Dooley dipped and spun ladies on the dance floor late into the evening on Saturday as his guards looked on stoically.
But the immortal spirit of Emory wasn't the only one with his dancing shoes tied tightly for the Founders Ball.
Between 300 and 400 faculty, staff, alumni and students crowded the Lullwater Ballroom at the Emory Conference Center to celebrate the university's 170th birthday.
The ball marked the end of a week dedicated to exploring, critiquing and celebrating Emory's past, present and future.
Founders Week offered the Emory community a wide array of events to sample, ranging from a speech by U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) about the civil rights movement to a night of stargazing at Emory's planetarium.
But what tied the week together was a theme of openness in conversation about where Emory has been and where it has the capability to go.
In the Feb. 10 keynote address, Brown University (R.I.) President Ruth Simmons talked about Brown's entanglement with the slave trade in the 18th century and how the school confronted its past to promote racial understanding in its community.
Brown's reconciliation attempt mirrors Emory's Transforming Community Project (TCP), which addresses the role of race relations in Emory's own history. According to the Center for Ethics' Web site, the project seeks to examine the university's past as it relates to issues of slavery, desegregation and lynching.
"We look to the future without fear because we understand better what lies behind in our past," Simmons said.
Though organizers of Founders Week events did not intend for racial understanding to be a unifying theme, many events - including Lewis' and Simmons' speeches as well as a Feb. 7 panel discussion about experiencing race at Emory - focused on the issue of civil rights.
"Ruth Simmons encouraged our community to examine our past and work towards a more open future," said Sally Wolff-King, associate dean for undergraduate education.
After Simmons' speech in Cannon Chapel, University President James W. Wagner presented her with the President's Medal, one of Emory's highest honors.
He said he hopes the TCP, along with further discussion of the university's past, will help bind the Emory community together.
"We need to go from being a diverse college to being a diverse community," Wagner said.
For Brenda Bennefield, a graduate student in the Candler School of Theology, the first step toward building community is to host more events like the Founders Ball.
"I think [Emory] should have more socializing to get people out to mingle," said Bennefield. "It's a whole different atmosphere than when you are at work or school."
The ball had a Valentine's Day theme. Every guest was greeted with a a box of Godiva chocolates, and each female guest also received a rose. A jazz sextet played for guests on a dimly-lit dance floor lined with ice sculptures.
Wagner joined the band to sing "Happy Birthday" to Emory and toasted "the spirit of the past, the spirit of the present, and as we move forward, the spirit of the future."
Wolff-King, whose preparations for the ball began months ago, said she was pleased with the diverse turnout for the event.
"Students, faculty, staff and alumni celebrated Emory together, and that makes Founders Ball an important and memorable occasion," she said.
As the evening wore on, students replaced the alumni, faculty, and staff on the dance floor. Members of the Emory Swing Club demonstrated their moves and offered impromptu lessons while Dooley posed for pictures with the guests.
For College senior Jojo Mulunda, the Founders Ball offered an opportunity for closure before graduation.
"It is a last chance to take advantage of the best out of Emory, which is the people," Mulunda said.