Granted, I am nostalgic for my alma mater, given that my own daughter is starting college. The summer 2014 issue was, nevertheless, particularly poignant. I visited Emory in 1985, eager to fly bravely from my nest in west Texas. I did not expect to find myself a different sort of bird in this new place. I met people with very strong accents and political opinions, and not one of them exactly like mine. I fell madly in love with Emory, and truly in love with the self I found there. Bill Fox and Bobbi Patterson gave me flying lessons, and so to see their faces again was a gift. The fact that you chose to feature both SAPA (Sexual Assault Peer Advocates) and ELGO (Emory Lesbian and Gay Organization) in your graduation issue exemplifies what drew me to Emory in the first place. The way both articles featured multiple efforts and collaboration across the boundaries that too often divide makes me so proud to be from Emory. Thank you.

Amy Laura Hall 90C, Associate professor, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina

I think this was an excellent piece (“Voices Rising,” summer 2014) and I’m glad to see all that Emory is doing to address an issue that has plagued society throughout human history. However, I was disappointed that there was no mention of the groups and initiatives that helped lay the foundation for the success of organizations such as SAPA. Before graduating in 2007, I was a board member of a Greek Life group (Sexual Assault Awareness Greek Advocates) that functioned exactly as SAPA does now. We engaged the community, and provided education, crisis response, and advocacy services. It was our group that helped bring Take Back the Night to Emory, and brought awareness to the problem of sexual assault with events and a very successful T-shirt campaign. Although, we primarily focused on educating the Greek life community, we worked in the general Emory community as well. We had representatives from every fraternity and sorority on the board and were one of the first groups to work on educating young men. While it looks as though this movement has come a long way since I was a student there, the article made it sound as though nothing existed before the past few years. These kinds of initiatives were already happening well before this group was formed. Thank you for doing your part in raising awareness on campus and beyond.

Melanie Kolkin 07C, Durham, North Carolina

I’m glad to see an issue focusing on sexual violence. What is missing is a concerted effort to convict perpetrators. The only mention in the articles is of a rape victim who, in the end, declined to prosecute an ex-boyfriend for drugging and raping her. If a drug like that can be detected in the bloodstream and the perpetrator can be identified through DNA testing, then it should be possible to proceed with the case while protecting the victim’s anonymity. Until our society is willing to find ways to prosecute such vile crimes, rape will continue to be a rite of passage for some college men.

Cary R. Paynter 07P, mother of Cary Sprague Paynter 07C, Wilmington, North Carolina

Just finished the wonderful article on the library’s MARBL collection of LGBT materials (“The Rainbow Chronicles,” summer 2014), but the article (and apparently the collection) seems to go back no further than 1980s. I am an alumna from the 1970s, and I remember being part of the Atlanta Lesbian Feminist Alliance (ALFA), based in Little Five Points, during my years at Emory, 1972 to 1976. I believe if you or the library put out a call for materials for the collection from the period before 1980s, you will find many of us have some saved memorabilia (though in my own case, only a couple of things, not the entire newsletter collection and meeting minutes). No doubt there are persons around who were part of ALFA leadership who have strong memories and could do some oral history to fill in the gaps.  

Ellen Yearwood 76C, Des Plaines, Illinois

Enjoyed the magazine, as always. I graduated from Emory in 1958 and the alumni magazine was very basic. You should look at older issues from that era and be proud of how far you have come. I particularly enjoyed your coverage of the accomplishments of the women athletes. In my time all sports for women were between “clubs,” forerunners of sororities. Still, the university’s motto “athletics for all” meant we all competed, and had so much fun.

Sharlene Burns Blomquist 58C, Brandon, Florida  

Several years before Bill Fox (“Bill Fox Remembered for Service and Joyful Spirit,” spring 2014) concluded his service at Emory, it started: his retirement “plan.”

What should retirement look like for someone of Bill’s station? Answer: exotic travel, service on boards, consulting with corporations and foundations, more time with family, and fattening up his dear dogs. 

Bill did all those things, including his impressive work with the Center for Humanistic Inquiry at Emory—named for him and Carol—but that is not what he said he would do.

Why am I harping? What does it matter? Because what he said he would do reveals the real spirit of the man.

He said that he was going to work as a greeter at Wal-Mart. Most people, in response, laughed and never thought about it again. But I couldn’t let it go because he couldn’t let it go.

So, why did he say it? A) It was funny. B) He was humble. C) He knew that the mighty fall. In the end, even exotic travel and board service is a “fall” for a man so central to Emory’s work for so many years. D) He would be un-commonly good at greeting. E)All of the above.

Like many people in high places, he wondered if we would still love him once he traded his suits for a uniform, his warm handshake for a cart, his donor dinners for a cafeteria stool.

The answer, Bill, is yes, and I hope like hell that you knew that.  

Susan Carini 04G, Executive director, Emory Creative Group
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