Emory Report
July 23, 2007
Volume 59, Number 35

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July 23, 2007
Rollins family gives $50M gift to School of Public Health

by sarah goodwin

The Rollins School of Public Health has received a commitment of $50 million from the O. Wayne Rollins Foundation and Grace Crum Rollins. The gift will enable the school to more than double its physical space and will be instrumental in attracting the high caliber of faculty and students that have become the hallmark of the school’s commitment to improving health and preventing disease both locally and globally.

Specifically this support will create a public health complex designed to enhance collaboration with Atlanta-based public health partners including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CARE, The Carter Center, the American Cancer Society, the Arthritis Foundation, the Task Force for Child Survival and Development, Atlanta university system, Georgia Institute of Technology and Georgia State University, as well as partners throughout Emory.

“This new gift from the Rollins family reflects their vision and their desire to go to extraordinary lengths to ensure that we have the capacity to make our leadership for public health a reality, both locally and globally,” said President Jim Wagner.

The Rollins family has been a generous benefactor to Emory for generations. Early major gifts to Emory’s Candler School of Theology, to the O. Wayne Rollins Research Building and the Rollins School of Public Health exemplify the family’s commitment to serving humanity. As members of the Emory Board of Trustees, O. Wayne Rollins and later his sons, Randall and Gary Rollins, recognized the importance an outstanding school of public health could have for all of humanity.

The Rollins family’s earlier contributions to the school include major funding toward the construction of the Grace Crum Rollins Building, named for O. Wayne Rollins’ wife and Gary and Randall’s mother. Generous gifts have helped to build a significant endowment for the school and have accelerated the recruitment of outstanding faculty leaders. The family’s concern for protecting health led to the creation of the Center for Public Health Preparedness and Research.

Their commitments to Emory were recognized with the naming of the school in 1994.

“Expanding the physical space for public health will facilitate teaching and scholarship and will provide dynamic facilities conducive to building and maintaining key partnerships, “ said Michael M.E. Johns, CEO, Woodruff Health Sciences Center, and executive vice president for health affairs. “The ability to collaborate with our local and global public health partners is essential if we are to harness the resources to meet the world’s greatest challenges to health and well-being.”

“We are deeply grateful for the Rollins family’s continued belief in the mission of public health and in our school,” said Dean James Curran. “Their extraordinary generosity will prepare the next generation of public health leaders to face current and future public health challenges.

“The new facility will provide state-of-the-art space needed to accelerate teaching and collaborative research in key areas including global health, predictive health, infectious disease, nutrition, cancer, diabetes, and other chronic diseases,” emphasized Curran.

Since its founding in 1990, the Rollins School of Public Health has become a national leader in public health training and research. The School has tripled the number of students, faculty and research since the doors opened to the first building in 1995. With the newly planned building, the school will add 160,000 square feet of space. A connector between the Grace Crum Rollins Building and the new building will provide easy access between the two.

The new building will provide onsite and virtual educational opportunities as well as enhanced research space. Plans call for a multi-use facility with more laboratory space, technologically sophisticated “smart” classrooms, offices, conference space and an auditorium. Conference capabilities will enhance the development of specialized training, individualized distance learning modules and professional exchange programs dedicated to spreading public health solutions around the globe.