Class Day Information

Haygood-Hopkins Gate Banner

Class Day is a student organized event for the baccalaureate degree candidates of Emory College, Goizueta Business School, the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, and the School of Medicine (Medical Imaging Program).  Traditionally, the event is held on the Thursday before Commencement and features a student-selected keynote speaker as well as the presentation of class gifts, and awards.  It precedes the Emory Senior Class Reception, Candlelight Crossover, and dessert reception.

Open only to the graduating seniors from Emory College, Nursing, Business (BBA), and Bachelor of Medical Science. No RSVP required, but seating is limited.

Keynote speaker - Kenneth Cole 76C

Kenneth Cole

Kenneth Cole is an American designer, social activist, and visionary who believes business and philanthropy are interdependent. His global company, Kenneth Cole Productions, creates modern and functional clothing, shoes, and accessories for inspirational urban lifestyles under the brand names Kenneth Cole New York, Kenneth Cole Reaction and Unlisted, as well as footwear under the name Gentle Souls

Over 30 years ago, Cole leveraged his passion and unique brand platform to make a meaningful impact on people’s wardrobes, as well as communities in need. He did what others didn’t and said what others wouldn’t.

In the 80s, Cole pioneered the first of many AIDS awareness campaigns for amfAR, which rooted the brand in social activism. He joined the board of amfAR in 1987, has been chairman since 2004, and spearheaded initiatives that have changed the face of HIV/AIDS for the betterment of millions.

In the 90s, driven by his passion for social justice and the need to help underserved populations, he invented the concept of a shoe drive. The program evolved to include clothing, and to date has led to the donation of more than 2 million pairs of shoes and over 6 million dollars worth of product to global communities in need. His gifts to Emory helped to establish a program to train students in community-building skills to mobilize residents, community-based groups, government agencies, businesses, foundations, universities, and nonprofits to strengthen low-income families and rebuild inner-city neighborhoods.

In his 1999 Emory Medal acceptance speech he said,  “I have always believed that we are a product of our life’s experiences, and for me there was none greater than my four formative years here at Emory University.”

In 2010, the company refocused their shoe drive concept to respond to the earthquake in Haiti and also introduced a fundraising campaign. This enabled the company to build The Kenneth Cole Haiti Health Center in Cité Soleil, which is accessible to over 1.5 million people.

Today, The Kenneth Cole Foundation remains committed to helping communities in need by supporting collective health, civil liberties, and artistic activism.

Awards presented during event

Boisfeuillet Jones Medals
These medals were established, designed, and initially endowed by D.V.S. Senior Society to honor Boisfeuillet Jones, a D.V.S. alumnus and one of Emory's most prominent and distinguished graduates. Representing what was special and unique about Jones, recipients are selected for their good citizenship, outstanding leadership, devoted service to Emory and the community, academic performance, and potential to become a 'Change Agent' in their chosen profession and society at large.

Brit Katz Senior Appreciation Award
Honored for his devotion to students and for serving as role model, leader, and friend, director of residence life R. Britton Katz was recognized at the first Class Day celebration in 2003. The Brit Katz Award, a wooden bowl, is presented to an administrator or staff member selected by seniors for his or her service as role model and friend to the senior class, for participation in the Emory community beyond his or her professional duty, and who is deemed worthy of special recognition. The award is sponsored by the Ducemus Senior Society.

Knights of Emory Spirit Awards
These awards - sponsored by the Paladin Society - recognize two outstanding seniors who are unsung heroes/heroines. Students selected for this honor have made great contributions to the University and promote Emory spirit with passion and selflessness.