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Announcing the 2019 Emory Medal Honorees

The 2019 Emory Medalists, over the course of their careers, have been working for the global good and have been wonderful stewards and representatives of Emory out in the world.

By Elizabeth Cobb Durel
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The Office of Alumni Engagement is pleased to announce the 2019 recipients of the Emory Medal, the highest honor bestowed by Emory University. Both honorees, over the course of their careers, have been working for the global good and have been wonderful stewards and representatives of Emory out in the world. Ambassador David Adelman 89L served his constituents in the Georgia State Senate before departing for the diplomatic post in Singapore, then settled in New York in private practice. Though a prominent attorney in Atlanta, Richard Hubert 60L has been fulfilling his parents’ vision to “feed people in distress and to help those who are sick,” through his work as executor and trustee of the Hubert Foundation.

David Adelman 89L

David Adelman

David Adelman 89L

Ambassador David Adelman's 89L greatest source of pride is his family. “We are a tight knit family, and we cherish our time together,” says Adelman. The Adelman family bond was on full display when he along with his wife and three children represented the United States in Southeast Asia while Adelman served as the U.S. Ambassador to Singapore from 2010-2013. “It was an honor for our whole family,” says Adelman. Adelman has had a wide-ranging career across the public and private sectors in Atlanta, Washington, Singapore, Hong Kong, and New York. “I am fortunate to have enjoyed a very diverse career in the years since graduating from Emory,” says Adelman. “I have worked all over the world and hopefully in a way that has helped others.”

Adelman holds degrees from the University of Georgia, Georgia State University, and the Emory School of Law.  "At Emory, I was introduced to young people from all over the world,” says Adelman. “My time at Emory really developed my world view and appreciation for the importance of the rule of law and high ethical standards.” After graduation from Emory Law School, Adelman served as an Assistant Attorney General in Georgia and then practiced with a law firm in Washington and Atlanta.

With Emory, Adelman has served on the Law School Alumni Board, the Board of Visitors, the Law School Council, and the Emory Public Interest Committee Advisory Board. He and his wife have hosted alumni and student events in Atlanta, Singapore, and New York. He was a Trustee of the Grady Health System and served for eight years in the Georgia State Senate where he earned the reputation as a legislator who worked across political party lines.

In 2009, Adelman was nominated to serve as U.S. Ambassador and was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate.  ”My greatest privilege was to represent the United States in an important part of the world," says Adelman.  During his four-year tenure, Adelman launched the U.S.-Singapore Strategic Partnership Dialogue and established a Third Country Training Program to address health, educational, and environmental issues in the region, earning him the U.S. State Department Superior Honor Award and the U.S. Navy Distinguished Service Medal. Currently, Adelman serves on several corporate advisory boards and is a partner in an international law firm working in New York, Hong Kong, and Singapore on trans-Pacific trade and investment issues. He also is a member of the Council of Foreign Relations and an Adjunct Professor at New York University where he teaches international relations.

Richard Hubert 60L

Richard Hubert

Richard Hubert 60L

For more than half a century, Richard Hubert 60L has been a credit to Emory both from his tireless volunteerism and from his philanthropic leadership in the field of global health. Over the years, Hubert has contributed mightily to the Atlanta community via his work representing the interests of his neighbors in the Druid Hills area and has earned a spot on Best Lawyers in America lists in Eminent Domain and Condemnation Law practice areas.

Hubert was actively involved in community service serving as the president of the Druid Hills Civic Association for two terms and as the president of the Lawyers Club of Atlanta. As the former treasurer and now emeritus board member, Hubert is also extremely proud of the work he did with the Global Health Action Committee and the work they do in Africa, China, and the Caribbean in the areas of health and hunger.

Of particular note, Hubert practiced law dedicated to community service to the benefit of the economic wellbeing of the law firm. Through the beginnings of a grassroots effort in his neighborhood of Druid Hills, one of the high points in his successful law career was representing the community and its legal efforts to save the Olmsted Parks on Ponce De Leon.

For Hubert, philanthropy has deep roots, beginning many years ago when he was a young teenager. On one particular day, his father called a family meeting, saying “You’re all going to have more than enough, so we should think about what we should do with the rest.” And after some discussion, it was decided. They would feed the hungry and make the sick well.

And, via the family’s foundation, that is what they have done. With Hubert at the helm as executor and trustee, the Hubert Foundation has been key in Emory’s stake as a leader in global health, establishing the Hubert Department of Global Health at the Rollins School of Public Health, becoming the first named global health department among schools of public health in the United States. The foundation has created endowment funds and fellowships, as well.

“We intended to support the kind of health care we want to deliver to populations that otherwise would simply be without,” says Hubert.

The O.C. Hubert Fellowships in International Health have enabled more than 700 public health students to engage in research and fieldwork throughout the world, participating in such diverse projects as refugee health surveillance in Belgium, assessing disaster preparedness in the U.S. Virgin Islands, and evaluating interventions for domestic partner abuse in Nepal.

The Hubert Foundation’s influence can be felt across departments and is instrumental in Emory’s leadership in the space. The foundation’s efforts in public health do not just stem from the Emory campus. Among other projects, the Hubert Foundation also supports select charities around the world in “an effort to promote a kind of brotherhood of man.” They helped with cancer research and created a goat farm in North Korea, improved prenatal care in China, and have projects in the Caribbean. Out of them all, what is Hubert most proud of? “I favor the Goat Project,” says Hubert. “It’s a direct way to help and it sustains itself.”


About Emory Medal

The Emory Medal is the highest university award given to alumni. It honors distinguished service to Emory or the Emory Alumni Association, service to the community, or outstanding professional achievement. Medalists typically are recognized for their accomplishments in at least one of the following areas:

  • Distinguished service to Emory, the association, or a constituent alumni association
  • Achievement of the highest distinction in a field of learning, the arts, the professions, or public/community service
  • Compelling reasons why it would be particularly fitting for the Emory Alumni Association to honor the nominee

Nominate Past Recipients

About the Editor: Elizabeth Cobb Durel has planned events for BRIDES out of their corporate offices and covered the celebrity beat for People in New York and in Atlanta. After taking a few years to raise a family in Stavanger, Norway and Decatur, Georgia, she landed at Emory’s Office of Alumni Engagement. Now Elizabeth writes speeches, dreams up marketing ideas, produces videos, and runs EmoryWire. In her spare time, she hangs out with her kids, cooks Asian food, and kills it at Scrabble. Reach out to her at emorywire@emory.edu , she’s always checking it and would love to hear from you.