Emory Report
October 6, 2008
Volume 61, Number 7

‘08 Sports Hall of
Fame inductees

Katharine Hughes Eick Swimming and diving

Bill Eley
Swimming and diving

Alicia Moore Krichev Women’s basketball, volleyball, track and field

Troy Thompson
Track and field



Emory Report homepage  

October 6
, 2008
Swimming a career springboard: Dean honored to be in pool of ‘wonderful people’

By Jennifer Johnson

For Bill Eley, a glistening new neighborhood pool and his first swim competition at age 6 inspired a lifelong love of water and put him on a path that ultimately led to Emory.

His first swim coach, Edward Smyke, would become Eley’s coach when he joined the Emory Swimming and Diving Team in 1975.

Eley, executive associate dean of medical education and student affairs, entered Emory as a freshman and participated on the swim team all four years of his undergraduate career. He held 100 meter and 200 meter breaststroke records and served as co-captain for three years.

“The old swimming pool was part of a surplus World War II hangar,” reminisces Eley of his days as an Eagle athlete. “The heat was turned off at night in the locker rooms, and I sometimes arrived for morning practice to find my shampoo frozen.” Fortunately for Eley and his teammates the pool area was heated around the clock.

Eley’s participation on the Emory Swimming and Diving Team, which has long been one of the best programs in the nation, earned him entry into the Emory Sports Hall of Fame along with three other former athletes during Homecoming Weekend.

The Hall of Fame is designed to honor those individuals who have made outstanding contributions to Emory athletics and have helped bring excellence and distinction to the University and its athletic program.

“I feel the same way about this induction as I do about my years as a student at Emory — it’s an incredible honor to be among such wonderful people,” says Eley, who in his senior year at Emory achieved Academic All-American honors.

A native of Georgia, Eley received an undergraduate degree in chemistry, a medical degree and a masters of public health degree, all from Emory. After completing his internal medicine and oncology training, Eley accepted a position in the Department of Epidemiology at the newly formed Rollins School of Public Health in 1989 where he pursued research related to differences in survival between African American and Caucasian women diagnosed with breast cancer.

Eley continues to see breast cancer patients at Emory Winship Cancer Institute and has taught medical students clinical epidemiology for the last 18 years. In 2004 he was appointed to his current role as executive associate dean for medical education and student affairs at Emory School of Medicine.

When he is not engaging with patients or students, Eley devotes time to his creative side, playing the guitar, singing and gardening. He has also played an integral role in the creation of Emory’s new Center for Creativity & Arts. With the first art exhibit set to open in the School of Medicine in October, Eley is excited about the possibilities the Center brings.

“We recently had the Vega String Quartet play in our medical school classroom as part of the student’s neural module,” says Eley. “I hope these efforts feed our hearts and minds in ways that enable us to renew the caregiver in us and understand humanity a little better.”

And after all these years, Eley still finds time to pursue his affinity for water. “I don’t have as much time to swim now as I would like, but I am devoting as much time as I can to canoeing whitewater rapids. The pursuit of sports has always been a wonderful way for me to refresh and to be at the top of my game for my patients and my University every day.”