Emory University

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Emory University is an undergraduate, graduate, and research institution in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. Emory is one of the most prestigious large private universities in the South and within the United States, according to yearly rankings by US News & World Report. The College has strong pre-med, pre-business, and pre-law programs.



Early days in Oxford, Georgia

On 10 December 1836, Emory College was chartered by the Georgia Methodist conference, and located its campus in Oxford, Georgia, where it began admitting students in 1838. It was intended to provide young men education through manual (mostly agricultural) labor and scholarship. For the duration of the nineteenth century it remained a small college and offered to students a classical curriculum, striving to educate young men for a wide range of professions. Its students studied four years of Greek, Latin, and mathematics. Three years were devoted to the English Bible and the sciences of geography, astronomy, and chemistry. One year each was devoted to a course of "Evidences of Natural and Revealed Religion," and a social science course that included lessons in philosophy, ethics, history, political economy, and logic. It was only in 1875 that the first laboratory work for students began. Contemporary social concerns received almost no attention. Instead, these were cultivated in extracurricular activities, primarily though the college's debating societies. Such debates took for their topics themes such as the justifiability of war, women's suffrage, the morality of slavery, and prohibition. However, other clubs for boating, boxing, hunting, chess, and Shakespeare, among others, provided students outlets for creative entertainment as well.

One of Emory's most famous alumni from this early period was Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus Lamar (1825-1893), a native Georgian who graduated from Emory College in 1845, and married the daughter of Augustus Baldwin Longstreet, one of the school's early presidents after whom one of the dormitories on campus is named. Lamar would go on to represent Mississippi in the United States Senate and, later, become the lone Mississippian to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States. Emory's presidents, such as Longstreet, Ignatius Few, and Alexander Means, were seen as men of accomplishment in many fields. Longstreet himself was a minister, judge, and journalist at various times; he is credited with founding the Southern school of dialectical humorists in the publication Georgia Scenes.

Emory College was closed briefly during the American Civil War; in November 1861, academic activity virtually ceased after its students had left to fight in the conflict. During the war, the college's buildings saw duty as a Confederate hospital and Union headquarters. Sadly, the library and other stored equipment met destruction. It was not until July 1865 that the campus returned to its academic purposes. In the autumn of 1866 Emory College reopened its doors with virtually no endowment and few students. The first postbellum commencement was held in July 1867 and conferred degrees on the class of 1862, all of whom had fought in the war and some of whom were already interred in military graves. The first postwar students attended school via the generosity of the State of Georgia when it passed an equivalent of the post-World War II G. I. Bill. Fraternities first appeared on campus in 1869, the inheritors of secret societies formed on campus during the antebellum era. The college was finally aided in the 1880s when a Methodist banker and philanthropist from New York, George Seney, impressed by a speech he had heard by then-Emory president Atticus Haygood, gave Emory $5,000 to repay its debts, $50,000 to construct a new main building, and $75,000 to establish a new endowment--enormous sums for the time.

Emory College remained poor for much of the next thirty years, however. Its enrollment peaked at about 400 students. Rare was the student who came from outside Georgia; rarer still the pupil from north of the Mason-Dixon Line or of international origin. The class of 1893, for example, numbered forty-two students, the largest to date, though this was a far cry from the seventy-seven who had first enrolled as freshmen in 1889. Hard economic times (when the class graduated the country was in the grip of the Panic of 1893) as well as three deaths had decimated its numbers. The faculty numbered just fifteen. Nonetheless, Emory did produce several graduates of note during this era. Alben W. Barkley, a Kentuckian and member of the class of 1900, would go on to represent Kentucky in both the United States House of Representatives and the Senate before becoming, at age 71 in 1949, the oldest Vice-President of the United States ever. Tom Rivers and Dumas Malone, who belonged to the same fraternity at Emory, each tasted later professional success. Rivers became one of the nation's premier virologists at the Johns Hopkins University Medical School, investigating diseases such as encephalitis and smallpox, then headed the National Science Foundation's quest for a polio vaccine. Malone earned a Ph.D. in history at Yale University, became the head of Harvard University Press, one of the nation's leading academic publishers, and completed a Pulitzer-Prize-winning six-volume study of Thomas Jefferson when he was past 90.

Move to Atlanta

In 1913, the General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, lost the power to control selections to the trustees of Vanderbilt University, and sought control of another university in the Southeastern United States. Bishop Warren A. Candler, a former Emory College president, thus persuaded the Conference to make Emory College the nucleus of a new university. It was around this time that Emory began its long-standing association with The Coca-Cola Company, for the bishop's brother was Asa Griggs Candler, who had become wealthy from promoting the popular soft drink (and had shipped barrels of Coca-Cola syrup to his son attending Emory College in Oxford around 1910). Asa Candler agreed to endow the school with one million dollars and convinced the school's administration to move to Atlanta, where Candler provided a hilly 75 acres (304,000 m²) in the new emerging Druid Hills neighborhood northeast of downtown in DeKalb County. The campus is actually located very close to downtown Decatur, Georgia, the DeKalb county seat. For Asa Candler's generosity, the new campus library at the east end of the quadrangle--recently restored and expanded to its original 1920s look--was named for him.

And so, in light of these developments, the College was recharted by DeKalb County on 25 January 1915 as Emory University, which explains both the dates 1836 and 1915 sometimes featured on the school's seal. In fact, this was perhaps redundant, as the University claims that its medical school dates from 1854, and its hospital from 1904, thereby theoretically making it a university even before this official rechartering. Henry Hornbostel, a Pittsburgh architect, was chosen to design many of the buildings on Emory's new campus. His designs incorporated local stone and materials in the Georgia marble and red terracotta tile of the structures, which formed the foundation of the architectural character on the Druid Hills campus. Emory University first opened the theology and law schools in Pitts Hall and Michael C. Carlos Hall, respectively, on the new campus quadrangle. Later, in 1919, the undergraduate college moved from Oxford, and the University soon added business, dental, graduate, library, medical and nursing schools. Doctoral studies at Emory were established in 1946, and the school has continued to strengthen its graduate and professional schools since. The University finally dropped the undergraduate requirement of study in the classical languages of Greek and Latin to graduate in 1932, and dancing began to be condoned by administrators if done off-campus under euphemistic titles of "tea" or a "reception." The first approved on-campus dance did not take place until six weeks before Pearl Harbor in the fall of 1941. In 1949, Alben Barkley returned to Emory to receive the honorary LLD degree and give the commencement address, an occasion which became the first Emory event ever televised.

Changes and growth

Formerly an all-male school, in 1953 Emory opened its doors to women on equal terms with men; sororities soon followed, first appearing in 1959. Then, in 1962, in the midst of the Civil Rights Movement, Emory seized the initiative to end racial restrictions in its student body and faculty when it asked the courts to declare portions of the Georgia constitution and statutes unconstitutional. These portions of Georgia law denied tax-exempt status to private universities and colleges with racially integrated student bodies. The Supreme Court of Georgia ruled in Emory's favor.

In the 1970s, Emory embarked on a vigorous building program on campus, substantially improving its facilities. New concrete brutalist structures appeared, including the Robert W. Woodruff Library (1969), the Sanford S. Atwood Chemistry Center (1974), Goodrich C. White Hall (1977), and the Paul Rudolph-designed William R. Cannon Chapel (1979-1982). No doubt spurred on by the recent building spree, as well as Emory's graduate and professional schools' expansion, in 1979 one of Emory's former students, Robert W. Woodruff (1889-1985), head of Coca-Cola since the 1920s, presented Emory with an benefaction of $100 million, largely in Coca-Cola stock, which was the largest one-time endowment gift to a college or university in the history of United States philanthropy. In 2004, Emory's endowment was ranked 8th in the nation at approximately $4.5 billion.

Emory celebrated its sesquicentennial anniversary in 1986, when it featured a student body of about 8,500 students. Since then, the University has continued to expand substantially, in addition to acquiring a national reputation. The undergraduate student body, under plans from the administration for more expansion, currently approaches 6,000 students, with perhaps another 5,000 in the graduate and professional schools. Emory has continuously striven, for the last fifteen years, to improve its facilities, adding buildings for the Rollins School of Public Health and the Rollins Research Center in the 1990s, Whitehead Biomedical Research Building in 2001, Michael C. Carlos Museum in 1993 (designed by Michael Graves), Roberto C. Goizueta Business School (1998), named for a recent Coca-Cola Chief Executive Officer, a Mathematics and Science Center (2002), and the Donna and Marvin Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts (2002), an annex to the Roberto c. Goizeuta Business School (2005), the Woodruff PE Center (2005), as well as continuous expansion of the Emory University Hospital. The University declined to build an earlier design for a performing arts center, produced by Peter Eisenman as his workshop at Harvard University's Graduate School of Design.


Emory College is the undergraduate institution with 50 majors leading to a bachelor's degree. It enrolls around 6,000 students. Oxford College is located in Oxford, Georgia and enrolls 600 students. Students at Oxford traditionally complete their first two years of their degree, then automatically continue on to Emory College to complete their degree. The College is renowned for its pre-med program and sends many of its undergraduates to graduate school.

The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences has degree programs in 26 divisions in which students receive master's and PhD degrees. The Goizueta Business School is ranked 22nd nationally by Business Week and 18th by Forbes for their MBA program. The Law School is also highly ranked nationally. The Candler School of Theology is allied with the United Methodist Church, but enrolls students from many denominations.

The Emory Hospital System is the largest health care provider in Georgia and also educates doctors, nurses, and other health workers. The School of Medicine enrolls 440 medical students, 1,000 residents and fellows, and 355 allied health students. The School of Nursing enrolls 172 undergradutate students, 172 students working toward their master's, and 18 doctoral students. Collaborating with the nearby Centers for Disease Control and other public health organizations, the School of Public Health has 738 master's students and 75 doctoral students.

Sports, clubs and traditions

Emory's sports teams are called the Eagles. They participate in the NCAA's Division III and the University Athletic Association. Not surprisingly, the eagle mascot of the university is named "Swoop." The current Emory eagle logo, in use since the 1980s, is undergoing a redesign, to be replaced by 1 June 2005.

Emory has a curious history of resisting intercollegiate athletic competition. To this day, the school fields no football team, prompting T-shirts that humorously claim that the Emory football team is "still undefeated," having never competed against opponents. Instead, in 1897 Emory became a pioneer with intramural sports. Emory's "athletics for all" program soon rose to national prominence in the 1920s, prompting many other institutions to emulate it. The Emory gymnasium from 1945 was simply a converted World War II airplane hangar, with some renovations and modifications. But in 1983 it was replaced by the new George W. Woodruff Physical Education Center (WoodPEC for short), built into the side of a hill opposite the old 1949 Alumni Memorial Building. The WoodPEC houses state-of-the-art fitness equipment, racquetball and tennis courts, an outdoor track and field, and a swimming pool, home to the perennial UAA champion Emory men's (every year since 1999) and women's (every year but two since 1991) swimming teams, which are also consistently ranked in the top ten in NCAA Division III competition. By 1985 the Alumni Memorial Building itself had been extended and remodeled into the R. Howard Dobbs University Center. Outside of athletics, Emory encourages other strong areas of extracurricular activities, including its academic team, choral singing, nationally ranked chess team, journalism, music performance, and debate.

Traditions at Emory include Dooley, the "Spirit of Emory" and the unofficial mascot of the university. Dooley is a skeleton and is usually dressed in black. He originated as a specimen skeleton in a biology lab in 1899. The name "Dooley" was given in 1909. He adopts the first name of the University's current president. He typically walks very slowly with an exaggerated limp, which, legend has it, he got playing handball with Robert Woodruff's daughter.

Noted alumni

Noted faculty



  • Judith C. Rohrer, lecture, Art History 103 class, Emory University, Atlanta, 29 September 2002. [Dr. Rohrer is Associate Professor of Art History at Emory.]
  • James Harvey Young, "Emory University" in Encyclopedia of Southern Culture, ed. Charles Reagan Wilson and William Ferris (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1989), 282-83. [Dr. Young is Professor Emeritus of American Social History at Emory .]
  • Young, "A Brief History of Emory University," in Emory College Catalog 2003-2005 (Atlanta: Emory University Office of University Publications, 2003), 9-15.

External links

Template:University Athletic Association


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