Blair estates give over $16M to Agnes Scott, Emory’s Oxford College

Sara Emma “Emy” Blair and H. Duane Blair
Sara Emma “Emy” Blair and H. Duane Blair

Oxford College of Emory University and Agnes Scott College will split a gift of more than $16 million from the estates of Emy and Duane Blair of Stone Mountain.

The $8.4 million is the largest single cash gift in Oxford’s history.

Sara Emma “Emy” Blair graduted from Agnes Scott in 1952 with a degree in mathematics, the third generation of women in her family to go there. She and Duane Blair, her boyfriend at Emory, married that year.

She worked as a chemist, supporting him through medical school. They moved to Beaufort, South Carolina, while he served as a Lieutenant Commander in the U.S. Navy Medical Corps. They returned to Atlanta in 1961, and he practiced medicine while she worked as his office manager for 50 years.

She was from Stone Mountain and the couple settled there. Her father had been public health commissioner of DeKalb County for 25 years, helping to found — along with Scott Candler and James Ross McCain — DeKalb Medical Center, where Duane Blair would work as a surgeon.

Sara Emma “Emy” Blair and H. Duane Blair
Sara Emma “Emy” Blair and H. Duane Blair

An Atlanta native, Duane Blair grew up in Clarkston and graduated from Oxford College in 1948 and received an undergraduate degree from Emory College in 1950. After medical school and residency at the Emory School of Medicine, he entered practice as a surgeon in Decatur. He served as chief of surgery and chief of staff at DeKalb Medical Center (now Emory Decatur Hospital), chaired the hospital’s board of directors as a trustee and served as a member of the DeKalb County Board of Health.

He died in 2015. Emy Blair died in 2017.

The couple designated their $8 million gift to Agnes Scott for facilities improvement and scholarships. The Emy and Duane Blair Science Scholarship Fund will provide scholarships for students of the sciences beginning this fall.

Oxford will use half of the Blairs’ donation to fund student financial aid through the Duane and Emy Blair Scholarship Endowment, with the other half reserved for capital improvements.