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
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
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
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.