Putting knowledge to work

Circus-style acrobats portray Emory's ideals.

Circus-style acrobats explore the idea of courageous inquiry to help launch Campaign Emory. 

Emory launches its most ambitious fund-raising campaign ever to improve lives and health



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Public Health Magazine


Together, the university and the RSPH launched a new era this fall with Campaign Emory. With a goal of $1.6 billion, the campaign is destined to bring about what Emory President James Wagner calls "positive transformation" in society at home and abroad.

"Campaign Emory will help us put knowledge to work," Wagner told alumni and friends during the kickoff gala. "With your support, we will endow chairs to recruit and retain the best faculty. We will provide scholarships for the best students, including students who couldn't afford to come here otherwise. Resources for this campaign will launch programs that change the lives and health of people in Atlanta and around the world."

Wagner's words reflect both the mission and aspirations of the RSPH as it seeks to raise $150 million for faculty research and teaching, student scholarships and programs, and facilities. Thus far, the RSPH has raised more than $110 million and the university $856 million since Campaign Emory began quietly three years ago.

campaign graphic

Scheduled to run through 2012, the campaign not only will transform Emory's campus and programs but also raise public awareness about research, education, and community endeavors. Campaign goals are tied to the university's strategic plan, "Where Courageous Inquiry Leads," set in 2005.

"What drives us is the urgency to show what we know, to care for communities at home and abroad, to discover solutions to difficult problems, and to give something back to a world that has given us so much," said Sonny Deriso Jr., 68C, 72L, Campaign Emory chair.

The RSPH has built considerable momentum for the campaign aided by school and volunteer leaders, including Lawrence and Ann Estes Klamon, 65C, 76L, RSPH campaign co-chairs, and Virginia Bales Harris, 71C, 77MPH, alumni chair.

In celebrating the campaign launch, circus-style acrobats performed "Enquérir," a five-act journey exploring the idea of courageous inquiry. Magically, the performers portrayed nurture, ethics, and other themes behind the campaign.

"There have been many transformational points in Emory's history, times when the university had the courage to reach for that next rung on the ladder," said Wagner. "This is one of those points. We know who we are and what we want to become. We also know that what got us where we are today will not be sufficient to get us where we want to go."

amy rollins kreisler

The campaign celebration also honored alumni and friends committed to transforming the university. Thus far, the two largest gifts to date include $261.5 million from the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation to the university for expansion of its health care facilities and $50 million from the O. Wayne Rollins Foundation and the Rollins family for a second RSPH building, now under construction. The new building is named for Claudia Nance Rollins, the mother of the late O. Wayne Rollins. Through the years, O. Wayne and his family have made major gifts to Emory for theology, medical research, and public health.

"We are delighted to be part of the continued growth at Emory," said Amy Rollins Kreisler, executive director of the Rollins Foundation. "As a family, we have strived to continue my grandfather's vision to improve people's lives. We would not be able to do so if it were not for the students, faculty, and staff of the Rollins School of Public Health who work hard every day to improve lives around the globe."