10 Top Stories of 2019

Revisit some of Emory's most-read stories of the year

Students in white t-shirts form the number 2019

2019 brought a new student center to the Atlanta campus, record-setting grants to support work across disciplines and the highest number of first-year applicants in the university’s history. Take a look back at 10 of the most-read stories in the Emory News Center in 2019.

Emory students sitting on wall

1. Emory’s Class of 2023: Admitted students ready to shape the future

Emory University received 30,017 applications from students aspiring to be part of the Class of 2023, a 9 percent increase from the previous year.

That tally began with a record number of applications submitted for the first round of Early Decision admission in December 2018. A total of 1,910 students applied to the university in that phase, with 559 admitted to Emory College and 256 admitted to Oxford College

Admission officers saw an increase in the number of students with high academic achievements and who embody Emory’s values of innovation and leadership both inside the classroom and in their communities. In addition, this year’s admitted class builds on Emory’s commitment to diversity of thought, perspective and experience: 442 students are the first in their families to attend a four-year college or university and 32 percent come from an under-represented or minority group.

The university also had an increase in the number of students applying through the QuestBridge National College Match program. QuestBridge is a national non-profit that links highly qualified students from low-income backgrounds with 40 of the nation’s leading universities. 

This year Emory University matched with 32 students from across the nation, an increase over last year’s cohort. 

Read more: Meet the Class of 2023 as they arrived on campus in September.

Rendering of slave ship from Voyages website

2. Documenting slave voyages

Ten years ago, when Emory created a website dedicated to data that provided a broader, more complete portrait of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, there was nothing quite like it in the world. Today, the updated and expanded database has become one of the most utilized resources in the digital humanities. 

Recognized as a preeminent resource for the study of slavery across the Atlantic, the project has won acclaim for consolidating data from archival resources across five continents, unifying diverse threads of scholarship and shining new light upon a harrowing chapter of human history.

An updated and expanded version of the website was introduced in 2019, incorporating a trove of new data on the lesser-explored intra-American slave trade. The information effectively redrew the map of slavery throughout the Americas and opened staggering new vistas of research for educators, scholars, scientists, artists, genealogists and curators with national museums and history centers.

Emory Student Center

3. Emory Student Center opens doors 

After nearly two years of construction, the new Emory Student Center, an innovative hub for campus activities and student-centered services, opened its doors on May 6. 

Considered one of the most energy efficient buildings on campus, the Student Center employs a range of leading-edge technologies, from the university’s first foray into geothermal technology to chilled beams and solar-tracking shades. Computer modeling estimates that the building will have an EUI (energy utilization index) of about 59, which will rank it among the most energy efficient student centers in the country.

The facility hosts Emory's main student dining venue, a large multi-purpose space, a high-tech gaming and recreation lounge, a convenience store, a coffee shop and innovative open spaces for studying, socializing and collaboration. Many aspects were influenced by student input, from the furniture and flooring to the overall color scheme and patterns of the textured upholstery.

Read more: 8 cool facts about the new Emory Student Center

Emory graduates at commencement 2019

4. Celebrating Emorys Class of 2019

Themes of service, lifelong learning and the transformative power of education were woven throughout Emory's 174th Commencement, as 4,835 graduates assembled on the Quadrangle for the conferral of degrees from the nine schools that comprise Emory University.

“The challenges that life has put in your path, those are not stumbling blocks — those are stepping stones that will take you into a future that neither you nor I can imagine,” said former U.S. Ambassador Andrew Young, a U.S. civil rights icon, humanitarian and global diplomat. 

In a keynote address drawn from his own experiences in activism, politics and international diplomacy, Young urged Emory graduates to remain open to the experiences that await them and ready to keep learning from life’s classroom.

Emory’s 174th commencement conferred a total of 4,927 total degrees, including 94 dual degrees. Graduates hailed from the U.S. and 71 foreign countries, and ranged from 19 to 70 years of age.

Emory School of Medicine students rush to learn where they will complete their medical residencies

5. Match Day reveals where Emory medical students will begin their careers as doctors 

On Friday, March 15, 116 students from the Emory School of Medicine learned where they would be completing their residency as the next step in their medical career. 

Thirty-seven students will spend all or part of their residencies in the state of Georgia, and 30 of those students will begin their internship year at Emory. 

Other prominent institutions where students matched included Brown, Duke, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Yale, New York University, Northwestern, University of Pennsylvania and University of Washington.

Some of the most popular specialties chosen by Emory’s graduating seniors in the 2019 NRMP match included internal medicine, general surgery, obstetrics and gynecology and emergency medicine.

A young girl featured in an episode of 'Your Fantastic Mind'

6. 'Your Fantastic Mind' explores brain health

Emory University and the Emory Brain Health Center partnered with Georgia Public Broadcasting on a new television series, “Your Fantastic Mind,” that features compelling stories on brain-related health and wellness.

The news magazine-style show highlights patient stories and reports on cutting-edge science and clinical advances in the areas of neurology, neurosurgery, psychiatry, sleep medicine and rehabilitation medicine.

Twelve episodes highlighted the gripping cases of patients and life-changing science that show us how we can prevent disease and harness the power of our brains to live longer, more fulfilling lives.

Stories featured patients from across the state and region treated at Emory and other sites, including Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Grady Memorial Hospital, Shepherd Center and the Atlanta Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

Emory faculty and staff prior to Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta

7. Emory’s got game 

As Atlanta prepared to host Super Bowl LIII, a number of Emory faculty and staff were key to the effort, spending months helping plan multiple aspects of the event. 

Emory experts were part of the host committee responsible for coordinating venues, recruiting 10,000 volunteers and coordinating public safety and transit services; they helped spearhead the Off the Wall public art initiative that supported the creation of 30 permanent murals in visible places around the city; they provided medical services and support before and during the game.

It all added up to Atlanta shining on the international stage and Emory proving that a university doesn’t need to tout a football team of its own to be an asset on the field.

Emory University campus

8. Emory ranked among top national universities by U.S. News

Emory University has been ranked 21st among the nation’s top universities in the new 2020 Best Colleges guidebook from U.S. News & World Report.

Emory was also listed as 21st among national universities offering the “best value” to students based on a combination of academic quality and the average level of need-based financial aid. Additionally, the university was cited for its economic diversity, with 19% of its undergraduates receiving need-based Pell Grants, and among schools with the largest percentage of international undergraduates at 16%.

Emory’s graduate and professional schools and programs also are ranked among the best in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report’s 2020 edition of “America’s Best Graduate Schools” guide. 

Emory’s schools of public health, nursing, business, law, medicine and several other Emory entities were newly ranked by U.S. News this year. In national rankings:

  • Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health ranked 5th in the nation.
  • Emory’s Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing master’s program ranked 4th in the nation. The school’s Doctor of Nursing Practice program was 9th; its Nursing Administration program was 10th.  The school’s Family Nurse Practitioner program and its Nurse Practitioner: Adult/Gerontology, Primary Care program both ranked 15th.
  • Goizueta Business School’s full-time MBA program was ranked 21st, its part-time MBA program 9th and its executive MBA program is 18th.
  • Emory University School of Law School ranked 26th in the nation.
  • Emory University School of Medicine ranked 24th nationally among research-oriented medical schools, and 35th among primary care schools.
  • Ranking 3rd in the nation was the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering Ph.D. program, a joint effort between Emory School of Medicine, Emory’s Laney Graduate School and Georgia Tech.

Top-ranked hospitals

On the health care front, Emory University Hospital was ranked the No. 1 hospital in Georgia and metro Atlanta for the eighth consecutive year in the U. S. News & World Report 2019-2020 Best Hospitals Guide. (Emory University Hospital includes Emory University Orthopaedics & Spine Hospital and Emory University Hospital at Wesley Woods.) 

Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital ranked No. 2 in Georgia and metro Atlanta, while Emory University Hospital Midtown ranked No. 5 in Georgia (3-way tie) and No. 4 in metro Atlanta (3-way tie).

Max Cooper, recipient of the 2019 Lasker Award

9. How immunologist Max Cooper may have saved your life

A half-century ago, Max Cooper made a historic discovery that forever changed our understanding of the human immune system.His breakthrough that the body has two separate kinds of lymphocytes, or white blood cells, to defend itself opened the door to a new world of treatments and vaccines.

In 2019, he was honored with a Lasker Award, America’s most prestigious biomedical research award, for his joint work on the discovery that has helped save countless lives.

Cooper is professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at Emory University School of Medicine, a member of the Emory Vaccine Center and a Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar.

Children in an area that could benefit from work through the CHAMPS program

10. Emory University receives historic $180 million research grant funding innovative efforts to prevent child mortality in developing countries 

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation awarded $180 million to the Child Health and Mortality Prevention Surveillance network (CHAMPS) in June 2019. 

CHAMPS, a global health network headquartered in the Emory Global Health Institute, collects and analyzes data to help identify the causes of child mortality in the places where it is highest. This latest $180 million supplement brings the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s total investment in CHAMPS to $271 million and demonstrates its position as a critical tool for preventing child mortality around the world.

“The Gates Foundation’s historic investment will not only change children’s lives around the world, it also promises to provide unique opportunities for our faculty, researchers and students to make further advancements towards helping reduce global child mortality rates,” noted Emory President Claire E. Sterk.

Interested in reading more?

From physicians caring for Syrian refugees in Jordan to students teaching peace to children affected by violence here in Atlanta, meet a few of the Emory community members who inspired us through their courage, creativity and compassion in 2019.

EmoryWire alumni stories

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EmoryWire, the digital publication for Emory alumni, publishes news and interviews each month with Emory graduates who have followed unique paths to making a difference in the world. These are three of their most-read stories from 2019. 

Emory alumnus Doug DeMuro

1. Here’s why Doug DeMuro has more than 667 million video views

Doug DeMuro has turned his passion for cars into a thriving and growing YouTube community, complete with commenters who good naturedly tease him about his casual attire, kid-like enthusiasm and encyclopedic knowledge of automobiles of all kinds. Even if you aren’t a car fanatic, his videos are worth adding to your watch list.

Emory alumni who entered the 2019 Sundance Film Festival

2. Dying at Sundance

A group of Emory alumni joined the storied ranks of filmmakers from around the world as they debuted their short film “sometimes, i think about dying during the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. The project was directed, produced and co-written by Stefanie Abel Horowitz, who turned to college friends when she began recruiting people to work on the film. 

It was one of 73 short films screened at the 2019 festival, selected from almost 9,500 entries submitted from around the world.

Emory alumnus Jonathan Baker, who started Monday Night Brewing with friends

3. Ale in a day’s work

What began as a Bible study in a garage with a few guys, a brewing kit and dinner expanded into Monday Night Brewing, with two Atlanta-based tap rooms (one in West Midtown and one in the West End). And it can be partly attributed to the fact that Jonathan Baker and his friends had trouble getting up early on Friday mornings.

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