“The future begins now. The future begins with you. These words from President Gregory L. Fenves echoed throughout the Quad at last week’s conference. Campaign 2O36 launch celebration. During her speech, Fenves encouraged the entire community to reflect on their role in shaping the future of Emory, Atlanta, and the world.
“Emory is a world class institution and we are set to write a new chapter in the history of our university,” Fenves told attendees at the Oct. 22 event. “The 2O36 campaign is about forging partnerships with our supporters and donors to invest in our people, who will shape our destiny.”
Named for Emory’s bicentennial, 2O36 is about investing in people for the good of the people. In addition to the priorities in the nine schools, several centers and institutes and Emory Healthcare, the campaign will place particular emphasis on three main areas:
- Booming student: Seeing students realize their potential; prepare them for a life of accomplishment beyond graduation; provide an inclusive environment; valuing each student and enabling them to excel in their studies and in all aspects of their life.
- Eminence of the Faculty: Recruit and retain a diverse and leading faculty; investing in big ideas and faculty scholarships and creating a campus where all faculty have the resources and infrastructure to thrive in their research, teaching and service.
- Research excellence: Launch the next era of Emory excellence in research and discovery to answer the most pressing questions and meet the critical needs of the nation and communities Emory serves.
On the main stage of the launch event, faculty, staff and students shared their unique reasons for giving to the university.
Jagdish Sheth, a marketing professor chaired by Charles H. Kellstadt, told the crowd that Emory enabled him to grow from his childhood in Burma (now Myanmar) to being a university professor. Sheth said teaching is his calling and he shared a business anecdote to emphasize the message.
“If you take a grain of wheat and make a loaf of bread out of it, the added value of the commodity is only about three times,” Sheth said. “If you take a rough diamond, a good diamond cutter will increase the value by about 20 times. However, if you take a human being and mentor, nurture and educate, the added value is endless. I am living proof.
For Edjah Nduom, neurosurgical oncologist and associate professor in the department of neurosurgery, Emory has paired him with mentors who have helped him realize his potential. Nduom came to Emory in 2006 to do a residency in neurosurgery. He said that Dr Nelson Oyesiku, Dr Mollie Winston-Barrow and department head Dr Daniel Barrow helped him secure a research grant from the National Institutes of Health. Giving back to Emory allowed him to return the favor.
“I have been invited to contribute to a fund for the Daniel Louis Barrow Endowment Chair. A few months later, I learned that Nelson would be the first winner, ”said Nduom. “With a gift, I was able to honor my two Emory mentors, without whom I would not have walked the path that eventually led me here.”
Rachel Ding, President of the Student Government Association, spoke about the student experience, citing the opening of Emory’s very first Asian Student Identity Space as a point of pride. She explained that she presented herself as a way to give back to the Emory community for helping her find her voice. She shared her experience as a student leader over the past year.
“I wasn’t prepared for the politics of the job, the number of sleepless nights I should be spending, or the truly unprecedented task of leading my student body during a destructive global pandemic,” said Ding, who is a senior pursuing studies in finance and international studies. “But by accepting, rather than avoiding, these difficult situations, I was able to develop self-confidence, persistence and courage.”
This sense of courage inspired Anita Paye, Assistant Vice President for Financial Administration and Initiatives. She listed Emory’s recent achievements in breast cancer research, the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and the expansion of the Goizueta Business School. John Lewis Racial Justice Competition.
“Every day that I spend at Emory, I discover the flavors of a rich culture, I relish my involvement in a caring community and I rejoice to be part of an institution that supports faculty, students, researchers and the staff in their common goal of making this world a better place, together, ”said Paye.
To that end, Fenves announced that the campaign will add 154 endowed faculty, doubling the current number in an underfunded field. He also stressed the importance of reinventing and increasing support for students by creating more scholarships, reorganizing career guidance services and doubling mental health and well-being.
Fenves concluded by saying, “With the partnership of our biggest supporters, student success becomes flourishing for students; to compete with the best becomes to be the best; and having a breakthrough in research becomes having the research breakthrough that changes an entire field. With the success of this campaign, in 2036 we will be a peerless research university in a class of its own.