Duke University Alumni Magazine

We asked ten seniors:

What was the most inspiring thing about your Duke experience?

     "To meet so many diverse people and learn to enjoy working cooperatively in the environment that Duke provides."

--Jill Schreifer

      "Climbing a mountain in Tasmania, dealing with so many environments on a Study Abroad trip, from rainforests to trekking through the snow, has given me a greater appreciation for the time I got to spend in a classroom upon my return."

--Simeon Wallis

     "You can do anything; there are so many opportunities to do all that I ever wanted or dreamed to do, and there's no limit on the possibilities."

--Dana Jolly

     "Being a Cameron Crazy."

--Heather Sieler

     "From the outside, Duke students are perceived to be some of the most intelligent, talented, and creative students in the country. From the inside, it's inspiring to be surrounded by individuals who live up to that impressive billing day after day."

--Jason Poston

     "I've found fellowship in the community here that clearly beats any friendship I've known before, and rivals even the closest of families."

--My Smith

     "The importance of taking time out to learn from and help others. This experience is invaluable and is just as important, if not more, than academic work."

--Kelly Lorch

     "Being a success is more than getting a degree. It's about the quest for knowledge, and not just knowledge that leads to further knowledge, but knowledge that is founded on the basis to assist others."

--Ryan Johnson

     "That God is alive and here and everywhere, and that there are people everywhere who treat their faith seriously."

--Brent Farmer

     "That there is so much more to life than Duke. I think it is a mistake to go through every day worrying about the next, merely studying, sleeping, eating, and partying. It is our responsibility to look outside the campus walls and address the problems plaguing the world."

--Eileen Chen

"What's the difference between an HMO and the PLO? At least you can negotiate with the PLO."
--Tallman Trask III, Duke executive vice president, repeating a joke in talk he delivered to the board of directors of the Duke Alumni Association at its February meeting

"Since I started this job, my estimation of higher education is not as high as it used to be."
--J.J. Thompson, journalist responsible for the U.S. News & World Report's college rankings issue, speaking at a Duke Club of the Triangle luncheon on the honesty of the annual infor-mation provided by schools at the request of the magazine

"Politicians today are far more honest than those I was writing about twenty-four years ago."
--Al Hunt, Washington bureau chief for The Wall Street Journal, speaking at the Sanford Center in April, as a panel participant in the Zeidman Colloquium

"The system is broken."
--Judy Woodruff '68, senior correspondent and anchor at CNN's Washington bureau, on the set-up for financing political campaigns, also on the Zeidman Colloquium's panel of journalists

"I came to Duke in '46. The Soviet Union loomed very large, the Cold War began almost immediately--and yet few people knew about it.... So not only did I get fascinated, I decided that, well, this is really the way I want to spend my career, trying to make sense out of this enigma wrapped in a mystery, as Churchill had called it."
--Jack Matlock '50, former ambassador to the Soviet Union and author of Autopsy on an Empire, in a Chronicle interview before speaking on campus in the Levine Science Research Center

We asked some faculty and administrators: What are you reading for pleasure this summer?

     Mary Boatwright, a classical studies professor, chooses Poseidon's Gold by Lindsay Davis. "Although I am not a mystery buff, I love this series...about Didius Falco, private eye for hire in Rome of A.D. 70," she says, calling the series "funny, engrossing, and filled with great but never boring detail about daily life in ancient Rome." Her other selections are Amistad: The Thunder of Freedom by David Pesci, the historical novel about the first rebellion of slaves being brought to America from Africa, and A Bottle in the Shade, the most recent installment of Peter Levi's memoirs. "He is someone who has worked on ancient Greek topography, history, and culture all his life, and someone who is deeply attached to modern Greece as well."

     Bobby Wayne Clark, director of University Relations, selected Einstein's Dreams by Alan Lightman, "because a Duke freshman raved about it, particularly the chapter built around the absence of time." He plans to reread William Faulkner's As I Lay Dying, after twenty-five years, and reread "some or all of the Nero Wolfe detective novels by Rex Stout--and it's been long enough so that I've forgotten almost everything."

     Betty Le Compagnon, the vice provost who heads Duke's Office of Information Technology, would relish the chance ("I never have enough time to read for pleasure!") to enjoy A Map of the World by Jane Hamilton. "Hamilton's prose," she reports, "is very rich, her characters unforgettable, and her stories compelling." She also chooses Stones from the River by Ursula Hegi, a novel about the Holocaust and its aftermath. "Ursula and I were teaching assistants in the English department at the University of New Hampshire."

     Joe Ashby Porter, Duke English professor, novelist, poet, and author of two collections of short stories, lists The Vixen, a new collection of poems by W.S. Merwin. Says Porter, "I like Merwin's ways of being both accessible and mysterious, rather the way dreams are, and I like the setting of many of these poems in southwest France." He also selects the new novel Le Divorce by Diane Johnson, "a comedy of manners that turns wild, about Americans in present-day Paris." The reason for this Franco-American theme? "My own plans to spend the 1997-98 academic year on sabbatical in France," he says. The ultimate pleasure-reading time and place, n'est-ce pas?

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