Duke University Alumni Magazine


he Doris Duke Charitable Foundation announced a $1.7-million grant to endow a chair in conservation ecology at Duke's Nicholas School of the Environment and a $1.2-million program to create environmental fellowships at Duke, the University of Michigan, and Yale University.

The awards are part of $18.6 million in grants to advance the causes of environmental conservation, medical research, and the performing arts. The grants are the first from the $1.25-billion foundation, which was founded earlier this year.

The $1.7-million grant will establish the Doris Duke Chair in Conservation Ecology at the Nicholas School. The foundation also established a three-year, $1.2-million pilot program to fund Doris Duke environmental and natural resource fellowships at Nicholas, the University of Michigan's School of Natural Resources and the Environment, and the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. The $400,000 fellowships for each school will support the studies of master's-level students in applied conservation and management of natural resources and environmental systems, beginning with the 1998-99 academic year. Each school will provide fellowships for ten students over the next two years.

The environmental grants reflect Doris Duke's long-standing interest in conservation and ecology. Her will, which established the foundation, expresses her "special interest in the conservation of wildlife, both flora and fauna" and her desire to support "ecological endeavors."

Duke, the only daughter of James B. Duke, bequeathed the bulk of her estate to the foundation to support a variety of charitable causes, including the performing arts, preserving the environment, and advancing medical research. The foundation, of which President Nannerl O. Keohane is one of seven trustees, will award $55 million in grants each year. Keohane removed herself from participation in the board's decision pertaining to the university.


Reaching new heights: the proposed Cameron addition

t their December meeting, Duke trustees made decisions that will enhance both athletics and athletic facilities on campus. Women's crew was approved as the twenty-sixth sport at Duke, and the design of a proposed addition to Cameron Indoor Stadium was given the go-ahead. The building will house an academic center for student-athletes, men's and women's basketball offices and facilities, and a new sports Hall of Fame.

With women's crew, Duke will now have thirteen men's and thirteen women's varsity teams. The board also approved a plan to add a fourteenth women's varsity sport by the year 2000, although no decision has been made which sport it will be. Representatives of the softball team have already expressed an interest in becoming a varsity team.

The trustees also agreed to add twenty-one more scholarships for women's sports over the next ten years. Associate Athletics Director Joe Alleva says a fund-raising campaign will be held to endow the new scholarships. Duke plans to hire a new crew coach in the spring, and plans for varsity competition to begin in the fall of 1998, he says.

Crew will add forty-two women to the overall number of female varsity athletes at Duke. The second sport would increase that figure by another eighteen athletes. By 2000, the university would have 314 women athletes, compared to 415 men.

The Cameron addition, a $10-million structure called the Athletic Center, will be designed by Cesar Pelli. Construction could begin this spring, if the full board gives final approval to the project, and it could be ready for use in 2000. The design extends along the west and northwest side of Cameron, and is anchored on the north by a six-story building housing the athletes' academic center, offices, and training facilities. The Hall of Fame will be a linear structure along the northwest side of the arena, above new locker rooms directly accessible from Cameron's court level.

"The new Athletic Center will be a major addition to the facilities for our student-athletes, and has long been needed," says Athletics Director Tom Butters. He has led the fund-raising drive for the center as well as the $19-million Wilson Recreation Center, now under construction southeast of Cameron, and for the $5-million Brodie Center on East Campus, completed last year.

The Athletic Center project will also create an athletics plaza that will link the new center, Cameron, existing facilities, and the new Wilson recreation center.


he church-going habits, worship styles, and religious beliefs of three generational groups of Americans have been examined in a new study by a Duke Divinity School professor who says the results could be used to help reverse the nationwide trend of declining church membership.

As part of a larger study of twenty congregations of various faiths in North Carolina and California, Jackson E. Carroll, Williams Professor of Religion and Society at Duke, and Wade Clark Roof, Rowney Professor of Religion and Society at the University of California at Santa Barbara, surveyed a random sample of 1,150 North Carolinians and Southern Californians.

They divided the sample into three groups: Generation Xers, those who were born between 1964 and 1979; (Baby) Boomers, born between 1946 and 1963; and Preboomers, those born before 1946.

"One of the most striking findings of our study is the difference between the family experience of Xers and that of the two older generations," Carroll says. "Forty-five percent of the Xers went through some sort of family disruption--the divorce or separation of their parents, or they were raised by a single parent. That compares to 27 percent of the Boomers and 23 percent of the Preboomers."

"It may be that the high incidence of family disruption is one of the defining characteristics of the Xer generation and contributes to their general distrust of institutions," he says.

In general, members of Generation X said they are less religious than their elders, but agreed in nearly equal numbers with the members of the two older generations that religion is very important in their lives. More than 80 percent in each group indicated that they believe in God, and the majority of all three groups said they are dissatisfied with the spiritual vitality of their congregations. Xers agreed more strongly than the other generational groups that individuals should arrive at their own religious beliefs independently of their church or religious group. The younger generation also believed more strongly that people who have God in their lives don't need the church.

Carroll says that even though the Xers and Boomers aren't strikingly different in their religious involvements and understandings, they are very different from Preboomers.

"There's much more interest in autonomy, freedom, making up one's own mind, and religious exploration and less commitment to institutional involvement in religion," he says. "Churches need to take those differences into account and not take for granted that people have been raised in a religious tradition."


Peres: "It is one thing to cultivate land; it is another to occupy people"
Photo: Jim Wallace

ddressing audiences of hundreds in two October speeches, part of the Terry Sanford Distinguished Lecture Series on campus, former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres discussed the importance, challenge, and necessity of the Middle East peace process, both as a practicality and as keeping with the Jewish moral code.

An advocate of the land-for-peace philosophy, Peres has been active in Israeli politics since he was sixteen. His political career climaxed with his winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994 for negotiating with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat to construct the Oslo agreements. Shortly after receiving the joint award with Peres and Arafat, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated and Peres was sworn in as prime minister, for the second time. In office, he continued working toward peace, but after a chain of terrorist incidents, he was voted out of office and succeeded by Benjamin Netanyahu. Peres served as chairman of the opposing Labor Party for several months after the election.

Peres told his Duke audience, "We knew in our hearts that we could not continue the history of our people if we were the occupiers of another people. It is one thing to cultivate land; it is another to occupy people."

Because he strongly supports the notion of land for peace, Peres noted the impossibility of retaining territory in which there are large Palestinian communities. "We cannot have 100 percent security unless we give the Palestinians 100 percent freedom." If Israel was to try to keep all its land and all its people, it would stop being a Jewish state and it would become bi-national. One state would mean permanent conflict."

In his remarks, Peres identified the main challenge to peace as extremist groups that neither side of the negotiations can control. "Enemies can be identified, but dangers are floating in the air.... Dangers are more dangerous than enemies because they are not limited; they do not have borders.

"For peace you need a majority. But for terror you need a minority to commit suicide and throw bombs. We should not be impressed by them. If we are, we encourage them. We cannot stop the peace process at the hands of a few. If we submit to them, we surely will not have peace."

Peres answered questions on issues ranging from nuclear disarmament to the possibility of Israel creating jobs for Palestinians. One topic of concern was the conflict within the Jewish community between Orthodox and Reform factions. Orthodox Jews are currently trying to pass legislation allowing only Orthodox rabbis to perform conversions. Peres is opposed to government-supported religious rule.

"Democracy is based on two principles: the right to be equal and the right to be different. A person can be whatever religion he wants to be without the state deciding," he said. "Politics is the art of compromise. Religion is the commitment not to compromise. So we do not let religion run politics."

In terms of foreign policy, Peres stressed the urgency of securing a peace arrangement. "If

I am critical of our current government, it is because they are trying to postpone the problem for the next generation. What is extremely difficult today may be impossible tomorrow. Let's face the future dangers now."

The incentives for negotiation are powerful, he said. "If we compare today's Israel to what it was in the past, war and peace were not entirely in our hands. It is much more so today, because we are stronger and greater. We are able to negotiate out of strength, but we can't forget to negotiate. When you are strong, you can impose war, but you cannot impose peace."


n oceanography researcher from Duke's Nicholas School of the Environment went on a ten-week scientific cruise into the Antarctic polar front in an attempt to learn more about how global climate change may affect oceans.

Richard T. Barber, the Harvey W. Smith Professor of Oceanography at the school's Marine Laboratory, was the chief scientist aboard the 280-foot Scripps Oceanography vessel, R/V Revelle, one of the newest ships in the National Science Foundation fleet. The ship traveled to a region called the Antarctic frontal zone, where the polar ocean meets the temperate ocean.

The scientific party left in November from Christchurch, New Zealand, headed toward the 60th Parallel, and returned in January. "There's a great front there where temperatures range from 0 to 10 degrees Centigrade," says Barber. "There's a lot of activity on that front." The scientists planned to collect data at ten stations in weather conditions where one hand is used for science and the other for holding the boat. "If you don't pay attention, you might find yourself on the other side of the boat," according to Barber.

Part of the U.S. Global Ocean Flux Study, the cruise was designed as an attempt to find out "how a healthy ocean works with regard to carbon recycling. This is very important in predicting how the ocean and atmosphere will behave if you disturb the system a lot by increasing carbon dioxide," says Barber, referring to increasing emissions of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere by the burning of fuels around the world. "When we gain an understanding of this undisturbed system, we'll be better able to go forward to global change models to assess future scenarios."

Barber is a veteran of many marine scientific expeditions, having sailed in every major ocean. The Antarctic Ocean is an area with wind-driven waves often reaching heights of ninety feet. But he is used to working in these conditions. "Every time I finish a cruise, I swear it will be my last. But the next day, I find myself working to find a way back to the sea."

The team's thirty-seven researchers and twenty-two-member crew spent Christmas and New Year's holidays together at sea. Barber's wife, Elaine, accompanied him.


iscussing her views on politics and the media in mid-November, conservative Los Angeles Times columnist and political pundit Arianna Huffington sprinkled her distinct opinions with the humor that has landed her regular spots on the TV show Politically Incorrect.

Huffington displayed some of this humor in several shots at political figures and recent scandals. In a reference to a story by Sir Isaiah Berlin, she divided political figures into two categories: hedgehogs and foxes. Hedgehogs, she explained, are people who have "an overall vision" and are prepared to fight for it. Foxes, however, are "people who know a little bit about a lot of things." Foxes, including Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich, dominate American politics, she said. "Clinton is definitely a cuddly fox. If they found him in bed with the Spice Girls, he'd still be a cuddly fox. It doesn't matter what he does."

Huffington, whose new book Greetings from the Lincoln Bedroom comes out in April, spent most of her appearance in Page Auditorium talking about her perception of what the media are and what they should be, especially in relation to the press' role as watchdog for the government. One of her major concerns, she said, is "how the same point of view dominates the news. There is a sort of flock quality to the media, an intuitive sense of what their colleagues think and what is safe to say and believe. We need more of an independent streak that the First Amendment and the Constitution are supposed to encourage and promote."

She also critized the media's lack of coverage and, therefore, the government's neglect of what she calls "community solutions." These solutions come from smaller communities working together to combat important neighborhood problems that are also of concern to the nation, such as homelessness, child abuse, and especially education. "[Neither the media nor the politicians] are willing to take on the challenge--they're avoiding the problems. The major issues are not being covered in a compelling way.É We cannot get radical reform without upsetting the apple cart, but it seems to be all about maintaining the status quo. We're not fundamentally changing anything; we're just tinkering at the edges and saying all is well."

Huffington chairs the Center for Effective Compassion, an organization that describes its mission as "the transformation of a bureaucratic, impersonal system into a community-oriented, decentralized approach that is challenging, personal, and spiritual."

Because a large portion of American citizens do not pay attention to traditional political coverage, she said, her unorthodox methods to express her opinions on politics and society allow her to reach this generally non-voting audience. "It is increasingly easy to make points through satire and humor. I got more attention working with [comic] Al Franken, than I did through writing a book. If you believe in something, you need to find a medium to say it and capture the public."


here does science now stand on what's been called the case of the "cell from hell"--the marine organism Pfiesteria piscicida, which has killed fish along the U.S. eastern shore and affected humans as well? Seven researchers provided answers at a one-day Duke Integrated Toxicology Program symposium in November, including faculty from the medical center and the university, North Carolina State University, the University of Miami, the National Center for Toxicological Research, and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

"Pfiesteria is a medical mystery," says the conference's organizer, Edward Levin, a neuro-behavioral toxicologist and head of Duke's Integrated Toxicology Program. "We want to explore what is known and unknown and what clues we need to solve it." He provided updates to his own research on an animal model for Pfiesteria's effects and presented new evidence that the toxin retards learning in rats.

Since its identification in 1988 by JoAnn Burkholder, associate professor at North Carolina State, Pfiesteria has been implicated in about 30 percent of all fish kills in North Carolina.

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