Last week as I toured through the pages of the spring issue of Emory Magazine, I found myself once again mightily impressed. Toward the end of my “tour,” I came across stories of two alumni of special interest to me, Dr. James Turpin 49C 51T 55M and John Rozier 39C 47G. When I came to Emory in 1948, after transferring from Washington and Lee University, Jim Turpin was the lone Emory student from my hometown of Ashland, Kentucky. While Jim was several years older than I and we had little occasion to know each other well in Ashland, I knew him to be highly regarded in our city. I did not see Jim much at Emory either, but I do recall once serving as what might be considered a “chaperone” in those late 1940s, getting an automobile ride with Jim and a girlfriend back to Ashland to visit our respective parents. In the years since, I have followed Jim Turpin’s illustrious and unique career with hometown pride and much respect. A few pages later, I found the excellent report about the life of the late John Rozier, “the public face of Emory.” I had the privilege to know and be associated with John throughout much of our working lives in Atlanta. John not only represented the best of professionalism in mass communication, but he was the ultimate “nice guy,” a true gem and ideal model for practitioners in this field. Thanks to Emory Magazine for highlighting these two outstanding alumni, and for your ongoing good work!

Richard E. Hodges Jr. 50C, Marietta

Please thank the Sowells for letting you write their story [“Crash Course”]. What a miracle Thomas has experienced. Wishing him continuous improvement and happiness!

Mary Ellen McClellan,Emory Division of Finance 

I recently read your article “Crash Course” and I was moved by not only Thomas and his family’s story, but also by the way you handled a very complicated subject. The story is inspiring in itself, but you really brought it to life in an appropriate, ultimately positive way. Thomas, the Sowells, the doctors at Grady, the Emory scientists, and you are to be applauded for the positive outcome and the great storytelling. You may wonder why I was so deeply struck by Thomas’s story. When I was a sophomore at Brown University in February 2001, I experienced a traumatic brain injury. In the early morning, I fell from my loft bed, hitting my head on my roommate’s desk. I was rendered unconscious and when my friends found me the next day, I was rushed to Rhode Island Hospital (RIH) where I had emergency brain surgery to relieve the pressure on my brain caused by the slow bleed. I spent the next month in a coma at RIH where my experience continued to resemble that of Thomas. The doctors informed my parents that my injury was severe and that if progress wasn’t made, I might spend the rest of my life in a vegetative state; or worse, I might not survive. Thanks to some outstanding care from the doctors and nurses at RIH and the love and support of my family and friends, eleven days after my injury, I opened one of my eyes. After a month at RIH, my doctors determined that I was ready for rehabilitation. Like Thomas, when people asked what my goals were, my constant reply was that I wanted to go home and “get back to school.” After [another month in rehabilitation], I got my wish. Today, it has been more than ten years since my experience. My life is ever changed by my injury—it’s something I think about almost every day, but as time passes, so does its impact. They say that recovery from a brain injury can take years, even decades, but as Thomas and his family will find, it’s an experience that is always part of you and that makes you. I want to thank you for telling Thomas’s and the Sowells’ story. Although I received my care at Rhode Island Hospital, from Brown University-trained doctors, it made me very proud to be part of the Emory community.

Richard Meister 10B, Old Greenwich, Connecticut 

Brilliant issue—I really enjoyed it and the brain injury article, specifically, caught my attention. In January 2006 I was in a horseback riding accident, which resulted in a fractured C2 (one millimeter to the left of Christopher Reeves’s injury site), four broken ribs, and traumatic brain injury. I was an outpatient at the RUSK Rehabilitation Institute at New York University for my recovery. I integrated nutrition and yoga into their rehab program, took no medications, and what was supposed to take five years to recover from took me six months. You can find a summary of my recovery on my website. Being an Emory alumna didn’t prepare me for what I do now, but the work ethic I developed there sure did!

Danielle Kirk 95C, Los Angeles 

It was gratifying to be mentioned in your article about “16 Discoveries That Could Change Your Life.” However, I have to make it clear that Serqet [a new antibacterial coating for medical equipment] would never have been developed if it hadn’t been for the inspiration and hard work of Igor Stojiljkovic and his colleagues. Igor began the work that ultimately led to Serqet, and if it hadn’t been for his untimely death [in 2003], my role would have remained peripheral at best. Igor’s death deprived us in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology of an inspirational colleague and cruelly cut short a career of exceptional promise.

Gordon Churchward, Emory School of Medicine

On page 4 of the spring 2011 Emory Magazine, “. . . bubbling Bunsen burner . . .” is a nice alliterative phrase, Ms. Parvin, but it inaccurately describes what a Bunsen burner does. The Bunsen burner heats a container (such as a beaker or test tube) in which a substance might be bubbling. Nice try, though.

Alan Hull 60C, Conyers
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