Three-Time Alumnus Earns Service Honor

Walker Ray 62C 65M 68MR shows off his award, the glass "bell cow" that symbolizes Emory's highest honor for alumni service.
Ann Borden

A sense of humor. A caring nature. Approachability. Intelligence.

These qualities helped make Walker Ray 62C 65M 68MR a successful pediatrician in Atlanta for thirty-eight years. They also helped guide him into leadership roles at Emory. And the class, hard work, and success Ray brought to those leadership roles earned him the J. Pollard Turman Alumni Service Award for 2011, an honor that is sponsored by the Emory Alumni Association (EAA).

“I was asked to be involved with Emory,” Ray says. “I did not simply show up and volunteer. I think many times, for service, there has to be a portal that’s attractive, an opportunity that presents itself, or an environment that’s very receptive to establishing that first relationship.”

That first relationship was with the board of the Emory Medical Alumni Association, where Ray served for several years, including a one-year term as president. That led to his selection for the Emory Alumni Board (EAB)—where he also served a term as president.

Ray then accepted a position as cochair of Candler’s Committee of 100, a liaison group to the United Methodist Church. He continues his relationship with the School of Medicine, serving on its campaign committee.

Ray’s contributions to his profession are also noteworthy, not the least of which are the thousands of patients he treated in nearly four decades of private practice.

“The children were a lot of fun to relate to,” he says. “Children might come in sick with meningitis, pneumonia, or other illnesses. If you made the right diagnosis, with the right treatment, they were up running around the ward, smiling at you, playing hide-and-seek underneath the exam table.”

Ray has served on the Board of Trustees of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston, and he has chaired the medical staff at Egleston and the pediatrics department at DeKalb Medical Center. He also has held top posts in the DeKalb Medical Society and the Medical Association of Georgia.

The award is named for J. Pollard Turman 34C 36L 73H, an influential humanitarian whose support of higher education and cultural organizations benefited institutions throughout Georgia, and includes a $25,000 grant to Emory from the Tull Foundation, which Turman helped create.

The recipient may direct that grant to any Emory program he chooses. Ray chose five: the School of Medicine, the Candler School of Theology, Oxford College, the Department of Pediatrics, and the EAB Leadership Scholarship.

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