Duke University Alumni Magazine

Taking on New

DAA President Ross: representing Duke alumni "broadly as well as precisely"
Photo: Les Todd
hen Ruth Wade Ross '68, the new president of the Duke Alumni Association, met with Duke administrators after taking office in July, she told each of them, "It's going to get crowded in here, because I've brought 107,000 people with me." She credits that statement with getting their attention.

One of her prime goals as leader of such a large group is "to represent Duke alumni broadly as well as precisely," she says. "That's something I think the president of the alumni association ought to do." Ross, a third-generation Duke graduate, carries the Blue Devil gene: One of her two sons, John D. Ross Jr., is a 1992 graduate. "My grandfather graduated from Trinity in '08, my father in '38, and me, in '68. Kind of interesting-every thirty years. I'm the third of four, and, I would like to say, the only female."

A William N. Reynolds Scholar and art history major, Ross was active in her dorm, Bassett Hall, and her sorority, Alpha Delta Pi. She was an FAC and volunteered at an adolescent treatment ward at John Umstead Hospital in Butner, North Carolina. And, she proudly announces, "I never missed a home basketball game in four years."

Her alumni involvement began before she even graduated, when she was asked by the Annual Fund to be a class agent. She later worked planning reunions and chaired her class' tenth reunion. But she really came back into the volunteer circle, she says, when then-President Keith Brodie asked her to sit on the East Campus revitalization committee in the 1980s. "It was a fascinating experience because I wound up chairing the subcommittee that ultimately recommended that East become all freshmen."

In 1995, Ross joined the alumni association's board of directors, where she chaired the Reunions Committee. She was named president-elect in 1999, and the president's gavel was passed to her at the DAA's May meeting. Her first goal, she says, is to implement the strategic-planning recommendations discussed at the board's September meeting.

"It's been a process, unnamed and unannounced, for some time," she says. "I want to make sure that my predecessors are thanked and appreciated by all of us, because they're the ones who have pulled us and pushed us along to this step. I just happen to have shown up at this time when the strategic plan is coming together."

Looking three to five years out, after discussions, focus groups, and meetings of the Strategic Planning Committee, Ross brings one high-priority item to the table: that Duke administrators "recognize the importance of alumni services, such as technology, and the things it can provide for us." "That's going to require money and space," she says. "But what I'm hearing is the wonderful dialogue continuing between the administration and the people who look after the facilities and money allocation in the university toward us."

Ross paraphrases a comment from President Nan Keohane's baccalaureate speech to the Class of 2000, that "you will return to the university in a split second in your mind, you'll think about it and, with the click of the mouse, you'll return. I thought, that is a perfect description of where we can go in alumni affairs."

Other topics that emerged from the strategic plan, Ross says, are "a change in the structure of the DAA board of directors, the length of terms, the broadening of our base, and the change in our constituency representation. We're looking at things that would make us more efficient." She says that alumni who are distant, whether in geography or attitude, might not keep in touch because of the misconception that "they're not thought of, that they're somehow not important, that we're not interested in them. That makes me unhappy whenever I hear of it. And adjacent to that is the idea that we're only interested in their financial support. There's much more to being an alum."

This personal dedication might stem from the long attachment Ross has had to Duke and Durham. She has been away from Durham only once, her first year out of school, when she was teaching in Boston. "That's kind of an ironic thingin its own way, because Duke is in and out of my life every day, whether I'm involved in an alumni situation or not. Those of us who are nearby come to campus a lot. You come to cultural events, you use the library, go to things at the Chapel. Even in my old house, in the afternoon I could hear the Chapel bells at five o'clock, if the wind was blowing right. And I treasure that."

Kudos for

Futrell Award-winner Rose: exemplifying the art of the interview
elevision journalist and talk show host Charlie Rose '64, J.D. '68 received the annual Futrell Award in September, given to Duke alumni who have demonstrated excellence in the field of communications and journalism. After receiving the award, he delivered a public lecture, "The Art of the Interview," and discussed insights from years of experience as the host of his nationally syndicated talk show, Charlie Rose. The lecture was hosted by the Sanford Institute of Public Policy.

The Futrell Award, presented by the DeWitt Wallace Center for Communications and Journalism at Duke, is made possible by a gift from Ashley B. Brownie Futrell Jr. '78 in tribute to his father, Ashley B. Futrell Sr. '33, for his career contributions to Duke and to the profession of journalism. The Futrells own and operate the Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington (N.C.) Daily News. Past recipients are editor and publisher Clay Felker '51, CNN senior anchor Judy Woodruff '68, and New York Times staff writer Jason DeParle '82.

Rose, a former CBS News anchor, was named a correspondent for 60 Minutes II in November 1998. The broadcast debuted in January 1999. He also continues as executive producer, executive editor, and host of Charlie Rose, the daily, hour-long, late-night interview program syndicated on PBS. The program, which premiered on the PBS affiliate in New York in September 1991, became nationally syndicated in January 1993, and is now carried by 215 PBS stations around the country. Rose's guests have included South African President Nelson Mandela, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, President Bill Clinton, business leader and entrepreneur Bill Gates, former U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, Nobel laureates Toni Morrison and Seamus Heaney, and film directors Mike Nichols and Martin Scorsese.

Rose has also hosted other outside projects, including a special for the Discovery Channel, "One on One With Roger Payne," for which he won a 1992 Emmy Award. Before launching his PBS program, he worked for CBS News (1984-90) as the anchor of Nightwatch, the network's first late-night news broadcast. He won a 1987 Emmy Award for his interview with convicted mass murderer Charles Manson.


he Duke Alumni Association presented Charles A. Dukes Awards for Outstanding Volunteer Service to alumni involved in Alumni Admissions Advisory Committees, reunion gift committees, phonathons, and overall leadership. The awards, named for Dukes '29, director of Alumni Affairs from 1944 to 1963, honor alumni who reflect his dedication to Duke.

Recipients are selected by the DAA's Awards and Recognition Committee and the Annual Fund's executive committee. This year, seven alumni were named: Sara Hall Brandaleone '65, who serves as leadership gifts chair, took over all Annual Fund Reunion Gift Committee responsibilities in January 1999 when the original class chair was unable to fulfill his duties for the Class of 1965's reunion. She made recruitment calls to sixty class members, persuaded twenty-one classmates to join the committee, and telephoned thirty-five others to ask for gifts. She initiated a "class challenge" and helped establish the logistics for follow-up calls.

Brandaleone is also a member of the Washington, D.C., Regional Campaign Council and has been a member of the Library Advisory Board since 1997. She has been a member of the Montgomery County (Maryland) AAAC since 1988. "I received a terrific education and life experience at Duke," says Brandaleone. "I am very proud of the university and want to help it grow even stronger and achieve its goals."

She and her husband, Bruce, who live in Potomac, Maryland, have a son, Christopher Brandaleone '03, and a daughter, Jennifer. Robert M. Carter '62, who has been a member of the AAAC since 1984, has chaired one of its two Boston committees since 1986. He coordinates twenty-five volunteers who handle more than a hundred interviews of prospective Duke students.

He arranges an accepted-student reception for both Boston committees each year, provides representation at many college nights and fairs, and has trained new alumni volunteers.

Says Carter, "Coordinating the activities of the local AAAC, as well as interviewing countless numbers of high school students myself, has allowed me to stay connected both to Duke and to the truly outstanding young people who apply for undergraduate admission to the university."

Carter and his wife, Ann Kirkman Carter '62, live in Needham, Massachusetts. They have three children: Catherine C. Ostergard '92,

Gregory C. Carter '89, and Jeffrey C. Carter. Camille Crittenden A.M. '91, Ph.D. '97 was a phonathon supervisor for the Annual Fund, where she trained, coached, and supervised student callers. She began volunteering with the phonathon in 1998 as a caller. She was as an intern in the library development office in the summer and fall of 1999 and later worked researching and writing grant proposals, dealing with acknowledgment and solicitation letters, and helping with logistics for major events at the library.

Crittenden, now associate director of institutional gifts for the San Francisco Opera, says, "Working with Duke undergraduates was always stimulating, and I enjoyed getting to know fellow alumni, parents, and friends. Their generosity and commitment to Duke's aspirations never fail to impress and inspire me."

Ted S. Levy B.S.C.E. '63 is a class agent for the Pratt School of Engineering, a voluntary position he held once before from 1978 to 1983. He took on the task of personally calling each of the seventy-seven alumni listed on the roster for his class to ask for their participation in the Annual Fund. His perseverance resulted in an increase in class participation from 44 to 53 percent, and an increase of 20 percent in dollars raised.

"If the few hours that I spend each year working for Duke improves the educational opportunity for just one person, I am spending my time wisely," Levy says. He and his wife, Carol, who live in Westport, Connecticut, have two daughters and two sons.

Walter W. Simpson III '74 received the Fuqua Alumni Award for Exemplary Service to the school. He chaired the Fuqua School of Business Alumni Council from 1996 to 1999 and served two five-year terms as a council member from 1985 to 1995. Under his leadership, the council provided support for curriculum development, volunteer service, and annual giving, and implemented the alumni website.

He served on the Annual Fund's executive committee from 1978 to 1982, was president of the Duke Business School Alumni Association in 1976-77, and was a member of the DAA's board of directors from 1979 to 1982. "Although Duke has given me more than I can ever give in return, volunteer service is one way to give something back," Simpson says. "It allows me to stay involved with a great institution and many of the people that make it great."

He and his wife, Elizabeth Brown Simpson B.S.N. '74, M.S.N. '81, live in Placitas, New Mexico, and have a son, Elliott.

Robert King Steel '73 has been national co-chair of the Duke Annual Fund since 1998. A longtime class volunteer, he is vice chair of Duke's board of trustees, serves on its executive committee, chairs the board of the Duke University Management Company (DUMAC), and is a member of the steering committee for the Campaign for Duke. He served as host for the inaugural meeting of the Young Alumni Development Council and led a panel discussion at the Volunteer Leadership Conference.

"I have always enjoyed my Duke-related activities since my undergraduate days," says Steel. "I have learned a great deal, met and reconnected with terrific people, and I hope I have been able to be of help to the university." He and his wife, Gillian, live in Greenwich, Connecticut, and have three daughters.

Donald W. Wallis '72, J.D. '74, who has been a member of the AAAC since 1980, has chaired its Jacksonville, Florida, committee since 1988. He is also a longtime member of the Duke Club of Greater Jacksonville and willingly assists young alumni in their careers through his volunteer work in Duke Source.

Of his thirteen years of overseeing a committee of twenty-five alumni volunteers in the AAAC, Wallis says "it has been, and continues to be, one of the most effective means by which one can stay in touch with one's alma mater and make a meaningful contribution in the vibrant life of the Duke community."

His Duke legacy includes his father, the late Donald Wallis '48; his mother, Hazel Jansen Wallis '50; and three sisters, Judith Wallis Morath '74, Jody Wallis Specker '76, and Mary Jane Wallis Taylor '81. He and his wife, Kathryn Waggoner Wallis '71, have a son, Neill Jansen Wallis '00, and a daughter, Kathryn.

in Divinity

ohn H. Cristy Jr. '51, B.D. '54, a minister who has served parishes in the Western North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church for nearly half a century, was named the Divinity School's Distinguished Alumnus for 2000. He has held positions with both small rural and large urban churches, including appointments in Asheville, Charlotte, and Hickory. Christy was superintendent of the Albemarle District for six years. He was elected six times to the quadrennial General Conference of the United Methodist Church and eight times to the jurisdictional conference. Even after retiring, he serves as associate pastor of visitation at First United Methodist Church of Waynesville.

He has received a number of accolades for this service and dedication, including Min Hickory's Spirit of King Award. He chaired committees that established the Asheville/ Buncombe County Christian Ministry, an interdenominational organization of thirty-seven churches; adult day care for the mentally handicapped in North Wilkesboro; a homeless shelter in Hickory; and the Fifth Sunday Fellowship, which brings together white and African-American churches in Hickory.

The Duke Divinity School Alumni Association established the Distinguished Alumni Award in 1973 to recognize graduates for remarkable and exemplary service to God, the church, and the human community. Judith L. Weidman M.Div. '66 was the 1999 Distinguished Alumna award winner.

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