Duke University Alumni Magazine



emnants of the rugged Duke NROTC Class of 1946 gathered in April for its fifty-fourth class reunion. Eight were expected to be there, but only six could make it. The original class was composed of thirty-three youthful, self-appointed seamen, eager to graduate, go to sea, and be a part of World War II. They missed the big war, but a number hung around the Navy long enough to participate in the Korean War. The average age of the class today is seventy-five.

The 1946 class was not of a typical college makeup. Members came from all corners of the nation, which bred a sort of cultural disharmony that later proved to be a binding force between the dissimilar characters. Many were academically unprepared to meet the difficult curriculum of Duke and the Navy. Forty classmates were unable to make the grade and were shipped out as ordinary seamen. Thus, it became an academic struggle in which Duke was almost the enemy. No time for college frivolity. Survival was the goal. So, those who graduated in 1946 and gained their commissions are best called survivors, and that was the theme of the reunion. A highlight of the gathering was the toasting ceremony from a special bottle of brandy that is used whenever the class meets. The half-full bottle is expected to outlast the remaining members. Victor Corrado of Sun City, Florida, is the keeper of the coveted brandy. A retiree, he is regarded as a moderate drinker who can be trusted to keep the spirits from year to year. The last two surviving classmates are authorized to drain the bottle, being careful to recognize their departed mates.

Besides Corrado and myself, members of the Class of 1946 who attended were Jay Ky Beam of Rockville, Maryland; Henry L. Stanfield of Boca Raton, Florida; Glenn W. Sutherland of Washington, Illinois; and Phillip M. Wooley of Lake Placid, Florida.


hree members of the Class of 2004 received Alumni Endowed Undergraduate Scholarships sponsored by the Duke Alumni Association. The merit-based, named scholarships, each with an annually renewable $8,000 stipend, are awarded to children of Duke alumni who qualified for financial aid.

Pamela Elizabeth Leech is the Charles E. Jordan Scholar. Jordan '23, LL.M. '25 served forty-one years at Duke as assistant secretary, secretary, vice president of public relations, and chairman of the Duke Athletic Council, retiring in 1966. Leech, the daughter of Betsy Hoggard Leech '73 and David A. Leech '73 of Greenville, North Carolina, is a member of the National Honor Society; National Spanish Honor Society; Social Studies Honor Society; English Honor Society; and Mu Alpha Theta, a math honor society. President of the Science Honor Society her senior year, she was active in student government, where she was an officer, and in service and mentoring clubs. During her four years as a cheerleader, she was junior-varsity captain and varsity captain. She also participated in the Honors Medical School Program through East Carolina University, working two periods a day her senior year with a medical school mentor to design and execute her own research project.

Sarah Abigail McKeown is the Alan K. Manchester Scholar. Manchester Ph.D. '30 was dean of freshmen from 1935 to 1949, dean of undergraduate studies from 1949 to 1956, and Trinity College dean from 1956 to 1963; he retired in 1967 as University Distinguished Professor Emeritus of history. McKeown, the daughter of Jane Arrington McKeown M.A.T. '71 and Robert E. McKeown M.Div. '72, Ph.D. '76 of Columbia, South Carolina, was treasurer of the National Honor Society and a member of the German Honor Society, marching band, wind symphony, and Interact Club. A pianist who also plays the French horn, she participated in the South Carolina Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities in 1998. Along with her community-service volunteer work, she took part for two years in the Lexington Medical Center's Partners Program and its internship program.

Jacob Seals Usner is the Charles A. Dukes Scholar. Dukes '29 was assistant director of alumni affairs and public relations from 1934 to 1944, acting director until 1946, and director until 1963, retiring as an assistant vice president in 1967. Usner, the son of Daniel H. Usner Ph.D. '81 of Ithaca, New York, has been a member of the National Honor Society, the math team, the varsity tennis team, and the high school jazz band. Having studied classical piano for eleven years and jazz piano for four, he plays in three other bands, including the Arts Jazz Ensemble and the Community School of Music Improvisation. He has received excellent and superior ratings for solo piano performance by the National Federation of Music Clubs. He took part in the Cornell Strategic Simulations Society for four years, received a Scholar/Athlete Award, was placed on the Athletic Honor Roll, and was named an A.P. scholar, with honors.


ommunity service has been a part of Duke alumni clubs' programming for nearly two decades. Last year, the Duke Alumni Association decided to recognize Duke clubs across the nation that have shown a stellar level of accomplishment with an annual Community Service Award. This year's recipients are the Duke University Metropolitan Alumni Association (DUMAA) and the Duke Club of Memphis. Each club receives $500 and has its name engraved on a recognition plaque in Alumni House at Duke.

DUMAA, which serves the New York City area and parts of Connecticut and New Jersey, has a long history of community service, from weekly staffing of the soup kitchen at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine to an annual clean-up of New York City parks. This past year some of the club's projects included playing basketball with participants in the Manhattan Special Olympics, renovating low-income housing on New York Cares Day, donating books to various organizations, ice skating with children from Grosvenor Neighborhood House, after-school programs for both Boys Harbor and the Stanley Isaacs Center, and Dress for Success, which assists women in making the transition into the workforce. Susan L. Callahan '86 is DUMAA's president.

For the past eight years, the Duke Club of Memphis has hosted a Halloween carnival for children at Estival Place, a transitional housing development for homeless women and their families, established by the Memphis Inter-Faith Association. Aside from providing financial support for the carnival, the Memphis club sets up, provides prizes, and operates games. Each child also receives a Duke-related gift. Michael S. Reeves M.B.A. '95 is the Duke Club of Memphis' president.


ally Austen Tom '73, B.S.N. '75 was named the School of Nursing's Distinguished Alumna for 2000. Tom is deputy director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Partnerships in Training initiative, which enables nurse-practitioner, nurse-midwifery, and physician-assistant programs to offer their curricula on the World Wide Web so students can advance in their careers without having to leave home. The Association of Health Centers in Washington, D.C., administers the initiative.

Tom earned her master's in parent-child nursing and nurse-midwifery at the University of Utah in 1978 and her master's in public administration in 1985 at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. She is pursuing her Ph.D. in the executive management program at Case Western Reserve University.

From 1978 to 1981, she taught nurse midwifery at Georgetown University and provided midwifery care at D.C. General Hospital. From 1980 to 1985, she was the first government liaison for the American College of Nurse-Midwives, representing the organization before Congress. She successfully lobbied for federal legislation requiring Medicaid to reimburse nurse-midwives directly.

Tom directed obstetrical and newborn services for the American Refugee Committee in 1987-88 at an official campsite on the Thai-Cambodian border. She supervised thirty midwives in an eighty-bed field hospital that served 70,000 Cambodian refugees, and she coordinated emergency evaluations, security, logistics, and communications with other camp agencies. From 1988 to 1990, she aided the Planned Parenthood Association of Zambia as management adviser to the Population Council in Lusaka, Zambia. There she established de novo, the country's first free-standing family-planning and reproductive health-care center.

Before joining the Partnerships in Training initiative, Tom was a visiting assistant professor at the West Virginia School of Nursing in Charleston, where she was the state's regional clinical coordinator for the Frontier School of Midwifery and Family Nursing. She also established and directed a nurse-midwifery clinical service that continues to provide comprehensive care to clients at the Charleston Area Medical Center.


he Engineering Alumni Association honored three of its own at the Pratt School of Engineering's annual awards banquet in April. Clinton W. Kelly III B.S.E.E. '59 received the association's Distinguished Alumnus Award, Michael R. Feldman B.S.E. '84 its Distinguished Young Alumni Award, and William B. Wilmer VI B.S.E.E. '51 its Distinguished Service Award.

Kelly is senior vice president for advanced technology development at S.A.I.C., a $5.5-billion company ranked 347th on the Fortune 500 list. After earning his master's in 1967 and Ph.D. in 1972, both in electrical engineering, at the University of Michigan, he helped found Decisions and Designs, Inc., which specialized in the development and application of decisions analysis to public and national security policy problems; he was the company's director of research. He became executive director of the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency, the leading source of funding for advanced computers in the United States, under the Department of Defense.

From 1986 to 1989, he directed the Defense Department's study on Japanese manufacturing technology. He was awarded the Secretary of Defense Medal for Meritorious Civilian Service for his leadership of the Strategic Computing program, and the Secretary of the Navy's Commendation Medal for his contribution to a reconnaissance research project.

Feldman is chief technology officer at Digital Optics Corporation (DOC), which he founded in 1991, and was its president until 1998. At the University of California, San Diego, he earned his master's in 1986 and his Ph.D. in 1989 in electrical engineering and applied physics. He was an assistant professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where his research resulted in twenty-four patents being issued in the field of photonic modules for communications. At DOC, he and one of his former graduate students developed several key photonic module inventions, now patented and licensed exclusively to DOC. The company has been ranked among Deloitte & Touche's Technology Fast 50 and Fast 500, the Business Journal's North Carolina Tech 50 and Fast 50, and Inc.'s America's Fastest Growing Companies. Last year, DOC received the Governor's New Product Award, sponsored by the Professional Engineers of North Carolina.

Wilmer, who retired in 1986, worked for DuPont for thirty years, where he was an instrument engineer at the Atomic Energy Commission's Savannah River Project. After graduating from Duke, he served as a Navy ensign for three years, remaining active in the Naval Reserve until retiring as a commander in 1976. He is a past president of the local chapter of the Instrument Society of America. He has been Kiwanis Club president in Sanford, North Carolina, and Salem, South Carolina. A longtime supporter of the university, he was class agent from 1957 to 1959 and again has been class agent since 1982. In 1983, he received the Duke Alumni Association's Charles A. Dukes Award for Voluntary Service. He and his wife, Lena "Mackie" Smith Wilmer '51, are planning committee co-chairs for their fiftieth reunion.

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