New Emory Alumni Board Members and Scholars

New Alumni Board Leadership Scholars and Emory Alumni Board members are chosen

By Fiona Riedl, Nick Sommariva 15C

Story Photo

Left to right: Jonathan Butler 96C, Daniel Thompson 01Ox 03C 08PH, Emily Allen 06Ox 08C, Steve Greenfield 04EvMBA, Julia Emmons 73G 84PhD, Paul Orser 71G 74PhD, Helen Ngo 06Ox 09C, Debra Houry 94C; not pictured: Della Wells 86L.

As the Emory Alumni Board (EAB) begins the new year, we are pleased to introduce our newest board members. Please see below for information about each of them. They are enthusiastic and engaged alumni, and along with their peers on the board, well-equipped for the year ahead.

Under the leadership of incoming EAB President Doug Shipman 95C, the board will continue its focus this year on the scholarship endowment initiative, increased alumni visibility on campus and in the regions, and building a leadership pipeline that will ensure the continued success and growth of Emory, while reflecting the diversity of its student and alumni bodies.

Emily Allen 06Ox 08C (International Region Representative)
Emily lives in London, England, where she works as business development director with Advisory Board Company. In her capacity as alumni chapter leader for the United Kingdom, Emily acts as liaison to local volunteer organizations, recruits volunteers, and has served as project coordinator for Emory Cares International Service Day. In addition, she organizes alumni social events and works with EAA staff on other UK programs, which has led the UK chapter to experience unprecedented growth. She is currently completing her term on the Oxford College Alumni Board. Emily volunteers as part of the Alumni Admissions Network and has attended college fairs on behalf of Emory. She is part of an Emory legacy family, former president of the Oxford and Emory Student Government Associations, and was a Bobby Jones Scholar.

Jonathan Butler 96C (Affinity Groups Representative)
Jonathan Butler is an attorney and consultant with InfiniteMinds Consulting Group in Atlanta. He currently is working with the city of Chattanooga, TN and the Chattanooga Neighborhood Enterprise, a non-profit housing organization whose mission is to create economically diverse neighborhoods across the city. In addition to his BA degree in English from Emory, Jonathan holds a JD degree from American University in Washington. He has been involved with the Caucus of Emory Black Alumni (CEBA) for nearly 15 years, and currently is serving as chair of the group. In this role, he has been an active partner with the EAA. He feels a strong connection to the university, and seeks to instill the same type of commitment in his alumni peers.

Julia Emmons 73G 84G (Libraries Representative)
Julia Emmons holds a MA and PhD in history from Emory University. She traces her Atlanta roots back to her days as an associate professor in Emory's Division of Library and Information Science, where she was and still is held in high esteem by her former students and colleagues. She remains active in a variety of civic endeavors, following retirement after many years as the Executive Director of the Atlanta Track Club and service as a member of the Atlanta City Council, and is a recipient of the city's highest honor, the Phoenix Award. In 2011 Julia was recognized as one of Emory’s 175 Makers of History. She was a member of the Emory Board of Visitors from 2011 to 2014, and is a current member of Emory’s Wise Heart Society of lead annual donors.

Steve Greenfield 04B (Business School Representative)
Steve is a graduate of the 2004 EvMBA program, and received his undergraduate degree from York University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He has actively served on the Goizueta Alumni Board, starting as a member and ending as past president, rolling off in July 2014. He was instrumental in launching the mentor program and visited with Goizueta students through the executive speaking series as well as other development and networking events. Steve recently left his position as vice president of product development for Atlanta-based AutoTrader.com to start his own business, Automotive Ventures. Steve's continued involvement with Emory is based on the positive experiences he had as a student and a desire to give back.

Debra Houry 94C (Healthcare Representative)
Deb Houry is vice chair for research and associate professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Emory School of Medicine. She received her MD and MPH degrees from Tulane University, and is highly respected in her field as "a person of enormous depth, character, and capability." She served as president of the University Senate, where she made great strides in terms of creating transparency for the organization and updating its practices and policies. Deb’s education and professional background, combined with her understanding of Emory as a broad enterprise, give her a unique perspective that will be invaluable to the EAB.

Helen Ngo 06Ox 09C (Career Services Representative)
Helen is a certified financial planner with Raymond James & Associates in Atlanta. She has been an actively involved alumna since her graduation five years ago, regularly attending events and providing ongoing support for the Emory College Fund for Excellence. Volunteer activities include serving as a member of the Annual Giving Board and the Alumni Admission Network. Helen regularly participates in Alumni Career Services and other networking activities.

Paul Orser 71G 74G (Laney Graduate School Representative)
Paul has been a teacher, administrator, dean of freshmen and ultimately associate dean for student academic initiatives at Wake Forest University. Now retired from Wake Forest, he still takes very seriously the job of professors to teach, advise and encourage, and currently works as a private consultant for university admissions through his firm, My College Matters. Paul has a deep passion for Emory, true understanding of graduate education, and appreciation of the need for fundraising and giving back. He started his own peer-to-peer effort after chairing his class reunion. Paul offers an interesting perspective given his experience on the administration side of a campus. He lives in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Daniel Thompson 01Ox 03C 08PH (Rollins School of Public Health Representative)
A third generation Emory legacy and triple alumnus, Daniel is a native Atlantan who has been involved with Emory throughout his life. He has served on the Rollins Alumni Board since 2009, including a term as board president during which he worked to increase alumni giving to scholarships as well as encourage alumni engagement in the workplace. He is an active volunteer at the school, having served as an alumni panelist for Visit Emory events, a Career Services volunteer, and a guest lecturer. Daniel recently accepted a position as deputy director, chronic disease planning and partnerships, at the Georgia Department of Public Health after having served as executive director at The Pediatric Healthcare Improvement Coalition of Georgia.

Della Wager Wells 86L (Carlos Museum Representative)
Della has been an active and dedicated volunteer for Emory School of Law, having served as the president of the Law Alumni Board and a member of the Dean's Advisory Board. She has been engaged in numerous student groups, in particular the Legal Association of Women Students (LAWS). She remains an engaged lifelong student as well, taking theology classes at Candler, and supporting the visual and performing arts in addition to her professional work as a well-respected public finance attorney in Atlanta.

Emory Alumni Board Leadership Scholarship Recipients Named

Jessica Hirst 15N and Lurit Bepo 16M were selected for this year’s Emory Alumni Board scholars. The EAB Leadership Scholarship was created in 2007 and has since recognized students whose actions, beliefs, and passions have improved the community in the arts or sciences, in academic or extracurricular pursuits, or through mentorship, social outreach, or other avenues.

Hirst and Bepo

Jessica Hirst 15N and Lurit Bepo 16M

Each year, the scholarship is awarded to one full-time undergraduate student and one full-time graduate student. To be considered for the Emory Alumni Board Leadership Scholarship, students must submit a completed application and supplementary materials. Meet this year's recipients:

Jessica Hirst 15N

Wayne, Pennsylvania

Jessica Hirst, an undergraduate in the School of Nursing, has been involved since high school with Best Buddies, an international organization that aims to form close peer friendships with individuals who have developmental or intellectual disabilities. As activities coordinator of Emory’s chapter, she has aided in increasing club membership from 15 to more than 200, transforming it into one of the largest organizations at Emory. She intends to apply for president next year, with a goal of creating a more “disability friendly” campus. Jessica is also secretary of the Pre-Nursing Club, and hopes to continue to educate, inspire and excite nursing majors as Nursing Student Ambassador and member of the SON Honor Council. She is a volunteer at the Clarkston Refugee Center, organizing fundraisers and performing pediatric assessments. Additionally, Jessica was on the Dean’s list in both 2012 and 2013 and serves as the New Member Chairman of her sorority, Kappa Kappa Gamma. According to Katherine A. Yeager, PhD, RN, Research Assistant Professor at Nell Hodgson Woodruff SON, “Jess is driven by her passion to make the world a better place. I have no doubt that she will be a great nurse and nurse leader in the near future.”

Lurit Bepo 16M

Arlington, Texas

Now a third year student at Emory’s School of Medicine, initially Lurit Bepo was “highly recruited because of her academic record but also because of her record of service in college [Wash U] and to the community in St. Louis,” notes Robert Lee, PhD, Associate  Dean and Director of Multicultural Medical Student Affairs.   As president of Emory’s Student National Medical Association, which focuses on mentoring and supporting under-represented minority medical and pre-medical students in local communities, Lurit has exemplified servant leadership, that is, a willingness to provide assistance while simultaneously affirming and supporting those around her. Among her myriad accomplishments in this capacity are: revitalization of recruitment efforts and programs including high school mentorship, MLK service day and Black History Month activities; transformation of Kwanzaa Celebration into an event honoring deserving Medical School students, faculty and staff; organization of a photography fundraiser for the school’s White Coat Ceremony; and facilitation and hosting of SNMA’s first ever Hispanic Heritage Month. Additionally, Lurit is a volunteer at student-run medical clinics throughout metro Atlanta. Remembering her father’s recommendation to always have the “spirit of the volunteer,” Lurit’s primary hope for her life and career is to “continue to build a strong foundation upon which others may stand.”

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Michelle Valigursky