Emory University | Woodruff Health Sciences Center
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Celebrating 90 Years

Eugene Gangarosa celebrates milestone birthday

By Martha Mckenzie

Friends, colleagues, and family members gathered to celebrate the 90th birthday of a public health legend, Dr. Eugene Gangarosa. Many attendees were toting Gangarosa’s recently released autobiography, But Now They Are Angels: Reflections on My 
Life in Service to Public Health.

For Gangarosa, the toll of waterborne disease is personal. His mother lost four of her first five children to aquatic illnesses in her native Sicily. Now an international expert on unsafe water, Gangarosa has taught a graduate course on food and waterborne diseases at Emory every year since 1982. He came to the university that year—after a career at the CDC and the American University of Beirut—to direct the struggling master of community health program within the School of Medicine. He was instrumental in transforming the program into what is now the Rollins School of Public Health.

Gangarosa has received the highest awards given by the CDC and Emory. He was awarded CDC’s Medal of Excellence for distinguished scientific contributions and Emory’s Thomas Jefferson Award for outstanding contributions to the university.

However, giving rather than receiving has been the thrust of Gangarosa’s career. He and his wife, Rose, have provided invaluable support to the school, endowing two professorships and establishing the first 
global health experience fund.

“Gene was instrumental in establishing our school. He built one of the top WASH programs in the country. He and Rose have had a tremendous impact locally, nationally, and globally,” says Carlos del Rio, Hubert Professor and chair of the Hubert Department of Global Health. “As long there is a school of public health at Emory, Gene and Rose Gangarosa’s presence will be felt here.”

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