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Alumni and Friends Encourage Excellence

When she was an Emory student, Michele Davis 87C (above) spent all four years in the freshman dorms—one as a freshman, one as a sophomore advisor, and two as a resident assistant. Her Emory experience meant so much to her that she has created two scholarships through Campaign Emory to provide similar experiences to deserving students at Emory College.

Private gifts such as Davis’ support of scholarships—and generous investments in many other areas of academics and service—have helped Emory College surpass its $110 million campaign goal, and the college continues to pursue programs and support to fulfill its mission. Top priorities for philanthropy at Emory College include increasing student financial support and strengthening the school’s endowment.

“We are incredibly proud of the powerful contributions that the entire Emory family has made to the success of this campaign. It’s wonderful to see such a shared sense of ownership of the college—to see our alumni taking pride in the work that we do here and investing in the achievements of our students,” says Robin Forman, dean of Emory College. “I am thrilled with this accomplishment, and I am looking forward to watching the transformative power of these gifts as they shape the college now and in the future.”

Davis, who majored in psychology and sociology at Emory, says the strong liberal arts education she received laid the foundation for a successful career that has changed with her interests over the years. Chief operating officer of a small technology firm, she has worked in clinical psychology and social work, hospitality, human resources, and technology. She currently is interested in education reform and is exploring options in that field.

A member of the Emory College Advisory Board who has been instrumental in revitalizing the alumni group in the Boston area, Davis has stayed active as an alumna because of the strong connections she formed at Emory. She says her involvement with Emory means as much to her as her philanthropy.

“I had a great Emory experience—the sense of community, the people, the campus—I loved it all, and that is why I am as involved as I am,” she says. “My residence life experience was a huge part of what made my experience what it was. There was just a feeling of really belonging to something, a sense that everyone has a place at Emory.”

The first member of her family to go away to college, Davis says support systems at Emory helped in her transition—learning how to be away from home, how to study, and how to navigate her path to adulthood.

“I want to help students in the same way I was helped. It is important for me to feel like I have a personal connection with the students,” she says. “I would not have been able to go to Emory without financial support, but it is important to me not only to give a financial gift but also to be willing and available to be a mentor and advisor for these students during their time at Emory.”

Increasing numbers of Emory College alumni and friends are making gifts that reinforce the college’s ability to provide a strong liberal arts education while supporting those areas that mean the most to them.

The Abraham J. and Phyllis Katz Foundation has made a $1 million challenge gift to the Emory String Quartet in Residence, and the college is actively fund-raising to secure the matching funds to endow the program permanently. The late Marian and James Lovell of Fort Myers, Florida, provided thoughtful support for Emory College in their estate plans, strengthening the Department of Music and creating the Marian B. Lovell Endowed Scholarship.

Michael A. Blum 86C has made a pledge to endow Emory Advantage scholarship support for undergraduate students. In 2011, Emory College received a $15.4 million bequest from the estate of James E. Varner Jr. 43C, the bulk of which is being used for student support.

Alumni Joshua Teplitzky 82C 86B 86L, Linda Teplitzky 86B, and Jeffrey Teplitzky 85B 88L, and his wife, Robyn, have created the Teplitzky Family Endowment to fund undergraduate research stipends at Emory College.

Mary “Trudy” Clark Johnson 71C is making an estate gift to create the Mary Clark Johnson Scholarship, which will be awarded to an Emory College student with a demonstrated commitment to increasing the number of women in science.

Atlantan Joni Winston is supporting the Emory-Tibet Partnership with a gift to help expand its research into meditation as a preventive health strategy. Founded in 1998 to combine the best of the Western and Tibetan Buddhist intellectual traditions, the partnership has been studying the health benefits of meditation since 2005.

Along with these and many other investments in Emory College, alumni and friends are creating new professorships, strengthening key programs, and supporting the Emory College Fund for Excellence, which the dean can use to strengthen the school’s most important priorities.

To learn how to support Emory College, contact Melissa Kontaridis at 404.727.6181 or mkontar@emory.edu.


Emory College of Arts and Sciences Volunteer Campaign Chair: Wendell S. Reilly 80C