Presidential Selection Prospectus


About Emory University

Committed to courageous leadership in teaching, research, scholarship, healthcare, and social action, Emory University is one of the world’s finest institutions of higher education, with an international reputation for seminal scholarship, engaged teaching, discovery, and path-breaking clinical care. Emory traces its roots to the 1836 founding of Emory College and cherishes a historical affiliation with The United Methodist Church. Emory's programs today are entirely nonsectarian abiding with the conviction that education is a strong moral force in both society and the lives of individuals.

A member of the Association of American Universities (AAU) since 1995, the University enjoys an uncommon degree of collaboration and synergy among its nine undergraduate, graduate, and professional schools. These include Emory College of Arts and Sciences, Oxford College, the School of Medicine, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, Candler School of Theology, the School of Law, Goizueta Business School, Laney Graduate School, and Rollins School of Public Health.

Significant to Emory’s advancement, success, and reputation is the Woodruff Health Sciences Center, home not only to its schools of medicine, public health, and nursing but also to Emory Healthcare, a world-class health system with almost 6 million patient visits annually. The Woodruff Health Sciences Center also includes the Yerkes National Primate Research Center and the Winship Cancer Institute, a National Cancer Institute–designated cancer center.

Emory’s reach and impact extend far beyond its Atlanta and Oxford campuses. The University’s 29,000 employees — including 13,000 faculty and staff and 16,000 Emory Healthcare employees — make it the second-largest private employer in the Atlanta metropolitan area and multiply Emory’s economic impact throughout the region and the state.

With approximately 15,000 students, including 8,000 undergraduates and 7,000 graduate and professional students, Emory draws students from every state and more than 100 countries. Nineteen Emory students have been named Rhodes Scholars, the most recent in 2015, while Emory ranks among the top universities of its size in the number of annual Fulbright awards. Emory stands second in NCAA postgraduate scholarships earned by its student athletes. Undergraduates have two options when they apply to Emory — the four-year Emory College of Arts and Sciences or Oxford College, on Emory’s historic first campus, where students complete the first two years of the bachelor’s degree in a distinctive, small-campus setting. Both of these colleges, collectively the heart of the University, champion the Liberal Arts as foundational to preparing citizens to navigate the complexities of the twenty-first century.

The University is also home to world-class libraries. The Stuart A. Rose Library holds impressive collections in African American literature and history, twentieth-century poetry, Irish literature, and Southern history. The Pitts Theology Library contains the third-largest collection of theology and religious materials in the country, including extraordinary holdings in rare books and manuscripts.

Emory’s esteemed faculty includes Pulitzer Prize and Lasker Award winners, 43 members of elite national academies, and two Nobel Laureates, His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama and President Jimmy Carter, both of whom serve the University as Distinguished Professors. Demonstrating passion and talent for teaching and research, Emory faculty members draw students deeply into the discovery process and collaboration in seeking creative solutions to the needs of their communities and the world.

The University's 137,000 alumni enjoy the benefits of a vibrant worldwide network, facilitated by the Emory Alumni Association. Emory alumni include a U.S. vice president, a Supreme Court justice, U.S. senators and representatives, governors, university presidents, philanthropists, Pulitzer Prize winners, entrepreneurs, renowned entertainers, and an astronaut.

Emory’s annual budget for 2015-2016 is $4.8 billion. Faculty members and scientists generated more than $572 million in research funding in 2015, the sixth consecutive year in which funding topped $500 million. Donors and friends contributed more than $250 million in gifts and pledges in 2015, a double-digit increase over the previous year and an unqualified endorsement of Emory’s mission. Emory’s most recent (and record-setting) fundraising campaign raised nearly $1.7 billion by its conclusion in December 2012. The University is currently in the initiation phase of its next campaign, which will be the largest in its history. Emory’s endowment, now approximately $6.9 billion, fuels the strategic priorities, initiatives, and ambitions of the University community.

Emory’s ambitions for itself have not yet been fully met. The University is looking for a president with the drive, vision, and energy to move the institution to even higher levels of excellence, impact, and prominence.


Emory draws uncommon strength from its highly collaborative intellectual community, which focuses on teaching and the education of the individual student as well as the discovery of knowledge through research. Emory’s community is differentiated in four major respects. Discretely and collectively, these distinctions shape the University community and its response to its extraordinary responsibilities and goals.

  • Ethical engagement is rooted in a culture of social responsibility, characterized by a strong focus on integrity, concern for human growth and development, and an emphasis on the collective good for humanity. A nonsectarian, broadly inclusive appreciation for the importance of religious practice and thought is a hallmark of academic and co-curricular programs on campus. 
  • Engagement of faculty with undergraduate, graduate, and professional students is perceived as a strength. This long-held commitment extends across all academic units. Expectations of individual faculty excellence include scholarly achievement, teaching and advising, the potential to discover knowledge, an appreciation for innovation and creativity, and a clear dedication to service. Working together, faculty members are the essential resource for achieving the vision of an inquiry-driven, ethically engaged, and diverse intellectual community.
  • Breadth and depth of resources on campus and in the broader community:
    • Emory’s faculty has developed a tradition of collaboration, and this climate of cooperation has led to noteworthy interdisciplinary success, discovery, and innovation. The success and global implications of the faculty’s work are facilitated and enhanced by institutional partnerships, including those with the Carter Center, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech), Georgia State University, Morehouse College, and the University of Georgia. A significant example of successful inter-institutional partnership is the highly ranked Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering, a joint venture between Emory and Georgia Tech.
    • Emory has invested heavily in building new and renovating older buildings at both its main campus, located in a historic and tree-shaded neighborhood of Atlanta, and at Oxford College, just 38 miles east. Emory's physical plant thus has relatively few immediately needed major capital projects. Since 2001, all new construction has been LEED certified and Emory has received numerous awards for its commitment to sustainability.
    • Atlanta is rated an “Alpha“ city by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network, in company with Barcelona, Boston, Dublin, Melbourne, Munich, New Delhi, San Francisco, Seoul, Washington DC, and Zurich. Numerous business, healthcare, NGO, high-tech, and cultural entities calling Atlanta home contribute to a rich and diverse community of achievement, creating a wealth of opportunities for Emory students and faculty to engage with the world in meaningful ways.
  • Emory Healthcare brings significant advantages to all areas of the University. The system’s depth, breadth, quality, and high degree of integration into the academic medical center bring uncommon strength and visibility to Emory. Success in healthcare research and clinical delivery of critical services, as demonstrated in Emory’s response to the recent Ebola crisis, are key components of the University’s profile and distinction. While Emory Healthcare brings significant opportunities for impact in scientific discovery, health policy, and patient care, it also brings challenges, including mission integration and financial risk.

The Next President

Following an extraordinary round of some three dozen recent meetings involving numerous constituency groups and members of the Presidential Selection Committee, a set of presidential characteristics and attributes, as well as institutional ambitions, have been articulated. Emory is seeking a president who will bring a high level of aspiration, intentionality, and executive excellence in the following areas.

  • Exhibiting the will to lead: Emory is a world-class university prepared to increase its public awareness and reputation. Emory’s next president should enthusiastically represent Emory and educate local, national, and global audiences about the University’s estimable teaching, research, and service accomplishments. While Emory is home to significant achievement, it has even greater potential. The next president should eagerly engage with the University community to articulate and define a vision of extraordinary ambition to inspire engagement and drive the institution forward, ensuring that Emory achieves preeminent levels of excellence, distinctiveness, and relevance in the rapidly changing landscapes of higher education and healthcare.
  • Building resources: Supporters of the University have been remarkably generous yet Emory’s fundraising culture has been historically constrained in its scope, depth, and aggressiveness. Although Emory is fortunate to have a substantial endowment, what is true at most universities is true at Emory. The ability to pursue emerging opportunities, compete globally for the best academic talent, and enhance support of student recruitment will require still greater philanthropic investment. The president should be prepared to enthusiastically direct and personally engage in fundraising efforts on behalf of the University.
  • Leveraging the Health Sciences: Healthcare, accounting for approximately 55 percent of the overall University budget, will remain a major part of Emory’s identity and distinctiveness. Though the next president need not arrive with significant healthcare experience, exposure to academic medicine would be valuable, particularly in the formative stages of his or her term. The next president should be prepared to collaborate with healthcare faculty and administration to ensure a synergistic relationship between the health sciences and other parts of the University.
  • Moving from diversity to inclusion: Emory is empirically one of the more diverse academic communities in the United States, and it is situated within one of the most diverse and welcoming cities in the country. Given its location, history, and values, Emory has a unique opportunity to be a leader in creating a campus culture characterized by true equity, inclusion, and opportunity. The next president will need to be alert to institutional norms, cultural influences, and behaviors to drive lasting change that results in genuine and deep integration and inclusion for the entire community.
  • Engaging broadly: There is a strong sense that Emory would benefit from engaging more directly with public, private, and nonprofit institutions in the region and beyond. This would create more opportunities for students and faculty to participate in the development of Atlanta as a global city and the Southeast as a leading region of the United States. Emory should also further determine its desired position on the global stage, identifying areas where it wants to work, alone and in concert with others, to bring lasting positive change to humanity.
  • Facilitating collaboration: While commitment to interdisciplinary collaboration is a long-cherished value of the University, institutional obstacles sometimes intrude on large-scale programs. Systematic opportunities and additional frameworks for collaboration, and the infrastructure to support initiatives, should be developed. To this end, Emory would be improved by redressing the lack of centralization of certain key processes. The University seeks a leader committed to reducing prohibitive rigidity and structures, offering more flexibility and nimbleness, and instituting a more responsive administrative network.