A good old shoe-in for our affection

To a person, they keep their words simple: "We wish to honor him somehow. He more than deserves it."

The friend, the colleague, the fellow Emory trustee they describe is, of course, Robert Strickland. Even on a board filled with notable business and community leaders, the void his death created in November 1994 is discernible.

To celebrate this man who "more than deserves" honor from the Emory community, a scholarship fund has been established. The Robert Strickland Scholarship Fund was the idea of Trustee James B. Carson Jr. '61B, who began writing letters to fellow board members in October 1994. Carson made his case this way: "There is no better time to honor Bob Strickland for his leadership. He has served as chairman for fifteen of his nineteen years on the board, and his chairmanship of the highly successful search that brought Bill Chace to Emory is only one in a long list of his accomplishments."

Carson--chairman of Carter and Associates, a commercial real estate service--says response to his letters, which also were sent to emeritus trustees and members of the business community, "was immediate and touching." To Carson (whose first and second jobs in the 1960s were at Trust Company Bank, where Strickland made his mark for so many years), "Bob was a wonderful friend and mentor."

Owing to Strickland's extensive ties to Emory and the business community, the scholarship fund is based at the Roberto C. Goizueta Business School. One clear appeal of this fund is that, because it is a scholarship, its effect will be felt for generations. The business school will award scholarships to MBA students who are academically qualified but financially unable to attend. Each year, these scholars will attend a dinner with Strickland's wife, Tatty, and her family as a continuing testimony to Strickland's life.

"Goizueta Business School is very gratified to be the recipient of a scholarship fund in honor of such a distinguished business leader and humanitarian," said Dean Ronald E. Frank. "Through this fund, we will be able to continue in perpetuity Robert Strickland's tremendous support of quality education. His inspiration will live on forever."

Trustee, chairman of the Campaign for Emory, and former chairman and CEO of Citizens and Southern Bank, John McIntyre was a natural to do the math regarding giving goals and reasonable rates of annual spending. According to McIntyre, "Bob was preeminent in the business world, and in the city of Atlanta, all his adult life. He clearly saw the need and fostered the hope that more Emory students would participate in the business life of Atlanta. This scholarship fund will make that possible."

The fund received its impetus from President Emeritus James T. Laney, who gave a gift last year while visiting Emory from South Korea. Following his lead--and keeping the pace of giving vigorous to the present--have been staffers of Trust Company and SunTrust banks, members of Strickland's golf group, and a variety of Emory associates who each has communicated respect for the way Strickland guided Emory through an unprecedented period of growth and change.

Two weeks after Strickland's death, the scholarship fund received what is perhaps the most impressive contribution of all: a gift of stock from Strickland himself worth more than $100,000. Gifts of similar stature have followed, notably from J. David Allen '66C-'70D-'75MSD and his wife Beverly '68C, who made a recent $100,000 pledge. As a new board member in 1992, Allen was impressed with Strickland's faithfulness to Emory and his dogged record of making appearances at any event that was important to the University's interests.

Both Jim Carson and John McIntyre look forward to enlarging the appeal, but without--they emphatically agree--hoopla or fanfare. The gesture that one makes in giving to this fund is necessarily understated, a quiet nod of appreciation to a man who shall be missed. So loyal are those who watched Strickland at work that Carson anticipates repeat gifts.

Recognizing the limits of characterization but wanting to shape a lasting image of his longtime associate, Jim Carson said of Strickland, "I would cite three qualities--three from a much-longer list. First was his integrity; second, his abiding sense of humor, even as he suffered during the course of his last illness; and third, his humility. In this last regard, he was very much the good old shoe."

That "good old shoe" walked many a mile for Emory, enlarging the University's access to and recognition by the wider world. Soon following in his footsteps will be generations of business school alumni, grateful to Robert Strickland both for making their educations at Emory possible and for providing the highest standard of leadership by which they can measure themselves.--S.M.C.

Contributions to the Strickland Scholarship Fund should be sent to:

Vice President William H. Fox
209 Administration Building
Emory University
Atlanta, Georgia 30322

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