Founders Ball

Photos by Michael Kloss


The 2005 inaugural Emory University Founders Ball was canceled because of a severe ice storm. That ice storm inspired the 2006 "rose suspended in ice" centerpiece design (shown in the second photo).  The ball was successfully held in 2006, 2007, and 2008, before being discontinued after the 2008 global economic downturn.

Media Coverage

Toasting Emory at Founders Ball

02/14/2006  - From the Emory Wheel (read entire article)
By Supriya Kotagal, Staff Writer

Dooley dipped and spun ladies on the dance floor late into the evening on Saturday as his guards looked on stoically. But the immortal spirit of Emory wasn't the only one with his dancing shoes tied tightly for the Founders Ball. Between 300 and 400 faculty, staff, alumni and students crowded the Lullwater Ballroom at the Emory Conference Center to celebrate the university's 170th birthday. The ball marked the end of a week dedicated to exploring, critiquing and celebrating Emory's past, present and future.

Founders Week offered the Emory community a wide array of events to sample, ranging from a speech by U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) about the civil rights movement to a night of stargazing at Emory's planetarium. But what tied the week together was a theme of openness in conversation about where Emory has been and where it has the capability to go.

For Brenda Bennefield, a graduate student in the Candler School of Theology, the first step toward building community is to host more events like the Founders Ball.

"I think [Emory] should have more socializing to get people out to mingle," said Bennefield. "It's a whole different atmosphere than when you are at work or school."

The ball had a Valentine's Day theme. Every guest was greeted with a a box of Godiva chocolates, and each female guest also received a rose. A jazz sextet played for guests on a dimly-lit dance floor lined with ice sculptures.

Wagner joined the band to sing "Happy Birthday" to Emory and toasted "the spirit of the past, the spirit of the present, and as we move forward, the spirit of the future."

Wolff-King, whose preparations for the ball began months ago, said she was pleased with the diverse turnout for the event.

"Students, faculty, staff and alumni celebrated Emory together, and that makes Founders Ball an important and memorable occasion," she said.

As the evening wore on, students replaced the alumni, faculty, and staff on the dance floor. Members of the Emory Swing Club demonstrated their moves and offered impromptu lessons while Dooley posed for pictures with the guests.

For College senior Jojo Mulunda, the Founders Ball offered an opportunity for closure before graduation.

"It is a last chance to take advantage of the best out of Emory, which is the people," Mulunda said.