Scholar Qualities


The Emory Scholar qualities are grounded in the legacy of Robert W. Woodruff. Intellectual Curiosity, Creative Thinking, Servant Leadership, Communication Skills and Contribution to Community are the qualities found in all Emory Scholars who live his legacy.

Intellectual Curiosity

Emory Scholars hunger for opportunities for learning and intellectual discourse. They love to investigate complexities and multiple perspectives. They also help develop and support intellectual communities and/or the intellectual growth of others.

Robert W. Woodruff wanted those who worked for him to be dissatisfied with easy answers. The quote “The world belongs to the discontented” became a Coca-Cola motto. He challenged others to continuously re-evaluate what they thought was the right answer and to not be satisfied even when they were successful. Most commentators point to this openness to innovation and to self-questioning as the reason for his company’s success.

Creative Thinking

Emory Scholars are known for making novel connections, sharing unique insights, and for innovative problem-solving. They often take unconventional paths to reach goals.

Robert W. Woodruff was known for thinking outside the box. He developed a regional soft drink company into an internationally recognized brand. The development of the iconic Coke bottle and introduction of the six-pack, the link between the product and bottling, and the development of new markets around the world resulted from Mr. Woodruff’s innovative leadership.

Servant Leadership

Emory Scholars are motivated by a desire to serve others. They have a track record of investing in the understanding, growth and success of others, being a persuasive visionary, and being a humble, self-reflective, and life-long learner.  They have engaged deeply in things that are important to them and work to make a difference and/or help create positive change in the lives of others.

Robert W. Woodruff was involved in philanthropy throughout his life, but preferred to give anonymously; he cared most about what his resources accomplished than for the credit that he might receive for those contributions.  He supported causes that were personally important to him and gave not only of his money, but of his time and talents, for those causes.  He is known for a quote that epitomizes his philosophy: “There is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn’t mind who gets the credit.”

Communication Skills

Emory Scholars are gifted communicators who really care about people and therefore, have especially strong interpersonal communication skills in addition to strong verbal and written communication skills.

Robert W. Woodruff was an effective communicator, not only in the things he wrote, but in his interpersonal communications.  His ability to connect with individuals and to inspire audiences was legendary.  We seek Emory Scholars who have or aspire to be effective communicators in writing, speaking, and interacting with others.

Contribution to Community

Emory Scholars go beyond participation, they engage deeply in communities of which they are a part by making meaningful contributions that leave things better than they found them.

Robert Woodruff made it his highest priority to contribute to his own home town, Atlanta.  His contributions led to the creation of art museums, medical facilities, the Atlanta Zoo, civic centers, and built strong local schools and universities.  He also inspired other leaders to prioritize the development of a strong civic life in Atlanta.  This commitment to his own community and willingness to contribute to its growth is mirrored in the Emory Scholars program’s aspirations.