In Brief: March-April 2002


- Durham Technical Community College President Phail Wynn Jr. and Duke trustee emerita Susan Bennett King '62 were honored for their contributions to the Durham and campus communities at the fifth annual Samuel DuBois Cook Society awards banquet. The Cook Society, named for the first black scholar appointed to the faculty of a predominately white university in the South, was formed in 1997 to provide a forum to discuss issues that affect the lives of blacks at Duke. A political scientist and civil-rights activist, Cook became president of Dillard University and a Duke trustee. Other Cook Society awards were presented to Brenda E. Armstrong '70, dean of admissions at Duke's medical school and a pediatric cardiologist; James E. Coleman, senior associate dean for academic affairs at Duke's law school; Deanna Janea Atchley '02; Adam David Grossman '02; Bianca Christel Williams '02; Christina Chia, doctoral candidate in English; Wilda Gafney, doctoral candidate in religion; and Charles McKinney, doctoral candidate in history.

- April S. Brown, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology, is the new chair of the department of electrical and computer engineering at Duke's Pratt School of Engineering. She earned her B.S.E.E. degree at North Carolina State University, and a master's and Ph.D. in electrical engineering at Cornell University. After joining the Georgia Tech faculty in l994, and being named full professor in 1999, she was associate dean of its College of Engineering until 2001, when she was appointed Joseph M. Pettit professor of electrical and computer engineering and executive assistant to the president. Her research focuses on semiconductor materials and devices for a range of applications--from devices for wireless communications to optoelectronics. She is exploring new nanoscale materials (substances on the order of a billionth of a meter in size) and the integration of a range of technologies for future electronic microsystems.

- John F. Ferguson M.B.A. '92 was appointed associate dean for finance and administration at Duke's Pratt School of Engineering. He earned his B.S.E. degree at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1984 and served as an officer in the Army and Reserve for six years. President and chief operating officer of Mediacentrix in Los Angeles in 2000 and 2001, he had worked as senior consultant, manager, and then senior manager for KPMG, a leading professional-services firm, in Los Angeles from 1995 to 2000. He was a senior analyst for Twentieth Century Fox in 1994-1995 and an analyst for Paramount Pictures in 1993.

- Former vice president for student affairs William J. Griffith '50 has been honored as a "Pillar of the Profession" by the NASPA Foundation, a subsidiary of NASPA, the premier student-affairs professional association. Griffith, whose forty-one-year career at Duke included service as field secretary for undergraduate admissions, director of the student union and director of student activities, assistant to the provost in the area of student affairs, dean of student affairs, and assistant provost, retired in 1991. He is the recipient of the University Medal of Distinction, the Charles Huestis Award for outstanding service to retirees, and the C. Eric Lincoln Award for service to the minority community.

- William H. Schlesinger, dean of the Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences, was elected president for 2003-04 of the Ecological Society of America (ESA). The ESA is the primary national professional organization of ecologists, representing more than 7,600 scientists in the United States and around the world. Norman L. Christensen Jr., Nicholas School professor of ecology, was elected vice president for finance, replacing Schlesinger. Another Nicholas School professor, James S. Clark, Hugo Blomquist Professor of Biology and Earth and Ocean Sciences, is ESA's vice president for science.

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