Category Archives: Emory places

Love at first photo op

Dateline: Church School Building Fellowship Hall, April 12, 1956 —

The four years in Emory College had challenged Clint Rodgers, but he had done well. Emory’s Air Force ROTC had prepared him for a career flying jets. His major in Spanish had satisfied his delight in language. So here he was, weeks away from picking up his diploma at the Emory Commencement exercises in the Church School Amphitheater.

Meanwhile, there was work to do in the Language Lab, in old Fishburne Hall (where the Goizueta Business School now stands). He tutored students, set up instruction tapes, and plied his expertise in Spanish. Leaving the lab one April day, he turned to make his way to the Church School Building. There, Emory faculty would mingle with the best language students from each Atlanta-area high school, who had been invited to “Language Day” to learn  more about the university.

As he set out, Clint encountered two young women who were lost. Did he know where the Language Day program was being held? Why, yes he did, and he was headed that way himself. He’d be happy to accompany them.

One of those young women was Susan Russell, a student at Girls’ High School in Atlanta. Clint and Susan sat together at the program, and a friendship bloomed. Then a romance. And then marriage. After her freshman year at Emory–during which Clint worked while awaiting an Air Force commission–they tied the knot and headed to Lackland Air Force Base for their honeymoon.

But it all began at Language Day.

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Language Day, April 12, 1956. Clint Rodgers and Susan Russell are shown in circle. Judson C. “Jake” Ward, then dean of Emory College, is seated fifth from the left in front. This room, in the Church School Building, is now named for Ward, who taught Sunday School there for 50 years.

 

 

 

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Humble hospital origins

As a nine-story tower rises across Clifton Road from Harris Hall, I’m reminded of the Calico House.

The J Wing, as this new tower is called, is the latest addition to Emory University Hospital and will house 210 beds, new operating rooms, new ICUs, and a larger emergency department.

Hospital J Wing
Architect’s rendering of Emory University Hospital J Wing

The J designation means it follows wings A through H, all of which which were constructed during seven decades across the street and up the block from the new tower. (The letter I was skipped.)

The first of those earlier wings—A and B—were built in 1922 and at that time were named Wesley Memorial Hospital. You can see the façade of the A wing here:

Emory University Hospital

Here’s another look, circa 1922. The A and B wings, clad by construction scaffolding, appear in the upper-right corner against the edge of the photo.

Druid Hills campus 1922

The vast complex that now constitutes Emory University Hospital had its beginning in an antebellum house on the southeast corner of Auburn Avenue and Courtland Street, where the Auburn Avenue Research Library now stands. Called the Calico House, because of the fashionable patterns on its interior walls, it served as the headquarters for General Sherman after the Battle of Atlanta and before the Union army decamped for the coast. Here is an early-20th-century photo of the Calico House:

Calico House

When the Methodists of north Georgia resolved, in 1903, to build a new hospital, they decided to locate it in Atlanta but soon ran into fund-raising difficulties. Coca-Cola’s Asa Candler, a devout Methodist, came to the rescue and bought the Calico House for use as that hospital, which the Methodists called Wesley Memorial Hospital. It housed fifty beds, had a medical staff of thirty-four doctors, and offered a training program for nurses (the forerunner of Emory’s Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing).

With the Emory School of Medicine functioning in Druid Hills after 1917, the hospital was moved to the A and B wings in December 1922. Twenty-five patients in the former Calico House were driven to the new hospital in ambulances provided by Atlanta’s funeral homes. The hospital was renamed Emory University Hospital in 1932 and has grown with the university.

Gary Hauk

Amazing how things have changed . . .

This year Emory is observing the centennial of its university charter (replacing the 1836 charter as a college) and celebrating a hundred years of making Atlanta its home town. How to measure change at a place during a century? There are many ways, but one is to look at some numbers at the beginning, midway, and now.

For instance, in 1915 Emory conferred 148 degrees; in 1964-65, 1,136; in 2015, more than 4,600.

In 1915 there were 61 members of the faculty, including 16 in Emory College, which was still in Oxford. There were no endowed professorships. By 1965 the faculty had grown to 200, with twelve endowed Charles Howard Candler Professors and three or four other endowed chairs. This year there are more than 3,000 full-time faculty members, about half of them in the School of Medicine. Nearly 200 faculty members hold endowed professorships.

In 1915 the enrollment of the entire university was 631 students; in 1965 that number had grown to 5,844; this year it is 14,769, with students hailing from more than a hundred countries.

One literally concrete measure of what has happened at Emory since 1965 is all the facilities that did not exist or were not owned by Emory fifty years ago. Here is Emory as it is today.

Emory in 2015

This  map of the main Atlanta campus does not include the Briarcliff property and, of course, the historic and still vibrant campus at Oxford.

Here is the same map indicating all the buildings that Emory has added since 1965.

What's been built since 1965

All of those yellow shapes are buildings that did not exist in 1965. No wonder alumni sometimes don’t recognize the place when they return! If I printed the list here the names of the buildings would number more than fifty—more than one building a year for the past 50 years. And this does not include the new library, science center, and three new residence halls at Oxford (and the new dining hall under way there), or the nine-story hospital bed tower going up on Clifton Road, or the renovation (sometimes twice) of everything that previously existed on both campuses.

What these maps highlight is the increase in scholarly activity, teaching activity, and social activity that makes a university a university.

I’ll include more measures of change in future posts.

Gary Hauk