Emory University’s position as a leading private university in the south has been cushioned by a massive endowment which schools of equal or greater ranking are nowhere close to. The history behind it all is well known to most Emory students and staff, and possibly to most Atlanta natives, as we are frequently referred to as ‘Coke University.’ After being kicked out of Emory, Robert Woodruff years later decided to give Emory a huge donation that they took gleefully. And after years of investing, and years of Coca-Cola success, Emory sits pretty with over 6 billion dollars in their endowment. Where does all this 6 billion go to? Well sadly (I think), only a small percentage of this endowment will directly benefit us as students and faculty on campus.
After doing some research on ‘The Emory Endowment’, the most important facets of Emory became obvious. Under the ‘Why Support Emory’ tab, the three main heading which came up were: Scholarships, Research, and Faculty. Donors have the opportunity to see the cutting edge technology and engagement that we as a community are striving for, through well designed features and news about our AIDS research, our highly sought after study abroad trips, and the millions of dollars spent each year on loans, grants and scholarships. By the looks of this website, one would think that Emory’s main goal is to develop a holistic sense of success on our campus; so that outsiders will become more enamored and give their money, but also that alumni would reflect and see what great heights Emory students and faculty are reaching.
According to the NYT “Some Colleges Have More Students From the Top 1 PercentThan the Bottom 60. Find Yours.”, Emory is #2 among Elite Colleges to enroll the highest percentage of middle to low income students. That’s great, because it means that Emory has a lot of money dedicated to the Scholarship umbrella of its operational budget, (or students are more in debt after leaving college). However, what’s interesting to note is that Emory is nowhere near close to managing its ‘diverse’ acceptance list as there is a major gap in where these alumni are now. About 1.8% of students at Emory came from a poor family but became a rich adult.
How does a 6.7 billion dollar endowment fix that staggering statistic? Although as an institution we brag about the great things that Emory students and alum have accomplished, there is an elephant in the room when it comes to where these students end up 4 years after leaving the Emory bubble. Our (Emory’s) pockets are padded well, but the hands that distribute and control are a bit lopsided.
This makes me question what Emory’s gauge of success is. Is their priority to see how best to keep the news and attention within the university itself, or is it to properly equip over 1000 students each year to go out and dominate in which ever field they pursue?