Newsletter  Volume 4 Issue 3
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October 10
 Lunch Colloquium
Sam Dixon

October 23
Lunch Colloquium
Pellom McDaniels, III
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October 2, 2017

This issue of our newsletter is sent to members and friends of the Emory University Emeritus College (EUEC). I hope the newsletter will help keep you informed about our activities and help you feel connected with our members throughout the U.S.  On the left are links to our website and links to contact either me or the EUEC office.   

With best wishes,

Gray F. Crouse
Director, EUEC
In this Issue:
DirectorMessage from the Director


It has been a busy time here.  Because of Irma-induced rescheduling, we have had a Lunch Colloquium in each of the past two weeks and will have another next week.  We are so fortunate to have such a wide variety of distinguished speakers.  If you weren't able to attend the talks, you can read reports below for the last two and see the recordings of the talks on our website ( 


I hope many of you have had the opportunity to experience one of the premiere small concert halls in the U.S.--Spivey Hall.  Next week we will have the opportunity to hear the story of its creation and functioning from Sam Dixon.


EUEC is fortunate to have a fund permitting us to support the research of its members--the Bianchi Excellence Award.  Below is a report from Katherine Mitchell, one of the awardees from last year, about her use of the funds.  A call for applications for next year will be distributed later this year; now is a good time to consider how your own research could be helped through this mechanism of support.


There are many ways in which our members can, and do, support University activities.  In this issue is a request for nominations for Honorary Degree candidates.


I am very grateful to John Bugge, Herb Benario, and Gretchen Schulz for help with proofing and editing.  
LQ10uLunch Colloquium Tuesday, October 10
The Courage to Think Small: Emilie Spivey's Creation of Spivey Hall 
The Luce Center 
Room 130 

Sam Dixon, Executive and Artistic Director, Spivey Hall

Sept19upperLunch Colloquium Tuesday, September 19
Wild Nights:  How Taming Sleep Created Our Restless World


Benjamin Reiss, Professor of English, Co-Director, Disability Studies Initiative


LCSep25TopLunch Colloquium Monday, September 25

"Regardless, you are not the first woman":  An Illustrative Case Study of Missed Opportunities to Protect Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights






Dabney P. Evans, Assistant Professor and Director of Graduate Studies, Hubert Department of Global Health, Rollins School of Public Health 



 Click here to read below about this Lunch Colloquium 


Save the Date:  Sheth Distinguished Lecture--April 23, 2018

EUEC Member Dana Greene, Dean Emerita of Oxford College, will be the 2018 Sheth Distinguished Lecturer.  Her lecture is titled "Field Notes of a Biographer."  For almost thirty years Dana was on the faculty of St. Mary's College of Maryland and subsequently became the Dean of Oxford College of Emory University.  She is the author of three biographies, four edited volumes, and numerous essays and articles.  The Sheth Lecture is made possible by a generous donation from Dr. Jagdish and Mrs. Madhu Sheth.   
BianTopBianchi Report

Katherine Mitchell, The Lone Tree 2017

EUEC Member Katherine Mitchell was awarded a Bianchi grant last year.


We note the passing of EUEC Member William Cassel.

Nominations for Honorary Degrees

We are once again invited to submit nominations for Honorary Degrees:

Dear Emory Community,


The Honorary Degrees Committee invites all students, staff, faculty, alumni, and trustees to submit nominations for distinguished candidates for an honorary degree from Emory University.  Nominations to be considered for honorary degree conferral at Commencement 2019 and beyond must be submitted by October 20, 2017.  


Below are suggested criteria to keep in mind, but please think creatively and broadly as you consider candidates and note that these criteria are not restrictive.


Criteria:  In general, honorary degree nominees have achieved the highest distinction in their fields, while also demonstrating a transformational impact; their lives and careers should exemplify a commitment to work consistent with Emory's values. In considering whether a nomination reflects Emory's mission and values, you may think about some important themes that reflect the University's priorities and/or strategic direction. Particularly relevant themes might include "exploring the human spirit," "improving the human condition," "engaging society," "fostering sustainability," "new frontiers in science and medicine," "transformational art," and "creative philanthropy."   


Nomination Process:

  Nominations may be submitted in one of three ways:
  1. Submit online at: 
  2. Email a nomination letter and supporting documents to
  3. Mail nomination letter and supporting documents to Honorary Degree Nominations, Emory University, Office of the Vice President and Secretary of the University, Administration Building 407, Mail Stop #1000/001/1AN, Atlanta, GA  30322.

All honorary degree nomination letters should address the following:

  • What are the nominee's achievements that would merit this honor, considering the above criteria?
  • Would an honorary degree from Emory University have any special significance for this nominee?
  • Would the award have any special significance or meaning for graduating students?

Except in extraordinary circumstances, persons who have spent the greatest part of their careers as members of the Emory faculty or administration or those currently serving in US elective office are not considered. The committee will, however, receive with interest nominations of persons otherwise associated with Emory such as alumni, distinguished visiting faculty, etc. The committee encourages the nomination of individuals from diverse demographic backgrounds.

Nominations are kept active (i.e., considered each year) for a period of five years. To review past honorary degree recipients and related information, visit the website: 




Allison Dykes                                                                Joseph Crespino

Vice President and Secretary of the University            Honorary Degrees Committee Chair


 Sept19lowerLunch Colloquium - September 19

Wild Nights:  How Taming Sleep Created Our Restless World

Benjamin Reiss, Professor of English, Co-Director, Disability Studies Initiative

On Tuesday, September 19th, Dr. Benjamin Reiss, Professor and Chair of the Department of English at Emory College, spoke about his new book, Wild Nights: How Taming Sleep Created Our Restless World. His interest in the subject was piqued from several sources: multiple readings of Thoreau done in relation to classes over the years, his own experiences as a parent, and his experience as a Katrina evacuee.
He became interested in sleep practices and the changing expectations for sleep adopted by post-industrial societies. In contemporary Western culture, sleep rules are presented as the natural and healthful way to achieve rest. The sleeper (solitary or consenting adults apart from children) is trained from an early age to retire to a private, noise-controlled room for regularly scheduled seven to eight hours of sleep. A whole industry has developed to provide help for those who need assistance to achieve these goals. In 2005, Dr. Reiss co-taught with David Rye, professor of neurology at Emory University's School of Medicine, a class entitled Sleep in Science and Culture. This book developed out of this class with the support of a Guggenheim Fellowship and explores the topic of sleep traditions through time and various cultures.
In Walden, Dr. Reiss found that Thoreau's writing reflects the transition of ideas about sleep from those compatible with an agrarian society to those required by the factories and mills. Dr. Reiss's research showed that these new expectations for sleep were not those of earlier generations or of many non-European cultures. For example, most middle-class Europeans did not sleep in bedrooms until the late 18th century; it was simply too expensive to have space designated for only that purpose. Some cultures preferred co-sleeping, as it provided protection, especially when members of the group alternated sleep and vigilance.
Co-sleeping practices in European societies were used to denigrate the participants, even when the practice was created by the poverty and limitations imposed by the dominant class. Because disease was assumed to be airborne, the practice was considered dirty and unhygienic. During the 18th and 19th centuries, such ideas were used to denigrate African slaves and others.  
Today patterns of sleep still differ measurably by race and class. A 2007 study by Lauren Hale and Phuong Do published in Sleep showed that 65.9% of the total sample averaged seven to eight hours of sleep a night. However, when broken out by race, there was notable variation. The norm of seven to eight hours of sleep was routinely achieved by 67.6% of Whites, 55.1 % of Blacks, 64.2% of Mexican Americans, 62.6% of Other Hispanics, and 65.7% of Non-Hispanics.  
--Pat Miller

LQ10lLunch Colloquium October 10 -- NOTE TUESDAY MEETING


The Courage to Think Small: Emilie Spivey's Creation of Spivey Hall
Sam Dixon, Executive and Artistic Director, Spivey Hall
In the words of the legendary conductor Robert Shaw, "Spivey Hall is to music what light is to painting." The dream of organist, entrepreneur, civic leader, and philanthropist Emilie Parmalee Spivey, Spivey Hall opened in 1991, built with private funds totaling $4.5 million. Intimate in size (392 seats), the elegant recital hall has superb acoustics that enable artists and audiences to feel a strong and deeply satisfying connection through the performance of fine music. Now in its 26th season, presenting concert and educational programming that serves patrons ages 3 to 95 hailing from more than 50 Georgia counties and seven states, Spivey Hall enjoys an international reputation for artistic excellence, and is both a living legacy and direct expression of Mrs. Spivey's values, tastes, and personality.  
How this gem of a recital hall came to be situated at Clayton State University, how its programming enriches lives in far-reaching ways (perhaps surprisingly, given its modest size), and how the beautiful "body" of Spivey Hall has also come to possess a beautiful "soul" are among the topics to be explored in this talk by Spivey Hall's executive and artistic director, Sam Dixon, who will also share the fascinating story of his own experience "working at the juncture where the art and business of music meet."  
About Sam Dixon
SAMUEL C. DIXON is Executive and Artistic Director of Clayton State University's Spivey Hall. He joined Spivey Hall in October 2004 as General Manager/Assistant Director, and in September 2006, following a national search, was appointed the successor to founding director, Sherryl L. Nelson. Sam previously served as Vice-President of Artistic Operations at Santa Barbara's Music Academy of the West, working with outstanding guest artists and faculty including celebrated mezzo-soprano Marilyn Horne. While living in New York City and California, he provided artistic and management consulting services to a variety of performing arts and service organizations, including Chicago's Music of the Baroque, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and the League of American Orchestras. Earlier he managed programming and festivals for the Minnesota Orchestra, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the Saint Louis Symphony, and the six professional orchestras of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, based in Sydney.
Born in Rochester, New York, Sam spent six years of his youth in Milan, Italy, where he fell in love with opera attending performances at La Scala. He later studied piano in the Eastman School of Music's Preparatory Department and played the French horn. A 1982/83 Fellow of the League of American Orchestras' Management Fellowship Program, he is a magna cum laude graduate of Dartmouth College with highest distinction in music, and earned an MBA from Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management, concentrating in non-profit management, marketing, and management policy. In 2004 he chaired the grants panel of the Philadelphia Music Project, a program of The Pew Center for Arts and Heritage. He also has served numerous years as a panelist for the state arts councils of Missouri, Maryland, and Georgia; on the Fulton County (GA) Arts Council; as a facilitator for the Association of Performing Arts Presenters' Young Performers Career Advancement Program, and as a jury member for the 2016 Concert Artists Guild Victor Elmaleh Competition in New York.
LCSep25BotLunch Colloquium September 25

"Regardless you are not the first woman": An Illustrative Case of Missed Opportunities to Protect Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights
Presented by Dabney P. Evans, PhD, MPH, Assistant Professor and Director of Graduate Studies, Hubert Department of Global Health, Rollins School of Public Health, Interim Director, Institute for Developing Nations, Emory University
Dr. Evans brought us on a harrowing journey, through four countries, tracing the experience of a universal woman named Eve who suffered severely following a rape by her godfather. He pressured her to get an abortion. Due to social stigma, legal implications, and lack of education, she had no one to consult and underwent an illegal abortion.  The procedure is totally banned in Nicaragua where the actual Eve lived. Due to her poor medical condition, her brother finally heard the story from her and was able to get her post-abortion care.
Eve's story illustrates the need for programs on violence prevention, health education, and access to contraceptives.
Dr. Evans' work focuses on the intersection of law and public health. Few know better than she that the issues that Eve confronted are widespread throughout the world. If these issues were related to an infectious disease, there would be a public outcry with action to follow. However, these issues often lead to neither.
As we know, abortion is legal in some countries, but access is a serious issue even in our own country.  
The U.S. Global Gag Rule bans foreign NGOs from giving information about abortion, performing abortions, and advocating for abortion law liberalization. Trump has made this rule worse by mandating that all USG agencies working with foreign NGOs enforce it, even when HIV care for pregnant women is concerned.
We continued on our journey to learn about the consequences of rape in Brazil. Abortion in Brazil is severely restricted, even in cases of microcephaly; some are advocating for stricter penalties for women seeking to abort Zika-infected pregnancies.
Our journey to a refugee camp in Turkey for Syrian refugees informed us that sexual violence is high in the camps. Rapes and unwanted pregnancies are common, but cuts in UN funding impact the ability to provide emergency contraception. Doctors Without Borders is the ONLY agency that provides abortion services in refugee camps.
Our journey ended in Louisiana where a 24-hour waiting period and a requirement to view an ultrasound are among the 1,000 medically unnecessary actions demanded of women who wish  to receive an abortion. The Center for Reproductive Rights has a pending case, June Medical Services v. Gee that if successful would improve access to abortion in the state.
Dr. Evans concluded her talk by urging us to get involved at our local and state levels. Pick an issue you care about, and work on it at the local, state and federal levels. Be an ally to those whose values you share -- even if their vulnerabilities are not your own.

--Lee Pasackow

BianBotBianchi Report

An advertisement for Katherine Mitchell's exhibition at the Turchin Center.  Note that EUEC Member Diane Kempler also has an exhibit there!



 HEARING THE TREES, an exhibition by Katherine Mitchell


Funded in part by the generous support of the Bianchi Award and the Emeritus College of Emory University.


I am most appreciative of the funding I received through the Bianchi Award and the Emory University Emeritus College. This support has been of great help as I prepared for my exhibition at the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts of Appalachian State University in Boone, N. C.


Throughout my career as an artist, I have moved back and forth between my interests in architectural form and the natural world. This will be my first body of work focused on my interest in and concern for trees.


Originally the title of my exhibition was White Oak, in honor of a particular tree that inspired this work. As my focus expanded, the title became Hearing the Trees. My beloved white oak became a symbol for me of all trees, and for all of the endangered planet. I was striving to unite my aesthetic concerns as an artist with my concern for the environment, which had begun years earlier, when between the ages of twenty-four and thirty-eight I had lived in the midst of forty-four acres of deep woods. This had been a life-changing experience for me, and I continue to love trees and value experiences in nature.


Because the Emeritus College might never have funded a visual artist in this way, I will try to give you some insight into my process, which involved a total immersion in this subject.


In addition to numerous hikes in woods, I have visited several of Atlanta's old growth forests that were last spring inducted into the National Old Growth Forest Network. These magnificent survivors are more than 200 years old. In addition to my personal experiences of trees, I needed more information about my new subject. I began with The Invention of Nature: Alexander Von Humboldt's New World by Andrea Wulf. Von Humboldt first documented the dangers and causes of deforestation in the early 1800's and recognized deforestation's role in changing the climate.


I attended a lecture on Urban Forests at the Carter Center, and then read the book Urban Forests:A Natural History of Trees and People in the American Cityscape by Jill Jonnes. My reading of this well-researched book was followed by Thoreau and the Language of Trees by Richard Higgins. I also read Thoreau's Walden and Civil Disobedience.


During all this time, I was working hard in my studio. My reading continued with Peter Wohlleben's The Hidden Life of Trees, and David George Haskell's The Forest Unseen: A Year's Watch in Nature. While all this doesn't make me a tree expert, I do feel enriched by these readings that move between science, history, and poetry. On the more expanded environmental topic, I attended the Carter Center lecture by Paul Hawken, and so far have read portions of his book Drawdown.


For this exhibition, I have produced twenty-seven works on watercolor paper, all of which are framed using archival materials. A few of the titles are White Oak Night, Cold Moon, Lichen, 2 Views, Rain After Fire, and Ghost Trees. The average size of these works unframed is 30" x 22". Some are larger, and a few are smaller.  


All these works are on good European watercolor paper and make use of a variety of materials built up in layers--pattern on pattern, system over system. Among the buried layers are my words from related journals and occasionally quotations from various writers, including Henry David Thoreau and Gregory Bateson, as well as a variety of poets.


The truly unique and most experimental piece in my oeuvre is an installation entitled Hearing the Trees. It is composed of twenty-four metal (tin) plates, each being 14" x 9 1/2". As installed on the wall, they will occupy a space approximately 62" high x 67" wide. Each plate is a piece of roofing (not ceiling) tile dating from the 1800's. They had originally been painted forest green. They are somewhat faded with age, rusted in places, and blackened in others. Each one had been stamped with a shape in bas relief which to me is like a very simple shrine. There are a few holes in some of them, and all have an edge running top to bottom along the left side that had original nail holes, which will be used to attach them to the wall. I think of them as being like pages of a book. They are extraordinarily beautiful--each like an abstract painting. I have left many of them just as they are. To others I am attaching actual very small oak trees. One little tree still has its acorn attached. Other of the plates have images such as a leaf or an acorn. A few of the plates have texts, which I wrote on a translucent Asian paper and adhered to the plate. These include quotations from the works of Thoreau, Robinson Jeffers, and W. S. Graham, and a few words of my own. I am unable to photograph the entire installation properly until it is attached to the wall. I'll plan to make this image available to the Emeritus College once it is in place.


The exhibition will be transported to the Turchin Center on October 6. The opening reception will be on November 3, 2017, and the exhibition will continue there until February 3, 2018. On November 1, I will give a talk on this work at the Turchin Center.


Katherine submitted a portfolio of photographs documenting 15 of the 27 works on paper; those may be seen in the EUEC office.



--Katherine Mitchell


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InMemBotIn Memoriam

Dr. William A. Cassel was Professor Emeritus of Microbiology and Immunology in the Emory University School of Medicine. He came to Emory University in 1958 and retired in 1987. Dr. Cassel died at home on September 15, at the age of 93. Dr. Cassel was born in 1924 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and resided in Girard College, an orphanage, from 1933 to 1942. He received his doctorate in microbiology from the University of Pennsylvania in 1952. At Emory University, Dr. Cassel served as a professor and researcher on the faculties of the School of Medicine and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. He was most noted for his studies on immune responses in cancer, and a vaccine he developed was employed postsurgically at the Emory University Clinic for many years in an effort to prolong the lives of patients suffering from metastatic malignant melanoma. Dr. Cassel received many awards including the Girard College Alumni Award of Merit (1966) and was a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He is survived by his wife Verne F. Cassel; a son, William S. Cassel of Muncie, IN; a daughter, Janet Cassel Millis of Hinsdale, IL; and five grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Ball State University, Memo: Foundation #909. Mailing Address: Biology Department, Attention: Christy Woods, Ball State University, Muncie, IN 47306-0440.  

Published in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Sept. 22, 2017.



Note:  A UPI press story from 1982 describing the vaccine mentioned above may be seen by clicking here


WalkBotWalking the Campus with Dianne

Hopefully, everyone has recovered from hurricane Irma.  The photo in our previous newsletter was not for figuring out where you were on campus, but merely to give an idea of what a small part of the destruction here in Atlanta looked like.  However, it looks like we are back to normal weather in Atlanta -- very warm temperatures, despite the official arrival of autumn!

While the days are still warm, let's walk outside for our next photo.  This place is not located amid the hustle and bustle of campus, but in a rather quiet space that I'm sure not many are familiar with. 

Where will you find this on the Emory campus?

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Emory University Emeritus College

The Luce Center
825 Houston Mill Road NE #206

Atlanta, GA 30329


Emory University Emeritus College, The Luce Center, 825 Houston Mill Road NE #206, Atlanta, GA 30329
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