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January 24, 2005
Bill Fox retiring after 34 years at Emory
By Jan Gleason
Bill Fox, senior vice president for external affairs, retired on Jan. 17, concluding 34 years of service at Emory. Fox had served as senior vice president for Institutional Advancement (IA) from 1991–2004, when he moved to his recent role in external affairs.
“Bill Fox has earned the affection and gratitude of generations of Emory alumni, staff members and faculty members for his remarkable spirit and exemplary love of his alma mater,” President Jim Wagner wrote in a Jan. 7 memo to Administrative Council. “He has left a indelible mark on our University, for which we can be very grateful.”
“When I came to Emory, I found a place that held, at its deepest core, values that were similar to my own,” said Fox, who retires with the title of senior vice president emeritus. “That alignment has been magic to me all these years.”
In reflecting on the changes and accomplishments he’s seen during his career, Fox said he achieved nothing by himself. “My career,” he said, “has been one of collaboration and inspiration from others and the wonderful staffs with which I have worked.”
Fox also was quick to credit his wife of 38 years, Carol: “She is the unsung hero of my work; I don’t know how she survived the schedule. Sometimes we were out [in the evenings] for Emory seven nights a week, and she still got up to go teach every morning.
“As I think back over the years, some of the smaller things stand out in my mind,” said Fox, who while head of Campus Life from 1979–91 oversaw a tremendous building phase, including such facilities as the Woodruff P.E. Center, the Dobbs Center and new residence halls. With Fox as senior vice president, IA raised more than $2 billion in gifts, pledges and planned gifts. He supported efforts to create Volunteer Emory, the Office of Multicultural Programs and Services, the LGBT office, the Humanitarian Awards, to grow the Annual Fund, and to build the Miller-Ward Alumni House.
Fox, who served under four University presidents, said he saw Emory “open its doors” during his career. “Emory has become much more concerned with outreach and concern for the external community,” he said. “But I also saw it become much more diverse and open, which makes it such a more rich community.”
Fox came to Emory in 1971 to pursue a doctorate in religion and literature and began his administrative career in 1974 in the Graduate Institute of Liberal Arts. In 1979, he earned his Ph.D. and became the University’s first dean of Campus Life, then was named vice president for Campus Life three years later.
After joining IA in 1991, Fox directed the completion of a capital campaign that raised $420 million. Before the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, he chaired the steering committee that coordinated Emory’s involvement with the Games.
Along with fulfilling his administrative duties, each year Fox taught an undergraduate seminar in religion and literature. “Another of my greatest joys was being permitted to continue teaching,” he said. “The classroom is an exciting environment where students stimulated me. They kept me in mind of what we were here for; they kept me grounded.
“Emory gave me the chance to travel the world,” Fox continued, “to make close friends with people I would have otherwise never met, and intertwined my greatest passions: community, service and education of the needs of the world.”
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