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A Giving Heart and Loyal Emory Ambassador

Carter Smith Jr. 56C 60M 66MR received this year’s Jake’s Golden Heart Award for a legacy of service to Emory and the community.

By Michelle Valigursky

2017 Jake's Golden Heart Award recipient Dr. Carter Smith 56C 60M 66MR poses with his family.

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As a physician specializing in internal medicine and cardiology, Carter Smith Jr. 56C 60M 66MR selflessly served countless patients with the highest level of care and ethical standards. As a loyal ambassador to Emory University, Smith’s expertise and influence as an Emory School of Medicine faculty member helped shape the careers of students, interns, and residents at Grady Memorial Hospital. In recognition of his continued service and remarkable, generous spirit, Smith was presented with the Jake’s Golden Heart Award during a Commencement week ceremony.

Past President of the Emory Alumni Board Walker Ray 62C 65M introduced Smith during the festivities of the Corpus Cordis Aureum (Latin for golden corps of the heart), the organization that celebrates Emory alumni who have graduated fifty years ago or longer from the university.

During his remarks, Smith recognized Emory President Claire E. Sterk on her vision for creating deeper engagement with Atlanta business and the Atlanta Medical Community. Through his efforts with the School of Medicine and Emory medical alumni, Smith has encouraged greater connectivity between practicing medical alumni in Metro Atlanta and the Emory School of Medicine. Smith notes that with entirely new leadership at Emory University, President Sterk, Jonathan Lewin (Emory Executive Vice President for Health Affairs, Executive Director of Woodruff Health Sciences Center, and President, CEO, and Chairman of the Board of Emory Healthcare), Vikas Sukhatme (Dean of Emory School of Medicine, Woodruff Professor, and Chief Academic Officer of Emory Healthcare), plus leaders in the community hospitals at St. Joseph's, Piedmont Hospital and Northside Hospital, can work together to bring Atlanta as a "Destination Health Center of the South" and enhance patient health care at a local level. "There is a strong history of competing medical institutions working together in the past and we can continue to build on these relationships in the future for our health care," Smith says. 

Smith also praised his peers including Dr. Juha Kokko 59C 64G 64M as an example of one who exhibited academic excellence in basic science research and changed the Department of Medicine at Emory from clinical research to basic science investigation in human disease by obtaining national and federal grants. It was Kokko who brought Dr. William Branch from the Harvard Medical School to hold the Carter Smith, Sr. Chair in Internal Medicine in 1992. Branch teaches students, resident's fellows at Emory-Grady. He developed a national program to make our new physicians more compassionate and develop a deeper need to understand the patients suffering from their medical illness. Over one half of North American medical schools applied to teach the program, and one third were accepted and have completed the program. Branch's approach combines scientific medical advancements with humanism in their care. Read more about his work here

“As Emory-Piedmont Professor of Cardiology the late Dr. Mark Silverman’s role at Piedmont Hospital demonstrated how effective a private community hospital and the Emory Medical School worked together to teach practicing physicians, students, and cardiac fellows raising the quality of medical care in both institutions over 25 years," Smith says. 

Smith noted that Dr. William B. Spearman 59C 64MR was a role model who delivered excellent medicine as a practicing clinician. Spearman was able during his lifetime to demonstrate at Piedmont Hospital and the Emory Clinic that competing institutions can bring their medical knowledge together for the betterment of patient care in our area. He added that Spearman also received a heart transplant at Emory and lived an additional 18 years longer, demonstrating excellent medical and surgical skills and advancements in transplant surgery at Emory. 

Carter Smith
Celebrating a Lifetime of Dedicated Service to Emory and Community

Smith’s legacy of service to Emory began early. He chaired the Emory Board of Visitors, was a member of the university’s Board of Governors, and served on the Alumni Leadership Committee, the Emory Alumni Board, and the Annual Fund Board. Past president of the Emory Medical Alumni Association, he is a member of the Emory School of Medicine Board. His efforts have contributed to record attendance at events, more medical alumni volunteering to mentor current students, and increased philanthropic support for medical scholarships, residencies, and research at Emory University School of Medicine. He and his wife, Laura W. Smith 77L, are Supporting Sponsors of the James B. Williams School of Medicine building. The Smiths also helped establish the Dr. Carter Smith, Sr. Chair in Internal Medicine in honor of his father, Dr. Carter Smith Sr. 24C 26M.

Dr. Smith is a member of the Atlanta Rotary Club, Leadership Atlanta, the first board of Save the Fox Theater, the Piedmont Foundation of Piedmont Hospital, the Advisory Board of the Shepherd Spinal Center, and Friends of Woodruff Arts Center. He is board certified in internal medicine, a fellow in the American College of Physicians, and a member of the Georgia Medical Association, the American Medical Association, and other medical societies.

“Jake’s” Enduring Legacy

Since 2010, the Emory Alumni Association recognizes a member of the Corpus Cordis Aureum in honor of former Dean of Alumni Judson “Jake” Ward 33C 36G. He had a heart of gold, and Jake’s Golden Heart Award is given to alumni who have shown the same generosity, loyalty, and humility. Each awardee demonstrates a generous spirit and a willingness to serve others, unsurpassed loyalty to Emory, and exceptional yet humble contributions of time and service to Emory and the community, either behind the scenes or front and center.

Previous recipients of the Jake’s Golden Heart Award are Judson “Jake” Ward 33C 36G, Emory Williams 32C, H. Dean Minor 38Ox 40C, Barbara Reed 57N 79N, J. Joseph Edwards 54Ox 56C 58B, Patricia Carter Edwards 61C, Dr. Sidney H. Yarbrough III 59C 63M 64MR 67MR 70MR, and Betty Marie Davis Stewart 52BSN.

Editor’s Note: Do you know a deserving Emory graduate? Please consider submitting a nomination for a distinguished Emory award. Read here for more information.