Emory University
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President Wagner retiring after 13 years

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Photography by Ann Borden

Come the end of August, James W. Wagner will retire as president of Emory. A national search is under way to fill the position he has held since 2003. During his presidency, Wagner set in motion a campus-wide initiative to develop a clear vision statement, resulting in a 10-year strategic plan to strengthen the university at all levels. He also led a $1.7 billion fund-raising campaign, the largest university campaign in Georgia history. Wagner has worked to enhance the educational experience of students, grow research, and foster more effective partnerships among universities, government, and industry.

He spoke often of Emory’s intent to have a positive impact on the world. One of many examples of this during his tenure was when Emory University Hospital accepted and successfully treated four patients with the Ebola virus. “Emory’s mission is to create, preserve, teach, and apply knowledge in the service of humanity. In that sense, the team making decisions about these special patients was acting on a deeply held and broadly understood commitment,” Wagner said. “In the end, our physicians, nurses, staff, and communications professionals not only earned the gratitude of patients and their families, they also demonstrated the power for positive transformation that is inherent in research universities.”

At a “block party” for Jim and Debbie Wagner on April 21 in Asbury Circle, Emory students, faculty, and staff gathered to eat hot dogs, chips, and ice cream beneath bobbing blue and white balloons while a band played. To join in the community-wide farewell, write a note to the Wagners at emory-university.wagner.sgizmo.com/s3/.

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