“She always reminded us of the importance of equity,” says Perky Vetter, chair of the department and a longtime colleague of Emery, who retired in 1997 after 29 years on campus. “She will be greatly missed.”
Emery was the first female professor hired to teach instead of coach in the health and physical education department, the precursor to kinesiology & health promotion. She was an expert in women in sports, the Olympic Games and dance. Her doctoral research in “Black Dance in the United States from 1619 to 1970” resulted in four books and numerous publications. Her later research interests included girls and women in sport, especially underrepresented groups.
The department’s 1998 alumni newsletter, which reflected on Emery’s retirement and legacy, praised her for her “strong human relations skills and genuine concerns. … Her many humanistic traits, sincere interest and major dedication to helping each and every student achieve their ultimate goal and potential continues through her working relationship, friendship and communication with students and colleagues.”
That caring nature was the primary reason Emery was recognized in 1994 as the College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences’ Outstanding Advisor.
“She loved life and would participate with her students, enjoying every minute,” Vetter says. “She will be remembered for her student-centered attitude and passion.”
Michaele McConnell, an administrative analyst in CLASS, says Emery “was a groundbreaker and a super role model for upcoming female professors in the field. I’m sure she was an inspiration to many of her students because of her warm, caring attitude and her genuine desire to teach.”
McConnell, who worked in kinesiology & health promotion when Emery was on campus, says she made a lasting impression.
“What I remember most about Dr. Emery was her great smile.”
Emery passed away March 12 at Huntington Memorial hospital in Pasadena. Services are pending.