History & Traditions
The Methodist Episcopal Church founded Emory College in 1836 in the small Georgia town of Oxford. The founders named the town for the school's prestigious British cousin, and named the school for a bishop who dreamed of an American education that molded character as well as the mind.
The little school struggled for decades, and finally began to prosper in the late 1800s. By 1914, the Methodist Church was looking to create a university in the South, and Emory College was looking to expand.
The "Million-Dollar Letter"
Asa Candler, founder of The Coca-Cola Company, wrote the "million-dollar letter" to offer seed money, and he sweetened the deal by donating land in Atlanta. Emory University received a DeKalb County charter to build at its present location in 1915. The soft drink company president's brother was Emory alumnus and former president, Methodist Bishop Warren Candler, who returned to serve as its first chancellor on the new campus.
The Atlanta-based Coca-Cola Company has given rise to family fortunes for the Candlers, the Woodruffs, the Goizuetas and others who have been extraordinarily generous to Emory. The philanthropy of these and other donors has enabled Emory's growth and empowered its ambition to become one of the nation's leading universities. It's unofficially considered poor school spirit to drink other soda brands on campus.
The Official Spirit of Emory
The task of safeguarding the official Spirit of Emory rests on the slender frame of a biology lab skeleton named Dooley. He first emerged as a campus presence in 1899. The endeavor to answer the enduring question, "Who is Dooley?" is ongoing.
Several secret societies have emerged over the years. DVS is the oldest, founded on the Oxford campus in 1902. New members of these groups appear to be chosen based on how likely they are to make contributions to campus life, both as students and alumni.
In a city known for growth and change, Emory carefully cultivates a creative blend of old and new on campus. And all students, professors and staff members become part of the university's uniquely wonderful heritage. More information on Emory's history and traditions, including Founder's Week customs, can be found here.