Emory Report
February 25, 2008
Volume 60, Number 21

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February 25, 2008
Marcus of Home Depot to speak to graduates


Home Depot co-founder and renowned philanthropist Bernard Marcus will deliver the keynote address at Emory’s 163rd Commencement ceremony Monday, May 12. He will receive an honorary doctor of humane letters degree.

“Bernard Marcus embodies the excellence of mind, strength of character and passion for the common good that exemplify the Emory vision,” says President Jim Wagner, who will preside over the ceremony for about 3,500 graduates. “His success in business is a tribute not only to his brilliance but also to his capacity to form and build on lasting partnerships. And his philanthropy on behalf of children, medical research, the Jewish community and the people of Georgia grows out of a very large heart. He will be a very compelling speaker for our graduating class.”

Three other individuals also will be recognized during Commencement with honorary degrees: mental health advocate Mary Jane England; award-winning writer Ernest Gaines; and renowned Harvard University biologist and conservationist E. O. Wilson.

Marcus served as chairman of the Home Depot and is currently director emeritus. A centerpiece of his desire to give back to the community is the $290 million Georgia Aquarium, the largest aquarium in the world.

Marcus’ civic involvement includes the creation of The Marcus Foundation. He and his wife, Billi, established The Marcus Institute in Atlanta for children with developmental disabilities. Many of its professionals hold faculty appointments through the Emory Department of Pediatrics and Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and it is an approved site for the Emory Pediatric Residency Program.

Among Marcus’ philanthropies is the founding of the Israel Democracy Institute in Jerusalem, and he serves numerous leadership roles with other organizations.