That one time...when being flip was a good thing!

Posted by Monica Hoel
Toni Atkins (’84) gave an E&H student a professional opportunity of a lifetime.

Current Emory & Henry student Cameron Chase was being flippant one day…but it paid off.

During a conversation he rolled his eyes and said, “Can’t we ever get someone famous on campus? Like Carrie Underwood…or Toni Atkins?”

Toni, Emory & Henry Class of 1984, is serving in the California State Senate after having served as Speaker of the California State Assembly. She is the former acting mayor of San Diego and once served as Governor of California – for nine hours.  (It was a particularly unusual day when the governor, lieutenant governor and state Senate president pro tem were all out of town).

When Toni heard that Cam had quipped about her fame, she found it “hilarious” that she was looped in with the famous country singer. But she immediately added, “You are going to have to send that kid to California for a work study.”

And she was serious.

Because that’s how Emory & Henry people are.

As this story is being shared in the middle of May, 2017, Cam has made it to Sacramento, and, according to Toni, “is already carrying my bag.” She also added that her staff was enjoying him immensely.

As for Cam, he is getting an educational opportunity beyond his expectations. Before ever leaving, he expressed wonder at how many events Toni seemed to attend in her role as a state senator. Now that he is following her around, her calendar seems particularly challenging. Texted reports from Cam have raved about Toni’s “awesome schedule,” her “amazing staff,” and about the myriad meetings and events. “There’s so much going on here! I’m already sad thinking I have to leave.”

If a huge party for Toni’s health care bill, time on the senate floor, and dinner with industry leaders wasn’t enough…did we mention that penguins visited Toni’s office this week?

  • Cameron Chase and Toni Atkins on the floor of the California Assembly.
    Cameron Chase and Toni Atkins on the floor of the California Assembly.
“Can’t we ever get someone famous on campus? Like Carrie Underwood…or Toni Atkins?”
— Cameron Chase

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