History Minutes

The campus publication Emory Report brings you a look at colorful facts about the school with the History Minute video series, produced as part of Emory's 175th Anniversary celebrations in 2011.

Bobby Jones's Shoe

Bobby Jones grew up in Atlanta, learning to play golf at the East Lake Golf Club. He is one of the greatest golfers of all time and is the only player to win the grand slam, all four majors in the same year.

Education was perhaps more important to Jones than golf; he received degrees from Georgia Tech and Harvard before enrolling in law school at Emory, graduating in 1929.

In his honor, family and friends formed the Bobby Jones Scholarship in 1976; four Emory students go to the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, the birthplace of golf, and four St. Andrews students come to Emory in the annual exchange.

Commencement Ceremonies

Emory's first commencement took place in July 1840, less than two years after the first classes began, though no students actually graduated until 1841.

Commencement Mace

Each year at Commencement, the university mace is carried in the procession by the past president of the Student Government Association.

Emory's mace was given to the school in 1965. It's made of gold and silver with a carving of Dooley, the Spirit of Emory, at the tip.

Founding Charter: 1836

Emory University was founded by an original charter that started the school in Oxford, Georgia in 1836. It's hand-written on two pieces of notebook paper, front and back.

Michael C. Carlos Museum: Mummies

In 1920, Emory theology professor William Shelton bought antiquities from Palestine and Egypt and brought them back to Emory to use as teaching tools. Among them was the mummy of a person who lived around 2000 B.C., the oldest Egyptian mummy in the Western Hemisphere.

The "Million-Dollar Letter," Bringing Emory to Atlanta

When the Methodist Episcopal Church South split with Vanderbilt University in 1914, the church decided to created a new university in the Southeast. The question was where. The answer soon came in the form of a hand-written letter from Coca-Cola founder Asa Griggs Candler.

New York Stock Exchange Post

On the first floor of the Goizueta Business School sits one of the original 17 trading posts from the New York Stock Exchange. When the NYSE installed new posts in the 1980s, the old ones were taken out and given to different institutions, and Emory received the one where Coca-Cola stock was once traded.


From 1923-1955, the game of pushball was a campus tradition between freshmen and sophomores. It was played with a 180-pound leather ball and 25 people per team on the field with the goal to push the ball into the other team's end zone.

It was banned in 1955 because it caused too many injuries. A modern-day version of pushball was brought back for a day as part of Emory's 175th anniversary celebration.

Candler Mansion

The Candler Mansion on Emory's Briarcliff property is a beautiful yet eerie estate.

Built in 1920 by Asa "Buddy" Candler Jr., the second son of the founder of Coca-Cola, the 42-acre property once housed wild animals including four elephants: Coca, Cola, Refreshing and Delicious. In the 1960s, the mansion was turned into a mental health institute.

Today, the house is boarded up, too expensive to renovate, and is occasionally used as a place to shoot scary movies and TV shows.

Cannon Chapel

Two sitting U.S. presidents have visited Emory University, Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, and both did so at Cannon Chapel. President Carter broke ground for the chapel in 1979 with his friend William Ragsdale Cannon, while President Clinton held his Southeastern Economics Summit there in 1995.

Cemetery at Clairmont Campus

On Emory's Clairmont Campus, it's easy to not notice the cemetery between student housing and a child-care center. It dates back to 1825 when an infant died and her parents buried her on the hill. Her father then donated two acres around her for a cemetery and church.

The Depot

The Depot is currently home to a restaurant. Built in 1916 as a train stop on the edge of Atlanta, it was a location where people could get on the Silver Comet and ride to New York City without switching trains.

The DUC: Coca-Cola Commons

In 1984, Emory University wanted to expand the Alumni Memorial University Center, or AMUC, without defacing the classic Emory marble exterior wall of the building.

Renowned Atlanta architect John Portman rose to the challenge by building a new atrium around the wall. The result was the Coca-Cola Commons in the building now known as Dobbs University Center.

Glenn Memorial Church: Church School Ampitheater

The Church School Amphitheater was the site of Emory Commencement for nearly 20 years in the 1940s and 1950s.

This was also the site of Emory's first televised event, the 1949 graduation ceremony featuring U.S. Vice President Alben W. Barkley, an Emory alumnus, as keynote speaker.

Glenn Memorial Church: Little Chapel

The Little Chapel in the Church School Building, featuring stained glass, intricate wood carvings and a domed ceiling, is modeled after St. Stephen's Walbrook Church in London.

Gravity Monument

The Gravity Monument is a large, pink marble structure hidden in the trees behind the Math and Science Building. Given to Emory in 1963 by Roger W. Babson, it signifies the importance of the sciences to humanity. In reality, it simply looks like a pink tombstone in the woods.

Haygood-Hopkins Memorial Gate


Lullwater House

Lullwater House is a Tudor-style home tucked away in Lullwater Preserve. It was built in 1925 for alumnus Walter Candler and bought by Emory in 1958. University presidents began living in the home in 1963.

Lullwater Preserve

Lullwater Preserve is a 154-acre oasis in the city enjoyed by walkers, joggers and others looking to relax in nature. Emory bought the land and house in 1958 from alumnus Walter Candler. The land was once threatened for development, but is now protected thanks to Emory.

Lullwater Tower

When alumnus Walter Candler developed the Lullwater estate in 1925, DeKalb County had not yet extended its electrical grid that far into the country. Candler build a dam on South Peachtree Creek and a granite tower with a generator inside to supply power to his house.

Today the tower sits empty, nearly covered by vines and trees. Graffiti on the inside walls indicates Emory secret societies may meet there.

The Quad: Hidden in the Eaves

Henry Hornbostel was hired in 1915 by Emory University to design its first buildings on the Druid Hills campus, and he set the tone of red-tile roofs and pink Georgia marble.

An architectural feature not often noticed sits under the eaves of several buildings, describing what was studied there at the time.

Source Route

A set of stairs descends into the Baker Woodland behind the Michael C. Carlos Museum. It's part of an environmental sculpture installed in the 1970s.

Wesley Holly

A holly in front of the Psychology Building stems from a live oak tree that once shaded John Wesley as he preached on St. Simons Island.

An East Palatka holly growing in the crook of that tree was uprooted by Warren Candler's wife, Antoinette, and planted on Emory's campus.

Emory's Oldest Academic Buildings

Phi Gamma and Few Halls, on the Oxford campus, are Emory's first and oldest academic buildings.

Phi Gamma was the school's first literary society, formed just months after the charter was approved in 1837 and even before the campus plan was laid out.  It grew so large that it split into two; the second literary society, Few, was named after Emory's first president. Their legacy is the Barkley Forum debate team.

Hopkins Hall

Isaac Stiles Hopkins, Emory's president from 1884-1888, taught a number of subjects while on faculty at Emory and created a Department of Toolcraft and Technology. He felt teaching students engineering and industrialization would lead the South out of its economic doldrums. He went on to become the first president of the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Miss Kitty's Cottage

The tiny white cottage tucked behind the Old Church was once the home to Catherine "Miss Kitty" Andrew Boyd, a slave owned by Emory's board of trustees resident and Methodist Bishop James Andrew.

Her ownership led to the separation of the Methodist Church into northern and southern branches in 1844 after Andrew refused to let his slaves free.

Old Church

Religion was an important aspect of life for the Methodists who founded Oxford College. In 1841, they built a simple rectangular church called Oxford Methodist Church.

Now known as Old Church, it's been expanded and renovated through the years and still is an important structure for the Oxford community.

President's House

One of the oldest structures in Oxford was built by Emory's first president, Ignatius A. Few, in the late 1830s as his house. Three other Emory presidents lived in the home; it was also the site of a future Supreme Court Justice's wedding.

A Methodist philanthropist bought the home in 1899 and gave it to Emory to be the official house for the school's president. Now it serves as the home of Oxford College's dean, but it's still called the President's House.

Seney Hall

In 1880, Oxford College, much like the rest of the South, had yet to recover from the Civil War.

In a sermon titled "The New South," President Atticus Haygood preached about looking to the North for direction on how to rebuild the economy. Inspired by hearing Haygood's message, New York businessman George I. Seney began donating money to Oxford College to help it through the tough times.