Duke University Alumni Magazine


Jim Wallace
s 15,000 graduates and guests braved the hot sun and high temperatures, commencement speaker Jane Alexander, who chairs the National Endowment for the Arts, shared her passion for the arts and her hope for the NEA's future. "The arts endowment was created in 1965 to help make the arts accessible to Americans everywhere, not just in the major cities, and to attract money for the arts from the private sector. And, in this regard, it has been immensely successful," the Tony Award-winning actress said. "For every dollar we award, we in fact are able to attract twelve other dollars from public and private sources. In this way, we have helped to sustain thousands of arts organizations and artists all across America, in every single pock-et, including North Carolina, of course.

     "Yet, of 110,000 grants given in the thirty-year history, we've had about forty that have caused some people some problems. And when that someone is a certain senator from North Carolina, the whole country hears about it. Well, in my tenure as chairman, I wanted the entire country to hear the good side of the story as well, because art, of course, is challenging but it is also beautiful. And it's part of who we are, individually and as a society."

     Alexander quoted the late Nancy Hanks '49, the second NEA chairman, who said, "It is part of the essential idea of our country that the lives of the people should be advanced in freedom and in comprehension of the tough and soaring qualities of the spirit. This is not possible without the arts. They are not a luxury; they are a necessity."

     Turning to more traditional advice for the graduates, Alexander said she hoped the 1,558 undergraduates and the 1,700 graduate and professional students receiving degrees would become the "I care" generation. "Care about the legacy that you leave behind," she said. "After all, when we think about places that we have loved, we remember mostly three things. We remember the natural beauty, the people, and the cultural stamp of the place. Long after wars are won or lost, art and science endure. Our cultural legacy tells the next generation about the people who have lived then and there--how expansive they were or how prosaic. Great people leave a great testament: beautifully designed buildings, enduring stories in books or on film, timeless visual art, and the legends of the ephemeral performing arts."

     In addition to the 3,258 degrees awarded at the Mother's Day commencement, there were five honorary degree recipients: Alexander; civil rights attorney and North Carolina Central University Chancellor Julius Chambers; business leader and philanthropist Frank Kenan; scientist and educator Daniel C. Tosteson; and Cambridge University vice chancellor and legal scholar Sir David Williams.

n Rwanda, officials must decide how to punish hundreds of people below the age of eighteen imprisoned for participating in the 1994 massacres in that central African nation, according to a report produced by the Save the Children Federation U.S.A., three Rwandan human rights groups, and three departments at Duke.

     There are 1,213 Rwandans younger than eighteen who are imprisoned because they are suspected of participating in the massacres that claimed more than a half-million lives from April to July 1994. Of those 1,213 youngsters, at least 221 are younger than fourteen. Rwandan national law states that if a person fourteen to seventeen is convicted of a crime punishable by death or life imprisonment were he an adult, he will instead be sentenced to a penalty of ten to twenty years in prison. Children under fourteen do not incur criminal responsibility under the Rwandan penal code.

     Because these are unprecedented crimes in Rwanda, it is not clear if the country's new government will adhere to the national laws. The report, "Children, Genocide, and Justice," lays out some of the punishment options available to Rwandan officials and has been approved for publication by Rwanda's Ministry of the Interior.

     Rwanda's Ministry of Family and Women's Affairs, which is charged with revising the juvenile penal code, has decided to perform a more in-depth study of the issue, says Kirk Felsman, a senior adviser for the Save the Children Federation and a visiting professor at the Terry Sanford Institute of Public Policy at Duke. "We see this as a very good sign," Felsman says.

     Organizers say their project, financed by the Irish aid organization trocaire, had two principal objectives: to discover if Rwandan adults believe that juveniles accused of massacre-related crimes should be granted certain legal protections that they now enjoy under the current legal system, and to inform officials of those beliefs in an effort to protect the juveniles' rights. Duke Law School student David Archey, who is based in Rwanda for the year, guided the field work and the writing of the report and is assisting Rwandan officials in their decision-making process.

     Project members established eight focus groups representing communities affected by the massacres to varying degrees. There was also a group made up of students at the National University of Rwanda. Almost all of the adults participating in the eight focus groups said they were aware that children were involved in massacre-related crimes, including murder, rape, the burning and destroying of houses, theft, and pointing out people in hiding to the militia. The vast majority of the participants said that they did not believe the minors were forced to commit these crimes, and blamed their involvement on a tradition of ethnic intolerance and hatred in Rwanda and a culture of impunity that allowed ethnic violence to go unpunished.

     While the focus group participants generally agreed that society should punish minors less severely than adults for everyday offenses, most of the participants rejected the excuse of age in the case of genocide. "Many said these children are not like other children; that they are not normal," the report states. Every single participant in one group said, "a child who committed murder was no longer a child and thus merits the death penalty."

     Only the participants at the National University focus group and isolated participants from other groups expressed the opinion that minors taking part in genocide should receive some form of leniency. Those suggesting sanctions other than the death penalty proposed a variety of punishments, ranging from thirty to fifty years' forced labor, to imprisonment for life with the possibility of parole if they are judged to be rehabilitated, to re-education and counseling from trained psychologists.

     "Some proposed re-education not out of conviction that these children deserved to live, but rather in the belief that there are simply too many accused children to kill," the report states. Others who advocated long prison terms said this type of punishment "would isolate the children from society, and this would serve to educate these children and the rest of the population on the culture of peace. When these children finally returned to society, it would be too late for them to exert any negative influence because the roots of national reconciliation will have already taken hold."

     The participants offered several reasons why it is important to severely punish those minors convicted of crimes: "to eradicate the culture of impunity," to deter future atrocities, to show the survivors there is sympathy for their plight, and to prevent adults from using children for violent purposes. "The responses were remarkable in that the goal of punishment was never described in terms of 'revenge' or 'vengeance.' ... Justice, thus, is a preamble to reconciliation and peace," the report concludes.

acArthur Foundation Awards, the so-called "genius grants" of $280,000 for professional or personal interests, were doled out this year and two winners--Tom Daniel Ph.D. '82 and Barbara Block Ph.D. '86--are Duke zoology graduates. That makes three from the department who've been so honored since Mimi Koehl Ph.D. '77, a biology professor at the University of California, Berkeley, won the prestigious prize in 1990.

     Daniel, a zoology professor at the University of Washington, was recognized for research applying the study of animal movement to robotics. He praised Duke's faculty for providing "world-class role models for their graduate students, not just as scientists, but as gifted advisers. They--Steve Vogel, Stephen Wainwright, Knut Schmidt-Nielsen, and Fred Nijhout--represent a unique commodity: broad knowledge of biology with highly quantitative approaches."

     Block, assistant professor of biological sciences at Stanford University, is becoming one of the world's experts on the economically important family of fish that includes tuna, marlin, and swordfish. She also studies the way fish keep warm and how fish muscle tissue may explain certain rare muscle diseases in humans.

     Duke also boasts MacArthur awards for faculty, both past and future. Pat Wright, a primatologist who taught for several years in the anthropology department, won a MacArthur for her work in creating a primate preserve in Madagascar. And Vonnie McLloyd--who will join Duke's psychology department, social and health sciences, and the African and Afro-American Studies program, in the fall--was one of this year's honorees for her work. It centers on the relationship between poverty and child development, particularly for African-American children.

he Chronicle of Higher Education bestowed its grand gold award for higher education reporting to Duke Magazine at the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) Annual Assembly in July in San Francisco. The award also included a $1,000 gift to the publication.

     The selection of stories submitted for judging in the category was Science Editor Dennis Meredith's "Battling Delicate Monsters," about Duke Medical Center's pediatric neuro-oncologist Henry Friedman; Taylor Sisk's "Pay for Play?", on Dick DeVenzio '71 and the campaign to pay college athletes; Features Editor Bridget Booher's "Biting the Bullet," on Congress and higher-education financing; Editor Robert Bliwise's "Journeys of Faith and Learning," on campus religious life; and Bliwise's "transforming the Campus Community," on residential-life changes.

     According to the Chronicle judges, "There was unanimous opinion that Duke did the best job reporting on issues that are of importance on its own campus and in higher education nationally. Its article on universities under fire was an example of just that. Other articles on faith and spiritual growth in students, residential life at the university, and student athletes were engaging and illuminating. They also provided a real window on life at Duke. We felt the stories in the Duke entry were, simply put, the best written of all those submitted." Last year, Duke shared the grand gold in higher education writing with the University of Dayton.

     Silver awards were also given in other writing categories. In "Periodical Staff Writing," the magazine was one of six silver medalists among fifty-four entries for the selection "Battling Delicate Monsters," "Biting the Bullet," "Journeys of Faith and Learning," and two by Bliwise, "Has Society Lost Its Civility?" and "Litigation: Too Much of a Good Thing?"

     A first-person account by John Petty '92 of a medical student's confrontation with an emergency-room crisis, "A Matter of Life and Death," was one of seven winners among 104 entries in the category "Best Articles of the Year."

uke's new student recreational facility under construction on East Campus will be named for President Emeritus H. Keith H. Brodie and his wife, Brenda. The Keith and Brenda Brodie Recreation Center, a 31,000-square-foot addition to Memorial Gym, will house two basketball courts, an aerobics studio, a fitness area, a multipurpose room, and a weight-training area.

Namesake: the East Campus addition to Memorial Gym
A resolution approved by the trustees in May reads: "It is the desire of Duke University and its Board of trustees to remember always that many of the initiatives that have enhanced the beauty, the facilities, and the sense of community on East Campus were begun during the Brodie years." The resolution also praised the Brodies for the "many contributions they have made to the university community since their arrival in Durham in 1974."

Brodie, who was Duke's seventh president from December 1984 to June 1993, is James B. Duke professor of psychiatry and still teaches freshman and senior courses in psychobiology. His office is in the East Duke Building. Brenda Brodie, an avid supporter of the arts, has also spent much time on East, the home of most of the university's visual and performing arts programs and departments and several of its performance spaces. She is a past president of the Durham Arts Council and has served on Duke's Women's Studies Council, the drama program advisory board, and Friends of Duke Chapel.

hen a team of Duke researchers surveyed nearly 3,000 North Carolina residents, they discovered that women with a history of sexual assault are six times more likely to attempt suicide at some point in their lives. Women at particular risk are those who reported having been sexually assaulted before reaching age sixteen.

     The researchers say their findings convey an important message to primary care and mental health providers who are assessing potential suicide risks among their patients. Results of the study, funded by a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health, were reported in a June issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.

     "The immensely damaging effects of an event such as sexual assault cannot be stressed too strongly, particularly in individuals with other vulnerability factors, such as family dysfunction and emotional or developmental problems," says Jonathan Davidson, psychiatry professor and principal investigator of the study. Co-authors of the study were Dana Hughes, Linda George, and Duke psychiatrist Dan Blazer, dean of medical education at Duke.

     The link between sexual assault and suicide remained strong even when researchers accounted for the effects of other suicide risk factors, like major depression, panic attacks, substance abuse, and demographic factors such as age and health status, the survey found. The researchers said they were careful to distinguish between the effects of the assault itself versus the recurrent emotional symptoms associated with a traumatic event, or post traumatic stress syndrome.

     To help identify women at risk, the researchers suggest that all health-care providers--from nurses and physician assistants to emergency doctors and primary care physicians--raise their awareness of how sexual assault influences the risk of attempted suicide, especially since a significant number of sexual assault victims never seek mental health care.

     "Women may not be seeking help for problems specifically related to their sexual assaults, but they are going to the doctor for other reasons," says Davidson, who noted that sexual assault victims visit health-care providers more often for physical and mental health symptoms.

     The researchers also said their data do not prove that sexual assault is the cause of a higher attempted suicide rate in women--only that the two factors are strongly related. Further studies will need to examine the cause-and-effect relationship between the two variables, Davidson says.

ugar is not our enemy after all, according to a Duke Medical Center study. In fact, healthy people can lose weight on a high-sugar, low-fat diet without experiencing mood changes or adverse health effects--as long as they keep a close watch on calorie levels.

     Research by Richard Surwit, professor and vice chair of the department of psychiatry and behavioral science, contradicts the commonly held belief that sugar contributes to a host of health problems, including obesity, elevated triglycerides, hyperactivity, depression, and premenstrual syndrome. "Sugar has an undeserved bad reputation," he says. "This may be due, in part, to the fact that sugar is often used in combination with other ingredients, such as fat, which are known to have adverse health effects. Average, healthy people trying to lose weight can include sugar and sugary foods in their diet as long as they reduce their total caloric intake."

     Surwit and his colleagues examined the effects of sugar in humans following two animal studies that dispelled negative stereotypes about sugar. The first study, published in the May 1995 issue of Metabolism, found that sugar had no effect on weight gain or location and size of fat deposits in mice. The second study, which appeared in Physiology and Behavior, found that sugar had no effect on hyperactivity or behavior. Both studies were funded by the MacArthur Foundation and the National Institute of Mental Health.

     Surwit said the current study in humans, funded by the Sugar Association, validated the animal studies and provided additional data on how sugar is metabolized--specifically, that the body seems to process simple carbohydrates (sugar) and complex carbohydrates (starches) in much the same manner. "The public perception is that high-sugar foods, like hard candies, are more readily converted to fat than low-sugar foods, like grains. But our study showed that the body does not differentiate between simple and complex carbohydrates, unless you are diabetic," Surwit says. "Once sugar reaches the gut, the stomach's enzymes break it down in the same manner as they break down complex carbohydrates, such as pasta and grains."

     Surwit says the major benefits of complex carbohydrates is that you can consume a larger volume of food without adding more calories. In other words, when a dieter chooses a 150-calorie snack, there is no difference between two slices of bread or one cup of sugar-sweetened cherry gelatin.

     Concern about the health effects of sugar has increased in recent years because popular, low-fat foods often contain a high percentage of calories from sugars, according to the researchers. In the Duke study, forty-two women consumed iden-tical low-fat, low-calorie diets, except that one diet was high in sugar (simple carbohydrates) and one was high in starches (complex carbohydrates). The two groups showed no difference in weight loss, mood, concentration levels, or hunger. Both groups exhibited an equal decrease in blood pressure, percentage of body fat, resting energy expenditure, stress hormone levels, thyroid hormones, and plasma lipids.

     Women on the high-sucrose diet consumed 43 percent of calories from sugar; women on the high-carbohydrate diet consumed asparatame sweetener in place of sugar. The average American diet consists of 15 percent to 20 percent sugars, says Surwit.

In Brief
ivinity School Dean Dennis M. Campbell '67, Ph.D. '73, after fifteen years as head of the school, will step down at the end of the 1996-97 academic year. A theology professor and co-director of the Lilly Endowment-funded project on United Methodism and American culture, he plans to take a year-long sabbatical before returning to full-time teaching.

     Bruce Cunningham, former registrar at St. Louis University, is Duke's first full-time registrar, effective August 1. He succeeds Albert Eldridge, associate professor of political science and director of the Center for Teaching and Learning, who left the part-time position after eight years. Cunningham implemented several innovative technological systems at St. Louis and created its on-line student information system. At Duke, he will also supervise Duke's transition from its old software system to a new one that will tie together information on each student, such as class, admissions data, and grade point average.

     David S. Ferriero, associate director of the library system at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has been selected as the university librarian and vice provost for library affairs. He has worked in some capacity for the MIT libraries since mid-1965, most recently overseeing five major subject libraries and their branches. He also led a number of efforts to modernize the library and related information technology programs. Ferriero succeeds Jerry Campbell M.Div. '71, who left Duke in December to become dean of libraries at the University of Southern California.

     Debbie LoBiando, former director of res-idential life at the University of Evansville in Indiana, and Carmen Tillery, associate director of housing and residential life at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical University, are new assistant deans of student development at the Office of Student Affairs. LoBiando succeeds Frank McNutt, who is now a part-time youth minister with Westminster Presbyterian Church in Durham. Tillery succeeds Linda Studer-Ellis, who moved to Arkansas.

     Sandy Kopp McNutt M.Div., A.H.C. '83 has been appointed associate director of development for the Divinity School. She has worked for the university for a dozen years at the alumni affairs and development offices, most recently as associate director of development for trinity College of Arts and Sciences.

     Michael D. Israel, chief operating officer of Duke Hospital, has been named vice chancellor for health affairs and chief executive officer, responsible for overall hospital operations and other hospital-related businesses. Israel came to Duke in 1993 after more than six years at St. Luke's Hospital in Houston. He replaces Mark Rogers, who accepted a senior position at Perkin-Elmer Corporation.

     Susan Tifft '73 and Alex Jones have been named Eugene C. Patterson professors of the practice of journalism, and will begin teaching at the DeWitt Wallace Center for Communications and Journalism in the Terry Sanford Institute of Public Policy in January 1998. Tifft, former national writer and associate editor for Time magazine, and Jones, former press reporter for The New York Times, are married. They wrote an acclaimed biography of the Bingham newspaper family, and are collaborating on an exhaustive biography of the Ochs and Sulzberger families, who have owned and managed The New York Times for a century. The book will be published by Little, Brown and Company in 1998.

     Elizabeth Kiss, an assistant professor of politics at Princeton University, was named the first director of the Kenan Program in Ethics, effective January 1, 1997. The former Rhodes Scholar will head the university-wide program that will emphasize not only the involvement of ethics in both teaching and research, but also the practical application of ethical thinking outside academe. The program was established last September with a $250,000 grant from the William R. Kenan Charitable trust.

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