News Release: Research

Oct. 15,  2008

Michael A. Watson Named Foundation of Wesley Woods President and CEO

The Board of the Foundation of Wesley Woods has named long-time fundraising and campaign executive Michael A. Watson as president and CEO.

The Foundation of Wesley Woods is the connection point between the generosity of supporters in the community and the diverse and high level of care provided by Wesley Woods Center of Emory University.

"Michael's past success and strong connections in the Atlanta area will allow the Foundation to continue its mission of helping people age in healthy, ethical and affordable ways," says Al Blackwelder, chief operating officer for Wesley Woods Center. "We're excited about the future."

Watson has 35 years of experience in both higher education and corporate sectors with organizations including BellSouth Corporation and Auburn University. Most recently he served as the co-chair of the Atlanta Campaign for Auburn University's "It Begins at Auburn" Capital Campaign. Prior to this, he was responsible for the operations, management and giving strategy of the BellSouth Corporation's Corporate Foundation and for a volunteer corps of 100,000 employees and retirees from nine Southeastern states. Watson has also served in the United States Navy for four years as a supply corps officer.

"We are on the cusp of an exciting and challenging time for seniors, and I'm excited about leading the Foundation of Wesley Woods into the future," says Watson. "The looming baby boomer bubble will provide challenges for the Foundation of Wesley Woods we have not yet experienced. I am confident we can meet those challenges and, along with Wesley Woods Senior Living, Wesley Woods Center and Emory Healthcare, continue as the leader in senior care in Atlanta and the Southeast."

Watson, who earned a bachelor's degree in history from Auburn University, is a member of Smyrna First United Methodist Church where he has been involved in a variety of activities and leadership positions. 

"Michael's experience as a fundraiser and president and CEO of the Bellsouth Corporate Foundations, along with his commitment to the ministries of Wesley Woods, places him in the perfect position to continue the tremendous work of the Foundation's support of those elderly served," says Ken Weber, president and CEO of Wesley Woods Senior Living. Weber served as the interim president and CEO of the Foundation during the search for the new president.

"Michael was a good choice by the foundation board," says Merritt Bond, chairman of the Foundation of Wesley Woods Board. "His past experience and passion for fundraising will allow the Foundation to continue to serve seniors in Georgia."

About the Foundation of Wesley Woods

Founded in 1954 by leaders of the North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church and Emory University, the Foundation of Wesley Woods partners with Wesley Woods Center and Emory Healthcare to help people age in healthy, affordable and ethical ways through a program of service, education and research in seven facilities in North Georgia and the residential-medical complex on Clifton Road in Atlanta. The Foundation of Wesley Woods is the connection point between the generosity of supporters in the community, and the practical, life-changing work for which Wesley Woods is respected and renowned. Through the Foundation of Wesley Woods, significant charitable care is extended to those whose assets have been consumed by medical bills or by simply outliving their savings. Millions of dollars a year are contributed for unreimbursed and charitable care. Just as importantly, the Foundation provides vital support for specific Wesley Woods programs, including some of the most consequential research initiatives underway anywhere in the world on geriatric health issues.


The Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center of Emory University is an academic health science and service center focused on missions of teaching, research, health care and public service. Its components include schools of medicine, nursing, and public health; Yerkes National Primate Research Center; the Emory Winship Cancer Institute; and Emory Healthcare, the largest, most comprehensive health system in Georgia. The Woodruff Health Sciences Center has a $2.3 billion budget, 17,000 employees, 2,300 full-time and 1,900 affiliated faculty, 4,300 students and trainees, and a $4.9 billion economic impact on metro Atlanta.

Learn more about Emory’s health sciences:
Twitter: @emoryhealthsci

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