduate students, including three doctoral recipients. Gaining someone’s trust is something nurses have to do everyday on the job, Kraftchick said.

With its diploma ceremony, the Rollins School of Public Health not only recognized the Class of 2004, but it also fulfilled its prime function of public health intervention by placing packets of sunblock and tubes of lip balm on each spectator seat. “You can know that you are preventing skin cancer while watching your friends and relatives graduate,” said Dean Jim Curran.

The school handed out 304 degrees including 22 dual degrees. Included among the graduates was Michelle Lee Esterberg, the school’s 3,000th graduate since its launch in 1990.

Commencement speaker Deborah Prothrow-Stith, associate dean for faculty development at the Harvard School of Public Health, stressed to graduates the importance teamwork with government, business and other areas of health care. “No matter how well we know that we know, if we don’t listen to the people with whom we are partnered, we will limit our possibility,” said Prothrow-Stith, who earned her bachelor’s degree at Atlanta’s Spelman College.

Dean Russell Richey wished the Candler School of Theology graduates well, whether they move into the ministry or another calling, and the Candler Singers offered a musical tribute to the school’s graduating class.

Cynthia Meyer, assistant dean of student programming, and Thomas Thangaraj, D.W. & Ruth Brookes Associate Professor of World Christianity, teamed up to announce the graduates. In all, the school honored 119 master’s of divinity recipients, 20 master’s of theological studies recipients, 24 master’s of theology recipients, and one doctor of theology: MarKevan Gwendolyn Hill.