First Person: Sally Lehr, MyEmory Co-Chair

Sally Lehr '65N '76MN  is a clinical associate professor at Nell Hodgson School of Nursing and co-chair of MyEmory. This article originally appeared in Emory Report.

Realizing that each person has unique reasons for charitable giving, I hope that some of my reasons for giving to Emory will resonate with others. Often, when asked for money, I am initially hesitant, thinking, “I already give enough.” My husband, on the other hand, says “I’ll give to whoever asks me.” Very different perspectives.

Both of us give to Emory and have for many years. Giving to Emory is just what we do—but why? We are both alums, and between us we have four Emory degrees. We met at Emory. Two of our three daughters were born at Emory. We are continually grateful for the stellar education we received, the connections we made, the wonderful health care we’ve received, and the doors that have opened for us because of Emory.

Most of the people who are Emory’s faculty and staff today are not alums, and have been at Emory varying lengths of time, some for only a short while, others for many years. I have worked here in some capacity almost every year since I graduated. Everywhere I’ve worked, I’ve been in some type of rich learning environment and had remarkable and wonderful colleagues, a number who have become lifelong friends. Always I have seen amazing things happening at Emory—outstanding leaders, teachers, mentors, role models, and students; exceptional health care; cutting edge knowledge generation and transmission; and service to others in unique and ever-expanding ways. Every time I’ve needed information or a resource, someone from Emory has helped me. The connections are all around.

When I can put a face on where my money goes, I see the faces of so many wonderful students who were able to get the kind of education I received. They have gone on to make remarkable contributions to health care around the world, and I have felt myself a part of what they’ve done. The MyEmory campaign makes it possible for all of us to “put a face on” where our money goes by having so many creative choices. And the clear focus on participation, regardless of amount, allows each of us to realize we’re an important part of what’s happening and tells everyone we’re proud to be a part of Emory.

In high school when I was looking for colleges to attend, my dad said, “You want to go to a school you can be proud of.” The only school I applied to was Emory. Today when I tell people I work at Emory, I continue to feel proud. Shared values, countless connections, a sense of ownership, appreciation of our past, commitment to our present, and investment in our future—all these to me are sound reasons for giving to Emory. In being a part of MyEmory, my hope is that each of us—and all of us—will have a deeper sense of community and feelings of joy in the giving.

April 2010