Celebrating Emory's History

emory 175 history

Ajay Pillarisetti, Patricia Lottier, Isam Vaid, and Virginia Bales Harris attended the university’s 175th anniversary celebration, each wearing a gold medal presented to Emory makers of history.

The year 2011 ended in historic fashion when Emory observed its 175th anniversary.


Rebecca McQueen 79MPH had the honor of carrying the RSPH gonfalon during the opening and closing of the 175th anniversary convocation in Glenn Auditorium. McQueen is the first RSPH alumna to lead the Emory Alumni Association as president.

To mark the occasion, the university named 175 Emory makers of history, including nine leaders who are associated with Rollins.

Thomas Fort Sellers Sr. 32M 60H
A public health leader in Georgia for 42 years, Sellers invented a tool for diagnosing rabies. His son, Thomas F. Sellers Jr. 47C 50M, the former chair of Emory’s Department of Community Health, is an RSPH founding father.

Virginia Bales Harris 71C 77MPH
During her 35 years at CDC, Harris led important work in TB, breast and cervical cancer, stroke and heart disease, and smoking cessation. She also helped update the agency’s master building plan and secure funding for new facilities. Today, Harris serves on the RSPH Dean’s Council and as alumni chair for Campaign Emory.

Eugene Gangarosa
A world expert in waterborne diseases, Gangarosa joined Emory in 1982 to direct the community health program, which led to the school’s formation. He and his wife, Rose, established the Eugene J. Gangarosa Chair in Safe Water and the Rose Salamone Chair in Environmental Health to advance study in those areas.

Patricia Lottier 84MPH
A former nurse, Lottier and her husband took ownership of the Atlanta Tribune when it was a fledgling newspaper for the city’s black business community. Now a magazine, the Tribune has a healthy following of print and online readers.

William H. Foege 86H
Foege is widely known for his role in the successful campaign to eradicate smallpox. He led CDC and the Carter Center, founded the Task Force for Child Survival (now the Task Force for Global Health), and served as a Gates Foundation adviser. He also is Presidential Distinguished Professor Emeritus of International Health at Rollins.

O. Wayne 86H and Grace Crum 95H Rollins
The RSPH is ranked No. 6 in the nation, thanks largely to the generosity of the Rollins family. Their gifts made possible the construction of the Grace Crum Rollins and the Claudia Nance Rollins buildings, an endowment for faculty development, and the Center for Public Health Preparedness and Research.

Isam Vaid 93Ox 95C 99MPH
Born in Saudi Arabia, Vaid founded the Oxford College Muslim Student Association in 1991 and started the Emory chapter with four friends in 1993. He is now an adviser for religious life at Emory and serves on its alumni board.

Ajay Pillarisetti 03B 07MPH
Pillarisetti and three other students founded Campus Moviefest in 2001, when they arranged to provide fellow students with everything they needed to make a movie in one week. Since then, more than 350,000 students worldwide have received the necessary training and technology to tell their stories through film. Campus Moviefest is based near Emory in Decatur, Georgia.

For the complete list of the 175 Emory makers of history, visit bit.ly/Emory175.

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