Headlines this summer were filled with disaster: extremism of all kinds in the Middle East, a humanitarian crisis at our southern border and violence on our own streets. But at the start of a new school year, it’s important to remember that not all is wrong in the world. In fact, students are returning this fall to a prestigious university that has enjoyed a number of successes while classes were out.
One of these victories was a bright light in otherwise bleak news coverage of the developing Ebola virus crisis. Emory University Hospital made headlines for its successful treatment of two American aid workers, Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol, who were infected with Ebola while working in Liberia. They began treatment at the hospital at the start of this month and were discharged on August 21, having made full recoveries. Although Brantly and Writebol were not “cured,” per se, their release represents a significant step forward in understanding the Ebola virus and how to stop its spread.
In athletics news, Emory Athletic Director Tim Downes was named Under Armour Division III Athletic Director of the Year in June 2014. The award spans seven divisions of collegiate athletics and is eligible to all athletic directors in the U.S., Canada and Mexico who are members of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics. Criteria include “service as an [Athletic Director] for a minimum of five academic years” and “the ability to inspire individuals or groups to high levels of accomplishments.”
Additionally, this month, Emory University was included in the Campus Pride Index’s “Top 50 List of LGBT-Friendly Colleges & Universities.” Emory received an overall score of five out of five stars and also ranked five stars in six out of eight criteria, including the areas of student life, campus safety and institutional commitment. The ranking is well-deserved recognition for the University’s Office of LGBT Life and serves to emphasize that Emory is an institution where tolerance and acceptance of others is highly valued and remains a top priority.
Furthermore, Emory recently added two talented and well-qualified individuals to important administrative positions – who also increase the representation of women and the black community in its administration. In May, the University appointed two new deans: Dean of the Chapel and Spiritual Life the Rev. Bridgette Young Ross and Dean of the Goizueta Business School Erika Hayes James. Dean James’ appointment marks the first time that a black woman is leading one of the nation’s top 25 MBA programs.
In conjunction with its efforts to promote racial and sexual tolerance and acceptance, Emory has revamped its efforts to prevent sexual violence on campus. For the first time this year, all orientation leaders have been Sexual Assault Peer Advocate (SAPA) trained as part of their Residence Life and Orientation training in conjunction with Creating Emory, an initiative to promote dialogue around tolerance, sexual assault and diversity.
We at the Wheel are excited by Emory’s tremendous successes and are proud to attend a university that works so hard to foster a community of acceptance and accomplishment. Although there is still a long way to go before social inequalities have been addressed on all fronts, we are pleased to know that Emory is a leader in this fight. To that end, we encourage incoming and returning students alike to take advantage of the countless opportunities at Emory, not only to succeed individually, but to positively impact the community.
Emory is a community driven by zealous inquiry, and it is our privilege to study at a university that works tirelessly to foster such an atmosphere. We encourage students to pursue curiosity and to let their passions shine, especially using the amazing resources found in Emory’s libraries, which saw a great deal of renovation and improvement this summer. The Pitts Theology Library was completed, and the work began on the Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Book Library (MARBL) on the 10th floor of Woodruff Library. These and other libraries at Emory are home to an impressive and constantly expanding collection of research materials on a variety of subjects. Additionally, they are staffed by passionate faculty who are eager to work with students willing to take the leap.
At the start of a new school year, we urge students to take the leap to be intellectually engaged. General Education Requirements (GERs) are an excellent opportunity for students to take classes outside of their specific major or minor area of study and to expand the horizons of their knowledge. More importantly – and we really cannot say this enough – take advantage of every opportunity afforded by this incredible university. The world may at times be seen as a daunting and perhaps dark place, but, at Emory, we are guided by our passions and desires for knowledge.
Beyond the Emory campus, we wish to draw students’ attention to Atlanta itself. The city is the cultural center of the southeast and is a truly international city that fuses the southern texture of life to a rich cosmopolitan spirit. More traditional cultural institutions – the Woodruff Arts Center, the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, the Carter Library – exist alongside vibrant centers of ‘alternative’ culture, such as Little Five Points and East Atlanta. Furthermore, Atlanta houses numerous enclaves of art, culture, dining and entertainment that reward the dedicated urban explorer.
To new Emory students, the Wheel would like to welcome you home. To returning Emory students, we welcome you back. We are looking forward to another year!
The above editorial represents the majority opinion of the Wheel’s editorial board.