Frank Gaertner, 30 years

Senior Associate Director, Advising

Emory College of Arts & Sciences

Frank Gaertner

Me and Marian Hudson, our Administrative Assistant in Residence Life and Housing in December 1993.

Tell us a little about the work you've done at Emory throughout your career.

I started at Emory as an Area Coordinator in Residence Life, supervising six residence halls on campus (four of which are now demolished!). I shifted to several other roles within Residence Life and Housing over the next 20 years, including directing University Conferences, being the first director of the Student Activity and Academic Center, and then serving as the Director of Clairmont Campus for seven years. In 2014, I began working half-time in the Office for Undergraduate Education, providing academic advising for Korean men returning from their mandatory military service. Over time, I added more and more students to my caseload until 2017, when I began providing academic advising for all international students at Emory College. This current position is my favorite of all the positions I've held. I love meeting with and supporting students from all over the world. 

What are some of your favorite memories of your time at Emory?

I loved it when Atlanta hosted the 1996 Summer Olympics. I watched the Olympic Torch Relay from the entrance of Lullwater. Later that summer, during the games, I lived with the international journalists in the Woodruff Residential Center. I fondly remember the Indigo Girls performing at President Wagner's inauguration in 2003. In recent years, I have loved overseeing the International Student Welcome, our 4-day preorientation program for incoming international students. Move-in day each August feels like Christmas, with 300 or so new students arriving on campus to meet and get to know. 

What are some of the most significant changes you have witnessed over the course of your career?

The most significant change was moving to Academic Advising in the Office for Undergraduate Education in 2014. I had no idea how much I would enjoy this new role and getting to know international students. It's also fascinating to keep up with all the changes in each generation of students. Our students are similar to those who arrived during my first fall, but in other ways, they are so different. 

Is there anything you miss from "back in the day"?

I do miss the small feeling that Emory had when I arrived in 1993. We had about 50 people in the Division of Campus Life. I got to know almost everyone on a personal level. 

What do you hope for the future of Emory?

I hope Emory will continue to recruit, admit, and support a wide range of students from all backgrounds - income level, race and ethnicity, citizenship status, gender identity, and many other aspects of identity. This diversity makes us a much more exciting place, and we all learn more. 

Anything else you would like to share?

I'm so grateful for the kind, invested mentors that I had early in my career that kept me here and kept me going through hard times: Lauren Kent-Delany, Bridget Guernsey Riordan, Joe Moon, and many others. I've been so lucky. 

Frank Gaertner with 3 other people

Rishika, Aadya, Pratyush, and Me at Emory's Diwali celebration in November 2022.

Frank Gaertner with 3 other people

Me in Itaewon, Seoul with James, Tyler, and Kyungie in 2019.