Duke University Alumni Magazine


Commencement symbols of power: President Carter
Photo: Les Todd

peaking under a bright morning sun to 3,400 students receiving bachelor's, graduate, and professional degrees, former President Jimmy Carter urged America's young people to help end discrimination against the poor, broaden human-rights concerns, and encourage the nation to increase efforts to champion peace around the world and share its wealth with less fortunate nations. This year's graduation exercises were held May 18.

     "The greatest demonstration of discrimination is the rich against the poor," Carter said. He labeled the rich not those who have large bank accounts, but those who have decent homes, some usable education, access to health care, "who feel that the police and the judicial system are on our side, and who think if we make a decision it will make a difference, at least in our own lives."

Commencement symbols of power: the chain of office
Photo: Chris Hilldreth

     "We have been given a treasure in our life of all those things--some greatly magnified, particularly for the graduates of Duke--and we rarely share," Carter told his audience. The former president, who founded the nonprofit Carter Center in Atlanta to promote peace and human rights, said Americans live in a nation "that is now the only superpower on Earth with opportunities for true national greatness.... I would say that we should be the champion of peace everywhere, in Bangladesh, in Sri Lanka, in Haiti, in Liberia, Zaire, and Somalia, so that wherever there is a conflict on Earth, people would say, why don't we turn to America because they will use their tremendous power to bring us peace?"

     Carter advocated respect for the most basic human rights, such as "having a right to a decent home, or adequate food, or a job, or medical care." Reinforcing his message to reach out to those less fortunate, he noted, "Of all the developed nations on Earth, the United States is the stingiest." Young people should construct their priorities by building on things one cannot see, he said. "What are the things that are the permanent foundation for setting the priorities in our lives that you cannot see? You can't see justice, truth, service, compassion. And if you will forgive the expression, love."

Commencement symbols of power: the class of 1997
Photo: Les Todd

     Five honorary degree recipients were recognized during the ceremony by President Nannerl O. Keohane: Carter, awarded a doctor of humane letters degree ("You have said that you never intended the presidency to be the end of your activism. Indeed, the presidency was just one phase of your activism."); Norman R. Augustine, Lockheed Martin Corporation chief executive, doctor of laws ("Your inspired leadership has helped create consensus around federal investment and the government-university research partnership, which have been central to the economic and social health of our nation."); John H. Gibbons Ph.D. '54, presidential science and technology adviser and physicist, doctor of science ("Your career represents a forty-year commitment to advancing scientific knowledge and to enhancing the role of science and technology in public policy"); The Reverend Peter J. Gomes, Harvard professor and popular university minister, doctor of humane letters ("In all the worlds you inhabit, including the Duke pulpit on many occasions, you are constant in your elegant appeals to virtuous action"); and artist and arts advocate Doris Marie "Doc" Leeper '51, doctor of fine arts ("Among your numerous works of art, none is more impressive than the Atlantic Center for the Arts... [where] creative collaborations have flourished and creative energy has flowed for the past fifteen years").


he first RNA cancer vaccine clinical trial involving eighteen patients with breast, lung, or colorectal cancer has been formally reviewed and approved by the National Institutes of Health's Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee. Trials are under way at Duke Medical Center after having received approval by the Food and Drug Administration and the NIH.

     Duke researchers and NIH officials say this is the first time RNA has been tried as a therapeutic vaccine to fight primary cancers as well as protect patients against recurrences. Previous tumor vaccines have been laboriously tailored for each patient using his or her own cancer cells, and they haven't worked well. The RNA vaccine is designed to be used broadly to treat a number of cancers in many patients. It uses dendritic immune cells common to all people.

     The Duke researchers already have published results of an animal study using the RNA vaccine. The report, in the August 1996 issue of the Journal of Experimental Medicine, showed the vaccine dramatically reduced spread of lung cancer in mice and protected them from developing new cancer.

     "This may be the tool we've all been seeking, a 'Superman' vaccine that many people can use for the predominant killer cancers," says H. Kim Lyerly, clinical director of the Gene and Cellular Therapeutics Center at Duke.

     The trial represents the newest way to use immunotherapy--employing the body's own immune system--to fight cancer. The dendritic cells alert immune system "killer T" cells that foreign tissue has invaded the body. Although scientists have known that these rare cells are crucial to a successful immune system response, technology developed only recently can exponentially boost the comparatively few dendritic cells a patient has available to "naturally" fend off a disease. In the face of cancer, that natural response is weak, but employing millions of "pumped up" dendritic cells can elicit a very strong immune response.

     To date, researchers say no toxicity has been seen in patients during the ongoing phase-one stage of the trial, which is designed to test safety. Duke is expected to start phase-two testing of the vaccine's ability to elicit an immune response later this year.


uke law school's new Center for Global Information Technologies, with the financial backing of several major multinational corporations and the cooperation of China, sponsored an international conference in Brussels in mid-July on intellectual property rights and capital investment in evolving economies.

     The goal of the center and the aim of the conference was to bring public officials from developing countries together with private industry leaders to address the problem of intellectual-property piracy. At the same time, there's interest in creating opportunities for industry to invest in those countries where piracy has been an issue. Piracy of intellectual property, including trademark violations, appropriation of movies and computer programs, and duplication of patented materials, costs businesses billions of dollars annually.

     By linking capital investment--such as investment in high technology and in building manufacturing facilities--in developing countries to improved intellectual-property protection, the center wants to create momentum for global change, says law professor David Lange, executive director of the center and a specialist on intellectual property and telecommunications.

     "What is significant about the center and the conference is that it comes at the initiative of the People's Republic of China itself," Lange says. "I think the approach is strikingly innovative. The Brussels conference [introduced] a new international forum for structured ongoing working relationships between intellectual-property proprietors and investors and their public-sector counterparts. This is the most important single initiative in intellectual property since the TRIPS agreement was signed." The TRIPS agreement (Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights), signed in Marrakesh in 1994, is an adjunct to the General Agreement on Tariff and Trade, or GATT.

     The conference, titled "Public Private Initiatives After TRIPS: Designing a Global Agenda," had the participation and financial backing of major enterprises, including Coca-Cola, Du Pont, Lucent Technologies, Merck, Pfizer, Price Waterhouse, and Ventana Communications Group. Beyond the public sessions, the Brussels conference fostered private background negotiations between delegates from China and representatives from leading multinational corporations interested in doing business there.

     The meeting was the first of three major international conferences in three years, all aimed toward improved intellectual-property enforcement and increased capital investment on a global basis. The second conference will be held at Duke next July, and the third will be in Beijing in October 1999.


resident Nannerl O. Keohane told the board of trustees at its May meeting that one of the university's top priorities is to make sure Duke provides a hospitable environment for blacks and other ethnic minorities on campus.

     Keohane said three incidents in the last few months "have led many African-American members of our community to express their feelings of frustration and alienation at Duke.... If we cannot provide an environment where true education occurs, and where all among us--and particularly our students--feel comfortable as part of a broader community, then we will have failed." She added, "Addressing these issues in a direct, serious, and sustained fashion is one of our very highest priorities as an administration in the months and years ahead."

     The board, led by its Student Affairs Committee, voted unanimously to endorse Keohane's commitment to "cultural harmony." The board also asked Keohane to ensure that Duke takes an "active leadership role in developing effective solutions to the problems of racial and ethnic divisiveness in society generally."

     The three incidents that collectively raised the issue on campus included an article in The Duke Review, an independent student publication, that portrayed many biweekly employees as lazy and incompetent; a story in the student newspaper, The Chronicle, describing the sexual relationships of a fictional student that two black women thought would be seen as applying to them; and the mistaken arrest of a black first-year student.

     Two university police officers were punished following the April 7 arrest. In the incident, they handcuffed and unlawfully detained the student for thirty minutes at the Fuqua School of Business, where he was employed in a work-study job. Another employee at the school had falsely identified him as a suspect in a rash of robberies that year. A few weeks later, the Duke Police Department announced that the officers responsible for the mistaken arrest were suspended without pay for not following procedure in dealing with the incident.

     Keohane, Provost John Strohbehn, Executive Vice President Tallman Trask III, and Myrna Adams, vice president for institutional equity, met with a dozen black faculty members to discuss the events and steps the university might take to improve the climate on campus. The faculty members were among nineteen who signed an open protest letter to the university community. According to the letter, the student's mistaken arrest "is a reflection of a larger issue that cannot be closed until there is a frank recognition of the existing problems."


uke and twenty-four other universities have had a grievance filed against them by the National Women's Law Center, a nonprofit women's advocacy group, which alleges that their female athletes have not been given an equitable amount of scholarship money.

     The law center charged that female athletes received at least $1,000 less per person than male athletes at each of the twenty-five institutions named in the complaint to the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights. Marcia D. Greenberger, co-president of the law center, says those discrepancies violate Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits discrimination at schools that receive federal funds.

     In a prepared statement, Duke associate athletics director Joe Alleva says the university has supported its women athletes. "While the university does not typically comment on legal matters, it is important to note that the university does not believe it is 'letting down' its women athletes. On the contrary, Duke has made great strides and will continue to strengthen its support of them. Duke is very proud of its women athletes."

     One way of complying with Title IX is by showing a history of increasing opportunities for women. Alleva notes that Duke currently has thirteen men's and twelve women's varsity athletic teams. In the last ten years, Duke has added two women's varsity teams and has provided more scholarships for women, and it is committed to adding a thirteenth women's team--most likely crew or softball--in the next year or two.


ohn Hope Franklin, James B. Duke Professor emeritus of history, was named by President Clinton to chair a seven-member advisory panel to examine race relations in America. Plans include a series of town-hall meetings and special events, including the fortieth-anniversary celebration of the September 25, 1957, federal enforcement of the Brown v. Board of Education decision at Little Rock High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. The initiative will culminate with a report next June from the president on race in America.

     Franklin, a scholar of Southern and black history, is best known for writing the definitive text on slavery in America, From Slavery to Freedom. The eighty-two-year-old scholar has received numerous awards,including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, which Clinton presented to him in 1995.

     Franklin takes on this new task with optimism, he says, even though many have already criticized Clinton's initiative as a political move lacking substance. The panel's greatest task "is to persuade the public we're serious. The cynicism that one could see and hear was evident."

     Franklin says he would not have taken on the job if he did not believe the committee could make a difference. "I think Clinton is serious in his decision to ease the tension and make significant reparations to heal the wounds that have been caused by 300 years of segregation and degradation," says Franklin. "He grew up poor as a young man in the segregated South. He saw a lot at a young age and didn't like what he saw."

     Joining Franklin on the panel will be former governors Thomas Kean of New Jersey and William Winter of Mississippi; Linda Chavez-Thompson, executive vice president of the AFL-CIO; The Reverend Suzan Johnson Cook; Angela Oh, a Los Angeles attorney and community leader; and Robert Thompson, the CEO of Nissan U.S.A.

     Clinton said he hopes to lead America in a conversation about race. "I want this panel to help educate Americans about the facts surrounding issues of race, to promote a dialogue in every community of the land to confront and work through these issues, to recruit and encourage leadership at all levels, to help breach racial divides, and to find, develop, and recommend how to implement concrete solutions to our problems--solutions that will involve all of us in government, business, communities, and as individual citizens."


lack-and-white ruffed lemurs, U.S.-bred from animals originally removed from Madagascar to conserve their species, will be carefully returned to the wilds they never knew when, next fall, a first-ever restocking project is begun.

     Madagascar Fauna Group (MFG), the project's international sponsor, plans to repatriate systematically as many as twenty of the adaptable lemurs to their ancestral island nation over the next three years. The deployment will be the first well-planned and monitored release of captive-born lemurs to a native rain forest environment, where they will live apart from humans. The long-tailed, tree-climbing, endangered primates now live in two U.S. research and breeding habitats: the Duke Primate Center and a Wildlife Conservation Society site on St. Catherine's Island off the coast of Georgia.

     The animals' new home will be Betampona Natural Reserve, a protected area of more than 5,000 acres. It is one of the few remaining parts of the lowland rain forest that once dominated much of eastern Madagascar. Most of that forest has now been cleared for farming and local wood consumption.

     In addition to releasing lemurs, organizers hope to stimulate a stronger awareness of conservation in Madagascar's own citizens. Toward that aim, Malagasy scientists and nearby villagers will be closely involved in project research and activities. And the reintroduction efforts will also provide local Malagasy with jobs and educational opportunities.

Going home: Duke's black-and-white ruffed lemurs
Photo: Jim Wallace

     The MFG, which is headquartered at the San Francisco Zoo, was formed in 1988 to coordinate conservation efforts for Malagasy animals there and abroad. Its activities include training Malagasy students, researchers, and technicians. It also assists the government of Madagascar in preserving lemurs and other threatened species through well-managed breeding programs.

     Organizers already have identified a pool of possible candidates for release to Betampona. All are now being kept in fenced natural enclosures at the Duke Primate Center or on St. Catherine's Island. Efforts are being made to prepare the furry recruits for their future lives in Betampona by putting them through a kind of lemur "boot camp." For instance, while the Duke animals now descend from the trees to eat "unnatural" rations of monkey chow, their keepers are varying their feeding sites in order to discourage dependency and encourage them to range widely.

     After a summer of observations, medical checkups, and genetic analyses at both sites, the first group of black-and-white ruffed lemurs will be selected for export. In early October, those will be flown to Madagascar in pet carriers, then kept for about a month in a cage in the rain forest.

     "They'll be fed a mixture of the local fruits and leaves that we know lemurs eat there," says MFG technical adviser Charles Welch. "At the end of the month, the door will be opened, but we may not immediately cut off the food. We'll continue to supplement their diet for as long as it takes for them to reliably locate food trees in the area. As they do that, we'll reduce and eventually eliminate the food we give them."

     The lemurs will also be equipped with radio collars so that Welch and other field researchers can track their movements. They hope this first attempt will become a model for reintroducing many lemur species to their former home.


s the Duke research vessel Susan Hudson rocked in the waves, a squid swam nervously about in a tub on the vessel's deck, pumping red pigment into its outer skin as an alarm signal.

     It needn't have worried. The squid and other marine animals were being held in the tub only temporarily to educate participants in the 1997 Research Experiences in Science and Mathematics conference. Sponsored by the Carolina and Ohio Science Education Network (COSEN), the conference provides laboratory and field research exposure to black and women undergraduates from eight liberal arts institutions--Davidson, Denison, Furman, Oberlin, Ohio Wesleyan, Kenyon, Duke, and the College of Wooster.

     COSEN began these one-week conferences in 1990 as opportunities for budding young researchers to interact with larger peer groups, says Susan Palmer, COSEN's executive director. In the process, "participants found out that science is something they can do," she says. Students also get an early taste of graduate school and are exposed to a variety of career options in the academic and industrial sciences.

     This year's fifty-one participants were divided into eight groups, based upon their scientific interests, and assigned different Duke graduate students to help guide them. In early June, the undergraduates spent four nights at Duke's Durham campus and two evenings in Morehead City, located near the Nicholas School of the Environment Marine Laboratory at Beaufort.

     While in Durham, each student took part in three out of a possible twenty-four research experiences. Those ranged from subjecting lab rats to stroke-like conditions and observing fruit fly embryos through the microscope to performing psychological tests on fellow COSEN participants. The students also attended two panel discussions, one with researchers who talked about what led them to choose their careers.

     Sailing from Beaufort on the Susan Hudson, the students made their way to uninhabited Shackleford Banks, an island that supports wild horses, ghost and fiddler crabs, and pennyworts--plants that turn their stems to guard against sunburn. Participants collected the sand dollars, whelks, and other shells that washed up on Shackleford's beaches. And they touched the squid, shrimp, and flounders captured by the Susan Hudson's crew.

     "I really liked meeting people from other schools and being able to get their thoughts on what they wanted to do," says Caroline Hu, a conference participant and rising Duke sophomore from Hsinchu, Taiwan. She says her COSEN experience has crystallized her career direction.


  • Randall J. Tobias, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Eli Lilly and Company, has moved from vice chairman to chairman of Duke's board of trustees. A Duke parent, he has served on the board since 1986.

  • L. Neil Williams '58, J.D. '61, a partner in the Atlanta law firm Alston & Bird, was elected a trustee of The Duke Endowment. The former president of the Duke Alumni Association was chairman of the university's board of trustees from 1983 to 1988. In 1990, he received the Distinguished Alumni Award and, in 1995, the law school's Charles R. Rhyne Service Award.

  • English Professor Joseph A. Porter was named by the Shakespeare Association of America as editor of the major scholarly edition, the "variorum," of one of the bard's greatest works, Othello. Porter, who publishes fiction under the name Joe Ashby Porter, is a renowned Shakespearean scholar and has been working with Othello for the past ten years, publishing articles and preparing a book-length study. The variorum editions serve as reports on the status of scholarship and criticism to date and compose the backbone of all Shakespearean studies.

  • G. Richard Wagoner Jr. '75, an executive at general Motors, has been named the next chairman of the board of visitors at Duke's Fuqua School of Business. The board is Fuqua's chief advisory group and is composed of top executives from companies worldwide. Wagoner, who received his M.B.A. from Harvard University, will serve a three-year term beginning in November.

  • E. Roy Weintraub, an economics professor with experience as both Academic Council chair and as acting dean of arts and sciences, has been appointed to chair the President's Advisory Committee on Resources. The group includes Duke faculty, students, and administrators and consults with the president and other university officers on major budget resource issues. Weintraub, who was previously on the committee as a faculty representative, will serve a two-year term.

  • Allen Roses '71, neurology chief and Jefferson Pilot professor of neurobiology and neurology at Duke, has left Duke after twenty-seven years to head a global research and development arm, the genetics Directorate, for glaxo Wellcome. His genetics research at Duke was instrumental in locating the first susceptible gene for Alzheimer's disease.

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