Athletics for all

W. Clyde “Doc” Partin Sr. 50C 51G

Caitlyn Fitzgerald 10C 14M cheering on the team

“Many families and individuals have been great benefactors to Emory and have helped in this transformation of a tiny college in a small town into a great university in a major American city,” Vice President and Assistant to the President of Emory University Gary Hauk 91PhD notes in the documentary The Wise Heart: The Story of Emory University. This tradition of philanthropy encompassing the many facets of the Emory experience has spanned generations and has resulted in the development of a world-class research institution that offers a well-rounded student experience.

With athletics as the focus of this issue of EmoryWire, we pause to share two ongoing Campaign Emory efforts designed to enhance athletic programs and facilities on campus.

Improving softball facilities

Established in spring 1998, intercollegiate softball at Emory has secured its place among the nation’s top programs because of its strong coaching staff and Emory student-athletes’ passion and commitment to excellence. Emory is now moving forward with plans to transform Cooper Field into one of the nation’s premier college softball facilities.

When the softball program began, so did a three-phase plan for building a softball complex. The first phase—construction of the natural turf field, backstop, fencing, and current uncovered batting cage—was completed in 1999. Finished in 2002, the second phase added public restrooms and locker rooms for players and coaches.

Emory is now seeking donor support to complete the plan's third phase, which will include a permanent seating structure that can accommodate approximately 250 spectators, an enclosed press box, and covered and lighted batting cages.

Batting cages are currently under construction beyond the center field fence. Player training takes top priority, and the team looks forward to the added training flexibility the new batting cages will provide. “We’ve really never had a place to train indoors,” says Emory Softball Head Coach Penny Siqueiros. Once the indoor training facility is completed “Regardless of what the weather is like we’ll have a place to get in our offensive work,” she added.

Alumni and friends who invest in the last phase of construction will make it possible for Emory to remain nationally competitive in softball, recruit and retain the best student-athletes, and host regional and national events.

Athletics endowment in memory of Doc Partin

An athletics icon and Emory 175 Maker of History, W. Clyde “Doc” Partin Sr. 50C 51G was inspirational to thousands of Emory student athletes and spectators. Partin spent 50 years working at Emory in various capacities (1951 through 2002) including as athletics director and department chair of health and physical education from 1966 through 1986. During his tenure, Emory Athletics saw unprecedented growth culminating in the construction of the Woodruff PE Center, which opened in 1983. From 1986 until his retirement in 2002, Partin served as a professor of physical education. Partin passed away in 2009 at the age of 84.

Deborah Jackson 85C first became acquainted with Partin while playing intramural softball. Through the years, their friendship grew as did Jackson’s love for the university. Jackson, an entrepreneur and Emory College Alumni Board member, made a $250,000 donation in 2007 to establish an endowment in Partin’s name.

“Emory changed my outlook on life, mostly through Doc,” said Jackson, who transferred to Emory in 1983 and earned a B.S. degree in mathematics and computer science. To Jackson, Doc Partin was “a major conveyor and embodiment of that principle among other Emory principles.” 

“Doc Partin has not only been a positive role model but also a tremendous friend to countless Emory students over the years,” Jackson said. “He is the embodiment of positive attitude and the Emory spirit. If I am to give a gift, there could be no one that embodies the principles better than Doc.”

“Doc Partin set a standard of excellence in so many areas during his career at Emory, and it is now my responsibility to carry on his legacy and to continue to promote the philosophy that Doc helped to build—‘Athletics for All,’” said Tim Downes, Clyde Partin Sr. Director of Athletics. “It is a great honor and a humbling experience to sit in a position that is named on Doc’s behalf.”

Follow each of Emory’s teams at To support the ongoing success of Emory Athletics, make your annual gift today. Learn more about the Doc Partin Endowment, the softball construction project, and Campaign Emory.

Michelle Valigursky, John Farina