Dr. Emma Lipps was an educator like her mother before her. Cousin Emma was was born in Alexandria, Virginia on February 8, 1919 and died in Rome, Georgia on July 19, 1996.
Dr. Lipps was a professor of Biology at Shorter College in Rome, Georgia, for more than forty years. Previously, she graduated from Wesleyan College, worked in the medical school in Augusta, Georgia, and taught at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia. She earned her masters degree from Emory University and her PhD from the University of Tennessee.
During her forty plus years at Shorter College, the main body of her work came to fruition. Her career was dedicated to ecological interests and promoting the well being of the Earth. Many of her endeavors in the field of ecology were visionary and have since become part of everyday concerns about the environment.
One area of local interest for Dr. Lipps and her students was the Marshall Forest, a tract of land located in Floyd County, Georgia that had never been cleared for cultivation. Dr. Lipps used the forest as a natural lab for teaching biology and a great ecological resource. To quote Dr. Lipps in reference to Marshall Forest, “it will provide answers to questions we are not yet able to ask.” In 1979, the National Council of State Garden Clubs honored her for 25 years of work on behalf of the Marshall Forest.
Dr. Lipps’ ecological interests are also reflected in her geological work at Ladd’s Quarry in Bartow County, Georgia. A report in The Smithsonian Torch of June 1968 announced the discovery on this site of perhaps the largest Devonian fossil fauna ever unearthed in the Southeast. In fact, Dr. Lipps and her students sent from Ladd’s Quarry enough fossil specimens to fill several drawers in the workroom desks of the Smithsonian Institution.
Through the scope of her distinguished career, Dr. Lipps sought to increase awareness of our dependency on the Earth’s resources and to encourage our acceptance of shared responsibility for its upkeep. With a combination of energy, enthusiasm, perseverance, and a few eccentricities, Dr. Lipps became a leader and legend in her field. Her students, many of whom are themselves leaders in many fields, will carry on her torch for generations to come.