News Release: University News

Sep. 25,  2008

Emory Launches $1.6 Billion Campaign

ATLANTA — Emory University has launched Campaign Emory, a $1.6 billion fundraising endeavor designed to realize the challenging goals outlined in the university's strategic plan "Where Courageous Inquiry Leads." The campaign is the most ambitious in the university's history and the largest ever undertaken in Georgia.

At a black-tie gala attended by more than 500 alumni and friends Thursday night (Sept. 25) on the university's Atlanta campus, Emory officials announced the school is more than halfway to meeting its goal, having raised $838 million since beginning a quiet phase in September 2005.

Emory President James W. Wagner says Campaign Emory is designed to advance Emory's already-strong faculty and students, create and bolster innovative programs, and build facilities to provide the best educational, research, and patient-care environments possible.

"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. This is one of those points," says Wagner. "We know who we are and what we want to become. We also know that what got us to where we are today will not be sufficient to get us to where we want to go."

Ben F. Johnson III (College '65), a partner in the Atlanta-based law firm Alston & Bird and long-time chair of the Emory Board of Trustees, adds: "This is Emory's moment. We have a magnificent, daring strategic plan. We have the right leadership team. We have outstanding faculty and brilliant students in every part of the university. We are ready to step forward boldly, knowing that this will require a commitment unequaled in Emory's history."

Scheduled to run through 2012, the campaign will help transform Emory's campus and catapult its programs to a higher level. The goal includes major support for faculty, students, programs, and facilities throughout all of Emory's nine undergraduate and graduate schools and the university's major operating units, including Emory Libraries, the Carlos Museum, the Yerkes National Primate Research Center, and Emory Hospitals and The Emory Clinic. Along with Emory's other owned and affiliated facilities, Emory Hospitals and Emory Clinic are part of the largest and most comprehensive health care system in Georgia.

Fundraising goals in each school and unit will follow priorities established in the university's 2005 strategic plan, "Where Courageous Inquiry Leads." Those multidisciplinary, university-wide themes are: strengthening faculty distinction; preparing engaged scholars; creating community-engaging society; confronting the human condition and human experience; and exploring new frontiers in science and technology.

"What drives us is the urgency to share what we know, to care for communities at home and abroad, to discover new solutions to difficult problems, and to give something back to a world that has given us so much," says Trustee and Campaign Chair Walter M. "Sonny" Deriso Jr. (College '68, Law '72), the chairman of Atlantic Capital Bank.

"Emory seeks investment partners who believe in our vision and want to leave a powerful legacy, people who care about the world and know that they can make a profound difference by supporting this university."

In addition to an infusion of funds, the campaign seeks to raise awareness of the education, research, and community involvement already taking place at Emory, which perennially ranks in the top 20 national universities as rated by U.S. News & World Report.

Founded in 1836 in rural Oxford, Georgia, Emory traces its ascension to the top ranks of academia to 1979, when Coca-Cola magnate Robert W. Woodruff and his brother George gave the Atlanta school $105 million, at that time the largest gift in the history of higher education. In 1995, Emory was admitted to membership in the Association of American Universities, a group of the most influential research-intensive institutions in the country.

Today, Emory has approximately 12,600 undergraduate and graduate students, attracts more than $410 million a year in external research funding, and ranks as the largest private employer in the Atlanta metropolitan area. Having forged key alliances with such partners as The Carter Center, a University affiliate; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; and Georgia Tech, Emory is working on major multidisciplinary initiatives in global health, predictive health, the neurosciences, computational life sciences, arts and creativity, sustainability, policy solutions, cancer research and treatment, race and difference, and religion and the human spirit.

Recent appointments of His Holiness the Dalai Lama XIV as a Presidential Distinguished Professor and Booker Prize-winning author Salman Rushdie as Distinguished Writer-in-Residence have garnered worldwide attention for Emory's distinctive brand of courageous, ethically engaged intellectual inquiry. An Emory professor of English, Natasha Trethewey, was named last year's Pulitzer Prize winner in Poetry, while another Pulitzer Prize winner, Georgia-born novelist Alice Walker, joined Rushdie and other eminent authors in placing her literary papers in Emory's archives.

Currently under construction or just completed on Emory's campus are new buildings for psychology, public health, theology and ethics, and undergraduate housing, along with a planned new Emory Clinic and Emory University Hospital expansion.

One of the campaign's leading priorities is Emory Advantage, a progressive financial aid initiative to eliminate or cap need-based debt for families with incomes of $100,000 or less. This program makes it possible for any qualified student to earn an Emory education and helps to foster an economically and culturally diverse community of scholars.

President Wagner says Campaign Emory's $1.6 billion goal is daring, but that the university's underlying goals are even more grand—the education of leaders who will improve the course of the world, the work of researchers and scientists who will cure disease and improve health around the world, the building of intellectual capital by faculty scholars who will engage their communities in new ways.

"We don't seek to become another Harvard, Yale or Stanford," Wagner says. "We aspire, instead, to become the very best Emory we can be: a distinctive destination university, with the power to follow our challenging strategic plan that calls for us to work in society, at home and abroad, for positive transformation."

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