New Beginnings

Autumn is always a time of new beginnings on a college campus, and Emory is no exception.

As the fall semester got under way in August, first-year students arrived on our campuses full of optimism, expectation, and maybe just a little trepidation. Returning undergraduate, graduate, and professional students showed up ready to continue their exploration and growth. And faculty member tenured, newly minted, or plucked from prestigious universities around the world claimed classrooms, research labs, and offices. Even administrators and staff, who worked tirelessly through the summer to ensure a flawless fall start, found new resolve fueled by the sheer energy and excitement of a new year.

One particular returning administrator and faculty member faced a uniquely daunting challenge. Last summer, following an intensive selection process, former Emory Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Claire E. Sterk was tapped by the Board of Trustees to become Emory's 20th president. It is a role she seems born to play, and she has spent the past few months ensuring not only a seamless transition but a bold and decisive start.

In this issue of Emory Magazine, contributing writer David Greenberg provides a glimpse into President Sterk's formative years in the Netherlands, her family life, and the journey that led her to a brilliant career in academia,culminating in her being named the first female president of one of the world's finest research universities.

A colleague once told me that a university president should be on the cover of his or her institution's magazine only three times in their life—when they assume the presidency, when they leave office, and when they die. While we are delighted to feature President Sterk on the cover of this magazine, assuming there is any truth at all to that dictum, it is our sincere hope she will not appear there again for many years to come. Meanwhile, you can follow her in real time on Twitter at @PrezSterk.

Many of our alumni will have an opportunity to meet President Sterk or renew acquaintances with her in the coming months as she goes on the road to discuss her ideas and plans for Emory's future. Look to her website for updates in that regard.

A different, and decidedly unwelcome, sort of renewal is featured elsewhere in this issue. Despite incredible advances in the research, treatment, and prevention of HIV/AIDS, including extraordinary work by Emory researchers and physicians during the past three decades, recent research indicates a troubling resurgence of HIV infection rates in six Southern states, including Georgia. Emory scientists and clinicians continue unabated and are tackling the challenge as they always have—with rigor and from every angle. A new research project, funded by a $35.6 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, is spurring the development of an effective, lasting vaccine for HIV.

Emory professors, clinicians, and counselors are also hard at work addressing the multitude of issues facing veterans who suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. Through the Emory Veterans Program, profiled in this issue, individuals summon up the courage and bravery that distinguished them in combat to confront their anxieties and fears back at home. The outcomes are profound, and the concept of hero is redefined.

Jerry Lewis is senior vice president of Communications and Public Affairs.

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