Duke University Alumni Magazine


Party poppers: confetti fireworks reigned at Saturday's Big Dance after the rain nixed outdoor pyrotechnics
Photo: Chris Hildreth
onfetti rained at Saturday night's Big Dance, the highlight of Reunion 2000 in mid-April. The real precipitation outside failed to dampen the spirits of the 2,750 alumni and friends taking part in a weekend packed with special events, class gatherings, and general activities.

Duke Directions, an all-day program with several topical sessions by Duke faculty, kicked off the weekend on Friday. Special guest speakers were author Peter Maas '50 and Y2K czar John Koskinen '61. An added feature this year was Art Sparks on Saturday afternoon, highlighting Blue Devil creativity in the arts: students reading their writings, alumni reading their plays, student films, music, documentary photography, and a dance performance in the Ark.

On Friday, most class-specific parties were held in headquarters tents on the East and West quads and ranged from barbecue banquets to a burrito buffet, with a variety of music, from Dixieland to beach tunes to alternative rock. The Half Century Club, whose members have already celebrated their fiftieth reunions, held an evening gala with music and dancing at its nearby headquarters hotel.

Best foot forward: Duke Dance was showcased as part of "Art Sparks" programming on Friday
Photo: Chris Hildreth

On Saturday, there were lecture tours of Duke Gardens, the Primate Center, Duke Forest, the Rhine parapsychology center, and the Bryan Alzheimer's research center, as well as the morning Alumni Fun Run/Walk, a Project WILD ropes course, and campus groups' open houses. Speaking in Page Auditorium, President Nannerl O. Keohane discussed Duke's directions for the new century, accepted reunion class gifts, and joined the procession to the new Wilson Recreation Center for the Duke Alumni Association luncheon. The Blue/White Spring Football game followed.

The Big Dance was the big event on Saturday night in the new Sheffield Tennis Center, beginning with an elegant buffet. The evening's entertainment was a progression of music, from the Paul Jeffrey Jazz Ensemble to the big-band sound of the Casablanca Orchestra to a performance by the Platters. More than 2,000 alumni and friends attended.

The Chapel was filled to capacity for an early Palm Sunday service. Due to the threat of rain, the champagne brunch site was changed from Duke Gardens to the Bryan Center, although the sun finally emerged. That afternoon, the classes of 1940 and 1945 were guests of honor at the Half Century Club Luncheon, where the Class of 1950 was welcomed into its ranks. Distinguished Alumni Award winner and HCC president Dorothy Lewis Simpson '46 was the guest speaker.

Click here for a gallery of photos from Reunion 2000


OCUS was the focus of the opening plenary session when the Duke Alumni Association's board of directors met in February for its winter meeting. First-year Opportunity for Comprehensive Unified Study (FOCUS) is offered to students their first semester; more than 400 participate in the interdisciplinary program, which features small-group seminars on related subjects.

A panel--history professor Seymour Mauskopf, the program's director; classics professor and FOCUS faculty member Peter Burian; Babs Wise, the program's administrator; and students Jaime Cassano '02 and Matthew Baugh '01--discussed their experiences in the program.

The board also received an update on TIP, the twenty-year-old Talent Identification Program, from its director, Steven Pfeiffer. TIP identifies particularly precocious seventh-graders who can take part in a summer enrichment program at Duke.

DAA president Gwynne Young '71 reported on the DAA's executive committee meeting in January in San Francisco that coincided with an exhibition and reception at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, sponsored by the Duke Club of Northern California. She also reported on the winter meeting of Duke's trustees, which she attends ex officio. Trustees approved the naming of the Pratt School of Engineering and the founding of the Institute for Care at the End of Life.

Editor Robert Bliwise A.M. '88 gave his annual report on Duke Magazine, which included a review of future stories. Among the anticipated themes are residential life and academic planning. With the more extensive use of color, the magazine is delivering a stronger visual impact.

Bert Fisher '80, director of the alumni clubs program, reported on the special receptions at art museums in major cities planned for the year, as well as a series of sixteen club events featuring football coach Carl Franks '83. He also noted that DukeAlumni.com has shown a dramatic increase in communications, including new websites for clubs, reunion, classes, and other affinity groups.

The Friday session was followed by a chance to see the women's basketball team defeat Georgia Tech in Cameron. On Saturday, committee chairs issued the following reports:

Electronic Communications. Wilt Alston B.S.E. '81 noted that the committee reviewed the summary of ideas garnered from research done for the DAA by a Fuqua business school marketing class. Focus groups suggested improvements to the alumni website and some sample questions for an impending survey.

Awards and Recognition. Gary Melchionni '72, J.D. '81 announced that the recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award for 2000 had been notified; the award will be presented at Founders' Day ceremonies in October. The committee discussed selecting more than one recipient per year, and it approved the recommendation from the alumni clubs program that the Duke University Metropolitan Alumni Association (the New York City area) and the Duke Club of Memphis be recognized for community-service awards.

Community Service. Page Murray '85 recommended that the board partake in a community-service project when it meets in May. Working again with DURO (Duke University Retirees Outreach) and its president, retired student-life administrator Bill Griffith '50, volunteers were planning to return to Lakewood Elementary School for projects. The committee suggested that the DAA tap into a national community service organization through the Internet, citing "Street Projects" as a good model.

External Relations. Michele Miller Sales '78, J.D. '81 reported for her co-chair Cedric Jones '82 on the committee's discussion of a proposal for long-range planning and an alumni survey. The gist of the project is "What should Duke do for its alumni and what should its alumni do for Duke?" One group the committee wants to focus on are "young alumni," those who have graduated within the last decade.

Reunions. Reunions director Lisa Dilts '83 presented an overview of the April reunion of all classes with years ending in 0 and 5. (A summary in words and images appears elsewhere in these pages.)

Laney Funderburk '60, director of Alumni Affairs, closed the session with the director's report. He recommended that the DAA begin an update of its long-range plan covering the next ten years and engage Dan White, former alumni director at Princeton University, as a consultant and facilitator. The board agreed, and the planning process is set to begin immediately.

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