Paying it forward

a headshot of Celeste Bottorff smiling at the camera

Celeste Bottorff

A generous gift from Dean’s Council member Celeste Bottorff has established the first endowment for the Rollins Earn and Learn (REAL) program. Work-study programs are near and dear to Bottorff’s heart. When she was working toward her degree in physics at Purdue University, she got a job tending the school’s particle accelerator at night. That job not only helped her in the classroom, since she could see the things she was learning there being applied in the real world, it also helped her land an enviable first job with the Fermi National Accelerator Lab, a leading physics research laboratory.

“It’s so important for students to be able to have jobs where they can gain experience in their field,” says Bottorff. “Getting that experience made an enormous difference in my career, and I hope my gift will give students the same kind of career jump-start that I had.”

Bottorff is now retired after a career that included stints at General Electric, McKinsey & Company, and 17 years with The Coca-Cola Company. During the latter half of her tenure at Coke, she worked in well-being with the title of VP Living Well. “I mean, who could turn down that title?,” says Bottorff.

In that role, Bottorff created partnerships and programs with leading health care, community, and environmental organizations to promote well-being. The professional organizations provided the science and technical information, and she leveraged Coca-Cola’s communications experience and reach to get their messages to a broader audience.

At Coke, Bottorff reported to Rhona Applebaum, another member of the Rollins Dean’s Council. Applebaum invited Bottorff to a few Dean’s Council meetings, and Bottorff was hooked.

“The more I learned about the work that was going on at the school, the more I wanted to be involved,” she says. 

So Bottorff joined the Dean’s Council, and now she’s made the first endowment gift for REAL. “I believe in paying things forward,” she says. “I’ve been very fortunate in my career, and I’d like to help someone else.”

a head shot of 2 people smiling at the camera

Gary Albrecht and Michèle François

Gary Albrecht 69G and his late wife Michèle François have designated a planned gift to establish the Gary Albrecht and Michèle François Scholarship Fund to provide support for underserved minorities and international students.

Albrecht’s ties to Emory go back to his graduate school days. He was working toward a PhD at Columbia University in the late 1960s when the school was shut down due to student activism. He transferred to Emory and went on to join the faculty in the psychiatry and sociology departments.

While he was at Emory, Albrecht saw the tiny seeds that would eventually grow into the Rollins School of Public Health. He became close friends with Dick Levinson, former executive associate dean for academic affairs, and the late Bill Marine, professor of medicine emeritus, both of whom were instrumental in starting the community health program that would become Rollins.

Albrecht also volunteered to work on the campaign when Jimmy Carter was running for governor of Georgia. “At that time, the state did not have a department of health and human services,” says Albrecht. “We were able to convince Carter to establish one once he became governor.”

Albrecht left Emory after four and a half years and went on to form careers in both the United States and Europe following his marriage to his Belgian wife. In the US, he worked in the rehabilitative medicine and sociology departments at Northwestern University, the Kellogg School of Management, and the school of public health at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

In Europe, Albrecht was a fellow of the Royal Belgian Academy of Arts and Sciences, extraordinary guest professor of Social Sciences at the University of Leuven, Belgium, and more recently a scholar in residence at the Maison des Sciences de l’Homme in Paris, a visiting fellow at Nuffield College at the University of Oxford, and a fellow in residence at the Royal Flemish Academy of Science and Art in Brussels.

Here and abroad, Albrecht’s research has focused on how adults respond to unanticipated life events such as disability onset. He has studied adjustment to paraplegia, stigmas associated with disability, HIV/AIDS as a disabling condition, and the political economy of disability and rehabilitation.

Throughout his career, Albrecht has maintained a soft spot for Emory. “I had a very good experience at Emory, and I have always been committed to public health,” he says. “I see this bequest as a way to pay it forward. The money will go to really smart people who will use it as a lever to do influential things for the greater good.”