Emory, Agnes Scott holding commencement ceremonies

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt May 5, 2016
William Foege will deliver Emory University's commencement address on May 9. Photo from Emory University

William Foege will deliver Emory University’s commencement address on May 9. Photo from Emory University

Emory University and Agnes Scott College will be holding commencement ceremonies the week of May 9.

Emory’s ceremony will be held Monday, May 9 beginning at 9 a.m. It will be University President James Wagner’s last commencement before stepping down as president.

“Due to extremely congested traffic in the area, plan to arrive no later than 8 a.m.,” an announcement from Emory University says. “William Foege, MD, the renowned epidemiologist credited with devising the strategy to eradicate smallpox, will deliver the keynote address. The event takes place on the Emory quadrangle for about 4,500 graduating students and their families. About 15,000 people are expected to attend.”


Foege, who served on the faculty at Emory previously as well as serving a executive director and fellow for health policy at The Carter Center, will receive the Emory President’s Medal. That is one of the two highest honors granted by the university. Foege also was senior medical adviser for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The Agnes Scott commencement ceremony will take place on Saturday, May 14, at 9:30 a.m. It will be held at Presser Quadrangle, Agnes Scott, 141 E. College Ave., Decatur, Ga. The featured speaker is Alexis M. Herman, former Secretary of Labor (1997-2001). Herman will also receive an honorary degree.

“Prior to Commencement, Agnes Scott will host Baccalaureate Vespers on Friday, May 13, at 4:30 p.m. in Gaines Chapel. The Honorable James T. Laney, president emeritus of Emory University, will be the speaker,” the announcement from Agnes Scott says.

Here’s more information about the featured speakers, provided by Agnes Scott:

A former Secretary of Labor under President Bill Clinton, Alexis Herman is a trailblazing African-American woman who has made her mark as a public servant and as a champion for diverse and inclusive workplaces. Prior to her appointment, she was assistant to the president and director of the White House Office of Public Engagement. She began her career as an advocate for minority women employment with Catholic Charities and other agencies. Jimmy Carter met the young Herman while campaigning in Atlanta and later asked her to be director of the Labor Department’s Women’s Bureau. At age 29, she was the youngest person to ever serve in that position. After Bill Clinton’s victory in the 1992 presidential election, Herman became deputy director of the Presidential Transition Office. She was later appointed to head the White House Office of Public Liaison, where she was responsible for the administration’s relations with interest groups. During Clinton’s second term, Herman was named Secretary of Labor; she was the first African American to be nominated for that position. She is currently active with the Democratic National Committee and is chair and CEO of New Ventures Inc., a consulting firm that advises corporations on strategy, theory and tactics for bringing diversity to the workplace. She also serves on the boards of several major companies, including The Coca-Cola Company, Toyota’s Diversity Advisory Board, Cummins, MGM Resorts International, Entergy, Sodexo and Prudential. Herman is an exemplar of a pioneering leader who has broken through barriers and focused her career on making the American workplace more diverse and inclusive for women and people of color.

Herman will receive an honorary degree from the college.

James T. Laney, president emeritus of Emory University, former ambassador to South Korea and an ordained United Methodist minister, served in the U.S. Army Counter Intelligence Corps, taught at Yonsei University in Seoul and at Vanderbilt University, served as dean of Emory’s Candler School of Theology and was president of Emory University (1977-1993). As ambassador to South Korea (1993-1997), he was instrumental in helping defuse the nuclear crisis with North Korea in 1994. Laney has received medals for distinguished service from the United States and Korea, the Wilbur Cross Medal from Yale, the Emory Medal, and the General James Van Fleet award from the Korea Society. He holds undergraduate, divinity, doctoral and honorary degrees from Yale University. He and his wife, Berta, have five children and 16 grandchildren, including Emaline Laney ’16, president of this year’s graduating class.

About Dan Whisenhunt

Dan Whisenhunt is editor and publisher of Decaturish.com. https://www.linkedin.com/in/danwhisenhunt

View all posts by Dan Whisenhunt

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