Letter From The President

Fulfilling Emory’s Promise

a portrait of Gregory L. Fenves  President Emory University

Dear Emory alumni and friends of the university,

Just a few weeks ago, thousands of Emory graduates, family members, friends, faculty,  and alumni filled the historic Quad to celebrate the Class of 2022––the first time Commencement has been held on campus since I arrived at Emory. Beyond a celebration of remarkable student achievement––the speakers, including an unforgettable address by Tyler Perry, the awards, the bagpipers, and cheering families––this year’s gathering also held a far deeper significance.

After two years of heightened health protocols during the pandemic, our celebration was finally home, back to the traditional Commencement setting experienced by generations of Emory alumni.

Watching the procession of proud graduates, I saw the resilience and resolve that was required to adjust to lives upended by a pandemic. And yet, they adapted––learning both inside a classroom and on a laptop from home, discovering ways to connect with faculty and peers, and finding meaning in their experiences.

Seeing the joy that radiated from our new Emory alums, poised to launch their journeys, I reflected on everything that happened to create this day, across the past semester, the academic year, and throughout the disruptions of the past two years. And I was reminded of the determination of Emory faculty, staff, and students to keep the flame of our mission burning bright, to keep our university moving forward.

Emory University exists not only to create and share knowledge, but also to empower bold possibilities––discoveries that we can’t yet imagine, ideas that inspire progress, and breakthroughs designed to create a better world. In my time at Emory, I’ve seen that promise in so many ways:

  I saw it in the faces of dedicated public health faculty and students, who gathered earlier this year at the Rollins School of Public Health to learn about a landmark $100 million gift from the O. Wayne Rollins Foundation––the largest in the school’s history––to support faculty excellence and student flourishing.

  I hear it in the visionary plans of leaders who will join Emory this summer, including Gareth James, the next dean of Goizueta Business School, and Daniele Fallin, who will follow in the footsteps of the legendary James Curran as dean of the Rollins School of Public Health.

  I see it in the enthusiasm of alumni I’ve been meeting across the country this past year—listening to their dreams for Emory, stories, and concerns, and talking about how the goals of the 2O36 campaign will shape the future of our university.

• That same optimism and energy also abounds in the students I see every day––whether dropping by a symphony rehearsal, attending a celebration of student leadership, meeting the next generation of healers at Emory Match Day, or a sidewalk conversation on Wonderful Wednesday.

Our students have so much to offer, and I am committed to seeing our university provide an exceptional education that is within reach of all talented students, regardless of their backgrounds or financial resources.

That’s why, beginning this fall, Emory will eliminate need-based loans from the financial aid packages of domestic undergraduate students, replacing them with grants and scholarships. This will double the number of students eligible to receive loan-free financial aid, covering almost half of our undergraduate enrollment. The expanded Emory Advantage program will go far in reducing student debt, easing the transition from college to career for many.

Today, I’m looking across a Quad that is quiet and peaceful, the excitement of Commencement a recent memory, as the university takes a few moments to catch its breath. But it is a short break before we prepare for the next academic year, as we strive every day to achieve our promise and full potential.

For Emory graduates, the conclusion of their time on campus also marks a beginning, as each student––with heart and ambition––commences a lifetime of accomplishment, service, and impact.

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