Making It Personal

Adopt-A-Scholar program helps forge friendships

Pamela Pryor (right) and Sareena Gillani found common ground across generations.
Kay Hinton

This spring, when Sareena Gillani 13C walks through the crowd on the Quad to accept her diploma, she will have Pamela Pryor 69C 70G partly to thank.

For more than a decade, Pryor has participated in Emory’s Adopt-a-Scholar program, which fosters one-on-one connections between donors and students. Pryor has described the Adopt-a-Scholar program as “a great opportunity. It connects me with Emory, with today’s students, and with continued learning while I support my alma mater.”

“Before we met four years ago, I already knew Pam was wonderful because she was donating money to help someone she didn’t even know,” says Gillani. “I was delighted to see just how wonderful she is and how much we have in common.”

The women found they share an interest in the sciences. Pryor majored in physics and earned a master’s degree in science education; Gillani majored in human biology and anthropology and is considering a career in the health sciences. “Sareena is a joy—scholarly, energetic, and giving,” Pryor says. “I realized right away that she was bringing into my life additional learning opportunities, though I haven’t yet decided which I’ll embark on first—learning one of the many languages she speaks or trying the traditional Indian dance, at which she is expert.”

Now retired from a successful career with BellSouth, Pryor is a former Emory Alumni Board member and also provides annual support to the Emory Libraries. In addition to her Adopt-a-Scholar gifts, Pryor helped Gillani visit Honduras in summer 2011 with a nonprofit group called the Global Dental Brigade.

“Pam has been such an inspirational person,” Gillani says. “She told me that the most important thing at Emory—and in life—is to do what you’re passionate about. She encouraged me to explore my interests.”

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