President Sterk took office on September 1, 2016. A scholar of international renown, Sterk served as the University’s sixth provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. The Charles Howard Candler Professor of Public Health in Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health, she also has appointments in anthropology; sociology; and women’s, gender, and sexuality studies.
Recognizing the University as an international powerhouse for seminal scholarship, engaged teaching, discovery, and pathbreaking clinical care, President Sterk sees Emory and its people as committed to enriching society. “We must galvanize our intellectual and moral influence for the betterment of our city and region, state and country, and the world,” she says. “At the same time, we will benefit tremendously from the breadth and depth of local resources. Reciprocity is a powerful force, and Emory is fortunate to be in the dynamic city of Atlanta.”
Emory Fall Convocation marks the official start of the academic year. Held Tuesday, August 23, the event began with a bagpipe procession of faculty, deans, and other University leaders and closed with the singing of the alma mater. President Sterk delivered the Convocation address, titled “Getting Engaged—You and Emory!” Judy Raggi Moore, professor of pedagogy and director of Italian studies, gave this year's faculty address.
One could not help but be swept up by the festivities. On September 9, students, faculty, and staff filled Asbury Circle to welcome our new president and her husband and research partner, Kirk Elifson. Mansi Maini, a junior in Emory College, might have said it for all of us when she noted, “Dr. Sterk is more than qualified to be our president. I’m really looking forward to seeing the great things she does.” Accepting well wishes and populating many a selfie, President Sterk added, “Kirk and I really appreciate the outpouring of support and friendship.”
Follow our energetic president as she engages with the media. Also view top-tier news items that offer a window into Emory as the epicenter for thought and discovery.
Learn what makes our president tick and the path she took to the presidency, from her research interests in addiction, mental health, and HIV/AIDS to her extensive administrative experience, from her community service in Atlanta to the fact that she hails from the Netherlands and speaks four languages.
Claire E. Sterk brings bold vision, international standing as a researcher in public health and anthropology, and far-reaching administrative experience to her role. She is the author of powerful works—including Tricking and Tripping: Prostitution in the Era of AIDS, and Fast Lives: Women Who Use Crack Cocaine—and more than 100 articles and book chapters. As provost, she focused on optimizing the Emory undergraduate student experience, and faculty excellence and diversity, as well as leading the University’s strategic planning. Sterk earned her PhD in sociology from Erasmus University in Rotterdam and a doctorandus degree in medical anthropology from the University of Utrecht.
The president’s curriculum vitae highlights her scholarship at the highest levels as well as her administrative accomplishments. View the grants and contracts she has received in the areas of HIV/AIDS, addiction, and mental health; her extensive community and scientific service; the many master’s and doctoral students she has served as adviser; her teaching experience; as well as the books, book chapters, and more than 100 articles reflecting her studies.
President Sterk is a committed public servant, as evidenced by her current participation as a trustee of the Woodruff Center for the Arts, the Atlanta International School, and Hambidge Center for the Arts and Sciences. She also represents Emory on the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and the Atlanta Regional Council for Higher Education.
Quality of leadership is an Emory strength, based not only on individuals of character and commitment but also on the remarkable level of coordination that each leadership group at the University demonstrates—starting with the president’s Leadership Council, which represents nine key divisions.