Emory Report
September 22, 2008
Volume 61, Number 5



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22, 2008
Campaign rolls out red carpet

By Marlene Goldman

If you were on the Clairmont Campus this week, you couldn’t help but notice a bevy of trucks and workers preparing for two of the largest University-wide events ever held at Emory.

The 31,000-square-foot tent rising on Clairmont’s playing field will house the public kickoff events for Campaign Emory, the most ambitious and comprehensive fundraising effort in Emory’s and Georgia’s history. By Thursday, Sept. 25, the canvas structure will have been transformed into an elegant, air-conditioned venue with flooring, lights, a stage, and room to greet more than 500 invited guests to a black-tie gala, where the theme will be the transformational power of philanthropy.

By Saturday, Sept. 27, the tent will have undergone another transformation to welcome some 1,750 alumni, faculty, staff and students for a more casual evening at Celebration Emory. In a program similar to the gala’s, President Jim Wagner and Emory Alumni Board president Crystal Edmonson ’95C will announce Emory’s campaign goals, then showcase many donors who have partnered with Emory to support the University’s scholars and scientists, innovations and inventions, and programs and partnerships.

During both events, the canvas tent’s 40-foot-tall ceiling will provide plenty of headroom for a unique ensemble of dancers, musicians and high-flying performers. They will present Campaign Emory in yet another voice — Enquérir, a visual exploration of the origins, challenges, and ultimate triumph of courageous inquiry and the transformative power of philanthropy.

An internationally renowned cirque-style cast will journey through an ideal powerful enough to inspire positive change in the world. These acrobats have been featured in productions by Cirque du Soleil, the Moscow Circus, and NBC’s Celebrity Circus, and will be accompanied by exhilarating live Taiko-fusion music.

The ability to transform a playing field into a high-level venue is not unlike Emory’s own aspirations to become among the best universities in the country in research, teaching and service. Campaign Emory will seek support to recruit additional stellar faculty, health care professionals, and students; create and advance innovative programs; and help Emory construct the infrastructure to house these programs.

This public announcement of the campaign goal follows the “quiet” stage of Campaign Emory, which began in 2005. Emory will also announce the progress that has been made toward this goal.

Entertainment at most campaign galas consists of a headliner vocalist. “Our performance,” says Susan Cruse, senior vice president of development and alumni relations, “will be about Emory and courageous inquiry, and will reinforce the notion of what our campaign is really about — the power of philanthropy to effect positive transformation at Emory and throughout the world.”

Doors open at 4 p.m. for Celebration Emory; the show will begin promptly at 5 p.m. and conclude at 6 p.m. Light refreshments will follow. No more tickets are available to Celebration Emory. Residents of the Clairmont Campus without tickets will have exclusive access to a standby line at the event, says Michael Kloss, executive director for University events.

Accessibility, cost and sustainability were important when planning both the gala and Celebration Emory, and Emory received many discounts and in-kind donations. Ease of access and availability of parking at the 1,900-space Clairmont deck were key to the decision to stage kick-off events on the Clairmont campus.
Emory Catering will serve 75 percent local and organic food. Holly trees lining the venue entrance will be replanted later on campus, and all glass, plastic and paper products will be recycled. Gala centerpieces will be delivered to patients and families at Emory University Hospital and Emory Crawford Long Hospital.

“Many campaign celebrations don’t include some of the people who are the heart and soul of the university,” says Cruse. “But we want to reinforce the notion that Campaign Emory is for everyone, and everyone has a part in it. We want to generate excitement and buy-in for stakeholders for what we’re trying to achieve. That’s why we planned this campaign launch specifically around Homecoming and are involving the whole Emory family.”

The program and performance also will be videotaped, made available online, and be used at other events.