Former Emory President Jim Wagner On New Realities Of Campus Politics; Georgia's Aviation History

Sep 10, 2016

Our first guest on this edition of “Two Way Street” is Jim Wagner. He’s just stepped down as president of Emory University, retiring after 13 years in that position. During his tenure at Emory, Wagner presided over a dramatic expansion of the school’s work in scientific research and public health, recruited prestigious world figures like Salman Rushdie and the Dalai Lama to join the Emory faculty and oversaw the largest increase in fundraising in the school’s history.

His time at Emory also coincided with a period in which the tension between free speech and political correctness escalated to new highs. On campuses everywhere minority students protested when they felt they were being defamed or marginalized, clashes increased between pro-Palestinian student groups and Jewish students as they each sought to promote their own agenda and numerous university administrations were pressured into cancelling graduation speakers when students rose up to object to the speakers’ political leanings.

Bringing Wagner into the “Two Way Street” studio for what essentially was an exit interview gave us the opportunity to hear his thoughts on the new realities of campus political life and much more.

1916 Epps X Biplane.
Credit Courtesy Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library / UGA Libraries

Later in the show, author Dan Aldridge talks with us about aviation first that happened in Georgia but that the history books have largely ignored. In his book “To Lass the Clouds: The Beginning of Aviation in Georgia,” Aldridge tells the story of two Athens men – Ben Epps, Sr. and Zumpt Huff, who became the first Americans to successfully fly a single wing aircraft – a monoplane. They made their flight in a field outside of Athens in April of 1909, some six years after the Wright Brothers’ historic first flight – made in a biplane. Aldridge tells us the story of this Georgia aviation first, and explains why history has forgotten Epps and Huff.