A resounding 'yes'

Lawrence and Ann Klamon

by Pam Auchmutey

Lawrence and Ann Klamon didn't think twice when asked to lead Campaign Emory for the RSPH



Table of Contents


Public Health Magazine


If it weren't for snow and The Wall Street Journal, Lawrence Klamon might never have come south, met his wife Ann, or become a fan of the RSPH.

A young attorney, Klamon had just returned from a business trip when he picked up the newspaper and saw an advertisement for a general counsel position in Georgia, far away from the cold, wet winters in New York City. The ad led to a meeting with Fuqua Industries founder J.B. Fuqua, who convinced Klamon to join his young company. Klamon would serve more than two decades with what became a Fortune 500 conglomerate, eventually becoming president and CEO.

Today, Klamon and his wife Ann have taken on the responsibility of growing another enterprise as  RSPH co-chairs for Campaign Emory, the university's $1.6 billion fund-raising effort. Together, the Klamons are helping the school raise $150 million by 2012 to support faculty recruitment, research and teaching, student scholarships, and facilities.


Not long after the  RSPH was established in 1990, Larry Klamon joined the Dean's Council, whose members serve as school ambassadors. Although Klamon didn't know much about the  RSPH at first, he became hooked after listening to faculty and students talk about their research and field experiences. When the school asked him to chair the Dean's Council, he agreed. Ann Klamon, 65C, 76L, joined the council as well.

"I was fascinated by the subject matter and the relevance to health at every level, from local to global," says Ann, retired vice president for executive banking with SunTrust Bank. "The mission of the school resonated with me strongly. That's why I feel very positive about giving time and effort to the school and the campaign."

After graduating from Emory College, Ann Estes taught high school briefly and traveled through Europe for a year with a friend. She was working in the psychiatry department at Emory when she decided to expand her career options by earning a law degree and subsequently worked in the Georgia Office of the Attorney General before joining SunTrust Bank. She met Larry Klamon through a law school classmate. In addition to sharing professional interests, they were bound by a passion for community service. "It's in my blood," says Ann. "It's something I've always done, and Larry too."

Ann, for example, serves with the Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS) Foundation, which provides scholarships to U.S. students in science, medicine, and engineering. ARCS supports two RSPH doctoral students in epidemiology and other students at Emory. This past summer, the Klamons were elected to the board of directors for the Piedmont Hospital Foundation. Ann also serves on the board for Camp Sunshine and is a former board member with the Atlanta Botanical Garden, the Georgia Conservancy, and the Girls Preparatory School, her high school alma mater in Chattanooga. At Emory, she helped establish a mentoring program for undergraduate women in the college.

"Emory has always called me back to help with various initiatives," says Ann. "I love the place. Emory has great leadership, and I've always wanted to be involved with that."


Although Larry didn't attend Emory, he has strong ties to the university through Ann and his children. Both of his sons hold degrees from Goizueta Business School, and his daughter graduated from Oxford College. He has served on the Goizueta Advisory Council and the university's Board of Visitors. Outside of Emory, he has served on multiple boards and remains active in the Atlanta Rotary, Yale Law School, and Washington University in St. Louis, which presented him with a distinguished alumni award in 1985.

Through their volunteer leadership, the Klamons have formed long-lasting ties with a variety of organizations and people who share their interest in serving others. Those connections will serve the RSPH well as they help advance Campaign Emory.

"Chairing the campaign for the RSPH is a major task," says Larry, "but our job is made easier because the school has great leadership and programs that touch people in all kinds of ways."

Like a rocket

Through the Dean's Council, for instance, members learn about the vast range of  RSPH initiatives in areas such as diabetes, cancer, and safe water. "While the school's scope is worldwide, there are significant public health issues right here in Georgia—AIDS, diabetes, obesity," says Ann. "Those topics resonate personally with most everyone on the Dean's Council because they often affect someone the members know."

"If people are exposed to what the school does and the kinds of issues it addresses, it's not a hard sell to get them to support the school," adds Larry. "The challenge is getting the word out so that people know about the school."

The rapid growth of the RSPH in recent years appeals to his business sense. "The school has taken off like a rocket. It's 18 years old and already ranked 7th in the nation," he says. "It's been able to attract world-class faculty to enhance teaching and research. Enrollment has tripled in recent years, with students doing field work around the world and collaborating locally with the CDC, CARE, and other partners. As a result, the school has grown dramatically and outstripped the Grace Crum Rollins Building. That's why the school has a new building under construction."

The Klamons attribute the school's growth to the leadership of Dean James Curran, Kathryn Graves, associate dean for development and external relations, and other leaders. "If they weren't there, I don't think we would be either," says Larry. "We augment them. Look at what's happened to the endowment in the time that Jim Curran has been here. It's gone from something like $3 million to more than $50 million."

Thus far, the RSPH has raised a significant amount for Campaign Emory—more than $110 million of its $150 million goal. But much work remains.

"We've been fortunate because the school is already two-thirds of the way toward its goal, thanks to the $50 million gift from the Rollins family for the Claudia Nance Rollins Building and other significant gifts," says Larry. "We need to focus on smaller gifts and getting the word out to more people outside the school."

That's where the Klamons and other members of the RSPH Campaign Committee—more than a dozen of the school's key volunteer leaders—come in as they connect and reconnect with others to spread the word about the school's mission and its plans for the future.

"The hardest part of the campaign lies ahead. But we're off to a great start and well on our way," says Larry. "Ann and I are confident that we will get there."