Two Emory nursing students work with a patient


From students who spend a year working among local refugee populations, to millions of dollars’ worth of indigent health care throughout metro Atlanta, to innovative service-learning programs that send students across the globe, Emory is deeply enmeshed in its surrounding community—and the world as a whole.

100 patients per weekend. Emory medical and nursing students assist with health screenings and other services in Clarkston, a small town that has welcomed more than 40,000+ refugees in the past 25 years.

Since 1915, when Emory was granted its university charter, we’ve been intimately connected with our hometown. That connection is stronger than ever today, with our annexation into the city of Atlanta, as well as our status as the second-largest employer and an economic engine for the region.

In our stewardship of our physical campus and deep commitment to sustainability, Emory has proven to be a responsible and productive member of the Atlanta community, with an aggressive plan to become a zero-waste campus and a ride-sharing program that vastly reduces our carbon footprint.

Across the greater Atlanta area, our expanding network of hospitals, clinics, and health care practitioners welcomes all who need our care. The collective influence and contributions of Emory faculty, staff, students, and alumni are considerable, thanks to those who serve on local nonprofit boards or philanthropic and civic organizations. A deep vein of volunteerism runs through Emory, inspiring us to join known causes and mobilize to address new ones.

Areas of alumni volunteerism chart
Areas of alumni volunteerism: 45% Education; 31% Health; 30% Religion; 28% Community Development; 20% Arts, Culture, Humanities; 16% Human and Civil Rights; 16% Human Services; 11% Political Advocacy; 10% Environment; 10% Animals; 6% International; 6% Research and Public Policy

Globally, Emory’s impact is just as far-reaching. Our collaborations with Atlanta-based institutions such as U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Task Force for Global Health, The Carter Center, and CARE produce boundary-defying work that serves humanity and strives to improve conditions—locally and in countries around the world.

Metro Atlanta Partnerships

  • The Carter Center
  • Delta Airlines
  • American Cancer Society
  • Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta
  • Atlanta VA Medical Center
  • The Coca-Cola Company
  • Center for Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Georgia Research Alliance
  • Atlanta Regional Commission
  • Central Atlanta Progress
  • Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce
  • DeKalb Chamber of Commerce
  • Regional Business Coalition of Metropolitan Atlanta
  • Clarkston Community Health Center
  • Atlanta Braves
  • Atlanta Falcons
  • Atlanta Hawks
  • Morehouse School of Medicine
  • WABE
  • Georgia State University
  • Atlanta Public Schools
  • The Zeist Foundation
  • The SunTrust Foundation
  • The Turner Foundation
  • Georgia Clinical and Translational Science Alliance
  • Atlanta Committee for Progress
  • Georgia Bio
  • The O. Wayne Rollins Foundation
  • Clifton Community Partnership
  • Start:ME
  • The Robert W. Woodruff Foundation
  • Atlanta Science Festival
  • Grady Memorial Hospital
  • The Marcus Foundation
  • Georgia School-Based Health Alliance
  • RCE Greater Atlanta
  • The Ray C. Anderson Foundation
  • Atlanta Studies
  • Atlanta Urban Debate League
  • Southwest Airlines
  • Alliance Theatre
  • The Goizueta Foundation
  • The James M. Cox Foundation and Cox Enterprises
  • Refugee and Immigrant Health and Wellness Alliance of Atlanta

All That Collective Effort Can Achieve

15 - number of years that Emory Cares International Service Day has carried out projects in Atlanta, other U.S. cities, and internationally

Emory's mission to “create, preserve, teach, and apply knowledge in the service of humanity” actually begins close to home.

Through Volunteer Emory and other programs, more than 80 percent of Emory undergraduates participate in community service during their academic experience—both in metro Atlanta and in the area around Oxford College—from planting trees to feeding the homeless to building houses with Habitat for Humanity. And Emory’s Community Building and Social Change Fellows provided more than 2,000 service hours to Atlanta-based projects in 2018.

The Community Building and Social Change Fellowship has shaped my aspirations and future plans more than anything else in college.

Jason Sell 16C

In early 2018, Emory succeeded in its efforts to annex into Atlanta, strengthening that bond even more. In addition to bringing millions of tax dollars to the capital city, the move will allow the vibrant Clifton Corridor—which runs through the heart of the campus and stands as one of the region’s major employment hubs—to connect Emory with metro Atlanta’s public transit system via light rail.

Sustainability at Emory
Goals: January 2019, achieve 79% landfill waste diversion; By 2025, 75% local or sustainable food served on campus. Ongoing: Shuttle system eliminates 3 million car trips per year; runs on biofuel made from used cooking oil on campus; 4 million+ gross square feet of LEED-certified building space; Piedmont Project, nationally recognized program training faculty to incorporate sustainability into their research and curriculum

Taking a leading role regarding local sustainability, Emory diverts nearly 70 percent of campus waste from area landfills, and its cutting-edge WaterHub—the first system of its kind in the United States—is capable of recycling up to 400,000 gallons per day, nearly 40 percent of Emory’s total water needs. More than 28 of our buildings have been built or renovated to LEED standards. Given that building construction and maintenance accounts for nearly half of all US greenhouse gas emissions, this commitment positively impacts our local and global community.

Among a growing list of honors, Emory's WaterHub received the Innovation Award from the International District Energy Association (IDEA).
The Michael C. Carlos Museum features art and artifacts from five continents and welcomes more than 100,000 visitors each year, including 30,000 area schoolchildren.

Not only does the university do good outside our campus, but we invite the community in, with one-of-a-kind exhibits at the Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library and Michael C. Carlos Museum, in addition to lectures, film screenings, arts performances, and other events open to the public.

Emory also partners with international, Atlanta-based businesses such as Delta Air Lines and The Coca-Cola Company, as well as bringing in local entrepreneurs to train the next generation of world leaders and innovators with a global perspective.

alt="The 2019 Emory Medalists, David Adelman 89L and Richard Hubert 60L, have worked for the global good."

Globally and locally, Emory’s faculty experts are valuable resources for helping people understand the world around them on a diverse range of topics, from corporate tax policy to infectious diseases to bioethics. Our distinguished faculty includes five members of the National Academy of Sciences, 32 members of the National Academy of Medicine, eight fellows of the National Academy of Inventors, and the newly elected president of the American Educational Research Association. And our reach extends beyond classroom walls, with a robust online education program offering hundreds of courses taken by hundreds of thousands of students around the world.

Emory advances peace and health worldwide in partnership with The Carter Center and, through collaborative research with organizations such as Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Atlanta VA Medical Center, we are leading the way to lifesaving medical breakthroughs.

Emory’s global footprint is carved by the contributions of faculty, students, alumni, and staff who help realize the vision of “One Emory” on campus and abroad. Together, we advance research and impact on a global scale.

Provost Dwight A. McBride
Emory spent 558.8 million dollars in community benefits in fiscal year 2018 to improve the health care of Georgians.

Perhaps our greatest contribution to the local community comes through Emory Healthcare, the most comprehensive health system in Georgia with 11 hospitals, 250 outpatient locations, and more than 2,800 physicians concentrating in 70 different subspecialties. Annually, Emory clinicians are responsible for 7.7 million patient service visits. Emory Autism Center’s partnership with Georgia schools and families helps support students with Autism Spectrum Disorder. And we’re especially proud that a quarter of all practicing physicians in Georgia trained at Emory, an impact felt by patients representing every walk of life, from professional athletes to migrant farmworkers.

The underserved in Atlanta are also our focus. The Urban Health Initiative, started by two Emory doctors, addresses health disparities in the Atlanta community, including access to health and wellness screenings, obesity, preterm birth, and smoking prevention. From helping contain the Zika threat to responding to climate change to reducing child mortality in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, our reach and influence are growing.

Our global strategy is designed to equip students to meet the opportunities and challenges of an increasingly interconnected society, empower faculty to lead and influence global scholarship and research, and earn our claim—every day—to being a university dedicated to transforming the world for the better.

Whether you want to teach, learn, care for people, pursue research, or connect, Emory is the place for those who wish to advance the greater good in our shared community.

Alumni Building Community

Service is clearly in the Emory DNA, as more than 81,000 alumni continue the practice by volunteering regularly in their communities at a rate nearly double the national average. And about one-third of our alumni elect to remain in the Atlanta metropolitan area, enriching their communities as tomorrow’s leaders in business and industry, the arts, churches, courtrooms, social services agencies, and health care. Here are three members of that impressive cohort.

Taking Commitment to the Tenth Power

Sandra Kwak 04C left a career in Silicon Valley after working with farmers in Nicaragua and "seeing the life-and-death difference that a single watt of electricity can make for an individual.

Sandra Kwak 04C left a career in Silicon Valley after working with farmers in Nicaragua and "seeing the life-and-death difference that a single watt of electricity can make for an individual."

Sandra Kwak 04C is the CEO and founder of 10Power, a company providing commercial-grade renewable energy internationally to communities that lack access to electricity. In Haiti, 10Power has provided project development and financing for solar water-purification centers, health organizations, and major international organizations.

At Emory, Kwak earned a BA in political science and visual arts, and she credits Emory for deepening her interest in helping others, saying, “In many ways, my journey through Emory helped seed some of the inspiration driving me today.” Working for justice on a number of fronts as an undergraduate left her, notes Kwak, “unafraid to speak truth to power. Over time I have recognized that I can’t swim against the stream and change the system but have to climb out of the river and start building a new tributary to divert the flow.”

“Net” Profit for a Great Cause

Justin Resnick 12B, a former member of the Emory men's basketball team, has been able to combine his love of the sport with helping others.

Justin Resnick 12B, a former member of the Emory men's basketball team, has been able to combine his love of the sport with helping others.

When 1,000 people gathered in March at Jericho Senior High School in Jericho, New York, for the 12th-annual Alley Oop for Autism, that was a crowd worth noting; the town itself has fewer than 15,000 residents. And the organizer is worth noting as well: Justin Resnick 12B, who started this fundraiser when he was a high school junior, inspired by the work that his mother, a special education teacher, does with autistic children.

Resnick created a tournament that includes children and adult players who compete together. It even has star power, with former NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason and former New York Giants defensive tackle Jay Bromley attending the event previously. This year’s event raised $125,000 for the Family Center for Autism in Garden City, New York, and the Anderson Center for Autism in Staatsburg, New York. The total raised in the event’s history tops $1 million.

Raising a Family and a Nation

Shelvis Smith-Mather 06T 07T and Nancy Smith-Mather 08T with their son, Jordan Eman. The Smith-Mathers take a two-pronged approach to their work: undertake authentic community engagement with the Sudanese in a way that allows real dialogue and relay their community's problems to those with the resources to help.

Shelvis Smith-Mather 06T 07T and Nancy Smith-Mather 08T with their children. The Smith-Mathers take a two-pronged approach to their work: undertake authentic community engagement with the Sudanese in a way that allows real dialogue and relay their community’s problems to those with the resources to help.

Shelvis Smith-Mather 06T 07T and his wife, Nancy Smith-Mather 08T, have spent nearly a decade working for RECONCILE International, a Christian organization helping communities heal from decades of war. Their call to South Sudan came in 2008 during their service year in Kenya as Young Adult Volunteers with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The decades-long civil war that preceded the Republic of South Sudan’s split from Sudan created deep schisms among ethnic groups in the poverty-stricken region, yet the couple saw glimmers of hope.

When their first child was born seven weeks early in country, there was deep concern about the ability to get him the care he needed; South Sudan recently had been labeled “the worst place in the world to give birth.” The town’s only incubator and a “homemade” CPAP machine sustained him until he could be transferred to Kenya, where he improved. However, that event—scary though it was—did not cause the couple to leave South Sudan. “We want to continue to follow the hope of making a difference,” Nancy says.

Read On

Emory's vision statement calls on community members to work collaboratively to achieve positive change locally and globally. From faculty to staff to students to alumni, it is a call that is resoundingly answered.

The Learning Fields: Students Care for Georgia’s Migrant Farmworkers

Emory is home to two successful migrant health programs—one led by the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, the other by the Physician Assistant Program in the School of Medicine. Both can be life-changing for students and farmworkers alike.

Read More: Coming Together to Improve Health
Farm workers pick crops in a field

Summer of Service

When Emory students talk about what they did on their summer vacations, their responses are simple but profound: Connect with a community. Make a difference. Change a life.

The Scholarship and Service Summer Program and the D. Abbott Turner Program for Ethics and Servant Leadership Summer Internship program are just two of many university programs that promote engaged learning.

Read More: Coming Together to Make Summer Special
Young children surround a table and listen as a smiling woman shows them plants.

Healing on the Homefront: How Emory Serves Veterans

The Emory Healthcare Veterans Program is one of four national programs that are part of the Warrior Care Network, providing clinical and family-centered treatment to veterans suffering from PTSD, as well as military sexual trauma, traumatic brain injury, depression, anxiety, and related conditions.

And as one of 18 competitively selected U.S. nursing schools chosen by the Department of Veterans Affairs, Emory's Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing is training the next generation of nurses to provide the care our veterans need.

Read More: Coming Together to Help Our Veterans
A man in military uniform salutes during Emory's annual Veterans Day ceremony.

A Unique Collaboration: Emory + The Carter Center

In a partnership that spans more than 35 years, Emory and The Carter Center have transformed the landscapes of higher education and NGOs—all while addressing some of the most challenging global problems. Coordinated work on the part of The Carter Center and Emory has resolved conflict, advanced democracy and human rights, prevented disease, and improved mental health care.

As President Carter noted at the outset of the agreement, “We formed a marriage with Emory, and it’s worked out quite well. We have increasing access to a tremendous academic institution with research and a reservoir of knowledge and experience that’s equal to any in the nation. On the other hand, Emory has access to an organization that is extremely active in dealing with the very subjects that are taught there.”

Read More: Coming Together on the World Stage
Jimmy Carter

Stepping Up: Alumni Service to Their Communities

Emory attracts socially engaged students, encouraging them to lead in building programs to address the issues they care about most. And when they leave, Emory graduates do extraordinary things.

Says Sarah Cook 95C, senior associate vice president for alumni engagement, “We attract students who consider service a part of their academic calling, encourage and cultivate that spirit while they are on campus, and support those efforts when they leave.”

Read More: Coming Together in Local Communities
Emory University entrance wall with students walking to class