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15 of Emory's most-read stories for 2015

Research, rankings, a Rhodes Scholar and even a night of rock 'n' roll with the Rolling Stones made the list of most-read stories of the year from the Emory News Center.

Here are 15 of the stories that drew the most readers in 2015:

1. Applications for undergraduate admission hit new record

Class of 2019

For the first time ever, total applications to Emory University's undergraduate programs surpassed 20,000 for the Class of 2019. Applications to Emory College of Arts and Sciences were up 15 percent to 20,477, and Oxford College saw a 30 percent increase to 9,653.

"We've been looking closely at who are the best students for Emory, and have sought out the smart, talented and ambitious students who are interested in engaged learning whether in research or the arts, from mentoring to studying abroad," notes Provost Claire Sterk, whose office oversees admissions and enrollment services.

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

US News Rankings

Emory University was ranked 21st among the nation's top universities in the 2016 Best Colleges guidebook from U.S. News & World Report.

Emory was listed as 18th 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. Emory also was ranked 16th among national universities that are the "best colleges for veterans," and Emory's Goizueta Business School, which is ranked separately from the university's main undergraduate program based on a peer survey of deans and senior faculty, was 15th in the undergraduate business rankings.

Emory's graduate programs also ranked well in U.S. News and World Report's separate America's Best Graduate Schools guide.

  • Emory's schools of business, law, medicine, nursing and public health were the top-ranked schools in Georgia in their respective categories.
  • Emory and Georgia Tech's joint Department of Biomedical Engineering PhD program ranked 2nd in the nation for the ninth consecutive year.
  • Emory's physician assistant program ranked 3rd in the nation.
  • Rollins School of Public Health ranked 7th in the nation.
  • Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing was ranked 10th.
  • Emory Law School ranked 19th.
  • Goizueta Business School's full-time MBA program was 21st, its part-time MBA. program 15th.
  • The School of Medicine was 23rd nationally among research-oriented medical schools (the highest in Georgia), and 42nd among primary care schools.

3. Aimee Copeland: Resuming the adventure

Aimee Copeland

Back in 2012, Aimee Copeland's story — a freak accident that resulted in multiple amputations, when necrotizing fasciitis set in — garnered national attention. Since then, through grit, determination and some high-tech hardware, this young woman has resumed her adventures, including college and kayaking. For months she has undergone the hard work of rehabilitation therapy at Emory Rehabilitation Hospital, located off Clifton Road.

4. Emory students rock with the Rolling Stones

Rolling Stones

They say you can't always get what you want — unless you happen to be the Emory University Concert Choir, which received the invitation of a lifetime when asked to sing backup at the Rolling Stones concert June 9 in Atlanta.

Appearing before an estimated 55,000 fans at Georgia Tech's Bobby Dodd Stadium, a select group of Emory singers took the stage to perform the iconic choir sequence that launches the Stones' classic "You Can't Always Get What You Want," one of two encore numbers that closed the sold-out show.

5. Laughter, hugs and a few happy tears at the Match Day 2015 ceremony

At precisely noon on Friday, March 20, fourth-year medical students at Emory University School of Medicine participated in Match Day 2015, joining their peers across the United States as they dashed across the room, ripped open envelopes and simultaneously learned where they are headed next on their journeys to become physicians.

The Emory students were among thousands of medical students receiving positions at US teaching hospitals through the National Residency Match Program that annually matches students with residency programs. Residents are licensed physicians who care for patients under the supervision of attending physicians. View an interactive map of Emory students' matches.

6. Emory doctoral student's painting acquired for new Smithsonian museum


It's been a year of achievement for Emory doctoral candidate Fahamu Pecou, a fast-rising young artist-scholar whose thought-provoking work has won international acclaim for challenging concepts of black masculinity.

"But I'm Still Fly," a painting from his recent GRAV*I*TY exhibit, has been acquired by the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. Pecou, a student in Emory's Graduate Institute for the Liberal Arts and Laney Graduate School, also mounted exhibits at Atlanta's High Museum of Art and the Backslash Gallery in Paris, and was chosen to create a series of large-scale murals at four regional stations of the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA).

7. Emory President James W. Wagner announces he will step down in 2016

President James Wagner

After more than a decade of leading Emory University's steady rise in academic, research and health care eminence, Emory President James W. Wagner announced that he will step down from the presidency at the end of August 2016. The latest information regarding the presidential selection process is available on the presidential selection website.

"The time is right, both for me personally and for Emory," says Wagner. "I have delighted in the good fortune of being part of this community during a period of tremendous growth in impact, depth, and richness — all grounded in the special character of this place."

8. Healthy Emory program will use Fitbits to help employees 'Move More'

Move More Challenge

To encourage employees to increase their physical activity and adopt healthy behaviors, Emory created the Move More Challenge. All employees were offered the opportunity to receive a Fitbit fitness tracker at a reduced cost.

More than 6,000 employees from Emory University and Emory Healthcare walked a combined total of more than one million miles as part of the challenge, which began Sept. 21 and concluded Nov. 15.

Atlanta Magazine Top Doctors

9. Notable number of Emory physicians named in Atlanta magazine's 'Top Doctors' issue

More than half of the physicians recognized in this year's "Top Doctors" issue of Atlanta magazine are Emory Healthcare doctors, Emory Healthcare Network doctors or Emory University School of Medicine faculty.

This year, 209 Emory physicians were included in the list, making up 58 percent of all of the top doctors recognized in the issue. Patients can find these doctors at one of six Emory Healthcare hospitals, throughout 200 provider locations, and within the Emory University School of Medicine.

10. By the numbers: Class of 2019

Back to School

This always-popular infographic takes a closer look at the demographics of first-year students in Emory College of Arts and Sciences and Oxford College. A related story offered more perspective on the Class of 2019, which came to Emory with impressive academic abilities and extensive accomplishments in leadership, community service, athletics and the arts.

"Of course we look for raw intellectual horsepower and talent, but we are also looking for strong preparation, commitment to learning, and distinctive areas of interest that are good matches with Emory's strengths or areas of priority," explains John Latting, assistant vice provost for undergraduate enrollment and dean of admission. "We look for energy, for interest in the people around them and openness to the community — what kinds of contributions they can make."

11. Rushdie encourages graduates to 'dream, speak, reinvent the world'

Salman Rushdie

As the keynote speaker at Emory's 170th Commencement ceremony, acclaimed author Salman Rushdie urged the Class of 2015 to be skeptical, question everything, use their imaginations, speak their minds and strive for something beyond simply seeking happiness in life.

Rushdie, who recently concluded his role as University Distinguished Professor in Emory College of Arts and Sciences, apologized to the nearly 4,500 new graduates for the failures of his own generation and "for the mess we are leaving, the whole ecological, fanatical, oligarchic mess."

"But it's a resilient place, the world, and its beauty is still breathtaking, its potential still astonishing, and as for the mess we've made, you can change it, and I believe you're going to," he said. "We are language animals, we are dreaming creatures. So dream. Speak. Reinvent the world."

12. Emory senior named 2016 Rhodes Scholar

Rhodes Scholar

Emory University student Leah Michalove is one of 32 American college students selected as a 2016 Rhodes Scholar. A native of Sandy Springs, Georgia, she is the 19th student from Emory to be selected for the prestigious scholarship, which provides for two or three years of study at the University of Oxford in England.

Michalove is a senior in the university's Emory College of Arts and Sciences where she is a Dean's Achievement Scholar majoring in Middle Eastern and South Asian Studies, with a minor in anthropology. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa honor society and a recipient of the Amy Johnson Study Abroad Award. After completing the master's degree in social anthropology at Oxford, Michalove intends to pursue a doctorate in anthropology, focusing on the Middle East.

13. A day in the life of Emory's first full-time therapy dog

Full time therapy dog

Her schedule sounds like many other university employees: She sees clients, goes to meetings, attends events and likes to walk in Lull Preserve. But Beowulf is no ordinary staff member — she's Emory's first full-time therapy dog.

Already a popular presence on campus, she interacts with clients at Emory's Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) and visits informally with students during events and her daily walks. "Dogs can bridge that therapeutic relationship, and also many students on campus miss their dogs," says Colleen Duffy, a staff psychologist at CAPS and Beowulf's human companion. "That is something that can be incredibly comforting."

14. New WaterHub engages power of nature to clean wastewater


In April, Emory celebrated the grand opening of the WaterHub, an innovative ecological on-site water re-use system that will provide nearly 90 percent of the campus utility water needs and 40 percent of the campus' overall water demand.

The first and only WaterHub in the country, the attractive and odorless eco-engineered facility uses plants and colonies of "hungry" microorganisms to recycle up to 400,000 gallons-per-day, and was already being used for research before its official opening. Awards poured in for the WaterHub throughout the year.

15. Gates Foundation names Emory Global Health Institute lead partner in child health network

On May 6, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced a new global health surveillance network aimed at preventing childhood mortality in developing countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa and south Asia. The Emory Global Health Institute, which houses the U.S. office of the International Association of National Public Health Institutes, will be the lead partner in the new network.

The Gates Foundation plans an initial commitment of up to $75 million for the initiative. The Child Health and Mortality Prevention Surveillance network, or CHAMPS, will help gather better data, faster, about how, where and why children are getting sick and dying. CHAMPS will partner with governments and national public health institutes to better diagnose, characterize, manage, treat and prevent these specific causes of disease.

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