It has been exactly one year since I started at Emory. Looking back, it’s amazing to think about these past 365 days. My memories are a little blurry—that’s what months of back-to-back Zoom meetings will do to you!—but what I feel after a year at Emory is gratitude and hope for our future.
I’ve spent decades in higher education, but I never knew a university could so completely combine intellectual dynamism, world-class faculty, brilliant students, and dedicated staff with a generosity of spirit, compassion, and kindness—until I came to Emory. This is a special place. You are a special community. And I am fortunate to be a part of it.
I remember last summer—Carmel and I were driving from Texas to our new home in Atlanta. We passed through many places we had never been. There were winding roads, forests, rivers, and small towns. Our car cut across the highways and eventually landed in Druid Hills. We entered Lullwater Preserve and it was very quiet—like the feeling novelist Kazuo Ishiguro captured when he wrote:
“Silence is just as likely to indicate the most profound ideas forming, the deepest energies being summoned.”
On the day I arrived in Atlanta, Lullwater was silent and very still. And for the past year, the Emory campuses remained relatively quiet. But our creative energy was building. Our thoughts and insights were taking flight. Our essential staff were keeping everything running. Our work of the mind and heart was still moving forward at the highest level, which lets me know that when we return to campus in a few weeks, this community is ready to do what it does best—amaze, inspire, discover, and lead.
I’m looking forward to my next year at Emory—my second “first” year. I can’t wait.