Los Angeles may be the city of angels, but it’s hard to know who your friends are in Tinseltown.

“All the stereotypes you hear about L.A. are true,” says Curley Bonds ’87C (below), president of the Los Angeles chapter of the Association of Emory Alumni. “This is a city of transplants, and it can be very hard to make solid connections, real friends. It really does help to feel like you have a genuine connection with someone.”

Connecting with friendly faces who share a common bond is one of the primary purposes of the L.A. alumni chapter, which has seen a surge of growth and activity in recent months. Bonds, a psychiatrist who works with heart-transplant patients at a major cardiac center, has been in L.A. since 1992 and was recently made president of the group. He and his partner live in Santa Monica.

“So far, it’s been really fun,” says Bonds, over breakfast at a favorite Third Street diner. “There’s a core group of about fifteen people who have really expressed a lot of interest. This is a town where everyone is young, so there are a lot of young alumni here. People seem very enthusiastic about showing support for the Emory club.”

There are reportedly some twelve hundred Emory alumni living in the Los Angeles area, but the size and sprawling nature of the city make it challenging to plan events at central locations, Bonds says. Still, leaders of the chapter, including Staci Weiss ’97C, who keeps tabs on young L.A. alumni, are aiming to offer five events a year. They have held parties at Beverly Hills Porsche, owned by Geoff Emery ’86L, and at the home of West Wing screenwriter Mark Goffman ’90C. Chapter officers also organized an effort for Emory’s National Volunteer Day, working at an L.A. food bank, and attended the Regional Leadership Conference at Emory in November.

The Food Bank volunteer day was “kind of a continuation of something that was part of our Emory experience,” Bonds says. “This was like the L.A., grown-up version of Volunteer Emory, for people who enjoyed that.”

Bonds was one of those, as well as a Martin Luther King scholar, a leader in residence life (“my first introduction to counseling,” he says), editor of the Phoenix, and a member of the Stipe Society. “Emory was a great experience for me,” says Bonds, a native of Mobile, Alabama.

Emory is becoming more well-known on the West Coast, which is helping to promote the alumni chapter, according to Bonds–particularly among the young graduates in the area.

“I see young alumni as both our future and our present,” he says. “The other day, I was driving along and I saw a young, attractive person driving a nice car, and I looked, and they had an Emory alumni sticker on the window. I never used to see that. It was kind of exciting.”–P.P.P.


L.A. Alumni:

Kai Ryssdal ’85C

Mark Goffman ’90C

Zachary Hansen ’94C

Geoffrey Emery ’86L


© 2004 Emory University