Power of Two

Turman Award winners have an `alliance based on love and service'

Dynamic Duo: Luke and Susan Gregory receive one of the highest alumni honors.
Tom Brodnax 65OX 68C

As the joint recipients of the Emory Alumni Association's 2016 J. Pollard Turman Alumni Service Award, Susan Atkinson Gregory 77OX 79C and Luke Gregory 76OX 78C are an alliance based on love and service.

“We’re really a partnership, so when one of us volunteers for something, you get two for one,” Luke Gregory says.

The Turman Award, which was established in honor of influential humanitarian J. Pollard Turman 34C 36L, is one of the highest alumni awards given by the Emory Alumni Association (EAA). The Gregorys, active members of the Nashville chapter of the EAA, have chaired and participated in major Emory alumni events in their hometown, volunteered for the Emory Admission Network, and mentored current and potential Emory and Oxford students. The couple also supports student scholarship at Oxford and led efforts to endow the Michael S. Overstreet Scholarship Fund to honor the memory of Michael Overstreet 76OX 78B and provide the Oxford experience to new generations of students.

Luke Gregory’s parents, John and Sara Gregory, both taught at Oxford and Susan Gregory recalls her in-laws’ dedication to help students afford college.

“One summer I watched them writing letter after letter trying to raise the money for a scholarship for a student. I worked at Oxford at the time, I was maybe 21 or 22, and I remember thinking that I would love to . . . create scholarships so people could get an education where they wanted. I really saw how Oxford, then Emory, changed people’s lives,” she says.

The couple’s parents benefitted from scholarships when they went to college during the Great Depression, and Luke Gregory says they understand their own success was rooted in the willingness of others to help.

“It is part of what we consider the best philanthropy that can occur, to reach out and help lift that next student. That student who benefits understands that and can then return to the community another gift.”

The Turman Award comes with a $25,000 gift that the Gregorys have designated to the Gregory-Rackley Faculty Career Development Award, established by alumnus Gene Rackley 55OX 58B in honor of John Gregory to help faculty members who will shape the lives of countless students.

“Susan and I had many teachers who opened up a world to us and who encouraged us to challenge things and that has become part of our interest and service,” Gregory says.

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