Duke University Alumni Magazine


o commemorate the seventy-fifth anniversary of the creation of Duke University, two members of the Duke family--physician James H. Semans and trustee emeritus Anthony Drexel Duke--received honorary degrees during Founders' Day Convocation in Duke Chapel.

Semans, a professor emeritus in Duke's department of surgery who served on the Duke faculty for twenty-eight years, has devoted much of his life to the arts, cultural and health-care organizations, and other charitable work. He chairs the Mary Duke Biddle Foundation, established in the 1950s by his mother-in-law to help fund charitable activities at Duke, in North Carolina, and in New York. With his wife, Mary D.B.T. Semans '39, he helped establish the North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem in the 1960s; he served as chair of the school's board of trustees from 1964 to 1981, and is still actively involved with the school.

Anthony Duke, a grandson of Benjamin N. Duke, is founder and president of Harbor for Boys and Girls in New York City. The institute, which he started in the 1930s when he was eighteen years old, has helped tens of thousands of inner-city youngsters through after-school programs and a summer camp. He was a university trustee from 1976 to 1989.

The principal speaker at the September convocation was Mary D.B.T. Semans, the granddaughter of Benjamin N. Duke and chair of The Duke Endowment. At the convocation, Semans said, "Through the years, the Duke family members have felt close to the university; and history plus Duke's magnetism have pulled them toward it."

This year, the University Scholar/Teacher Award, the university's highest teaching award, went to physician John R. Perfect of the department of medicine. The award was created in 1981 by the United Methodist Church's board of higher education and the ministry to recognize outstanding faculty for their dedication to and contributions in both teaching and research.

The winners this year of Trinity College teaching awards, which recognize outstanding teachers in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences, were John Clum of the English department, who received the David and Janet Brooks Award; Gillian Einstein, formerly of the neurobiology department, the Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching Award; Guven Guzeldere of the philosophy department, the Richard Lublin Award; Michael Littman of the computer science department, the Robert B. Cox Award; and Frederic Mayer of public policy studies, the Howard D. Johnson Award.

Other public activities taking place during Founders' Day weekend included the unveiling of a bronze statue of Benjamin N. Duke, a Remembrance of University Founders Service and Founders' Day Service of Worship, and a panel discussion of the legacy of The Duke Endowment.


Photo: Jim Wallace
niversity archivist William E. King '61, A.M. '63, Ph.D. '70 wrote in his 1997 book, If Gargoyles Could Talk, of founding family member Ben Duke, whose only remembrance was a small plaque on the East Campus wall: "To the average visitor, Benjamin N. Duke remains unknown since he has no public statue dominating the campus like that of his father on East or his brother on West."

Founders' Weekend changed all that. A bronze statue of Benjamin Duke now stands tall in front of Baldwin Auditorium on East Campus, unveiled during a ceremony capped by remarks from his granddaughter Mary D.B.T. Semans '39. The statue, slightly larger than life-size, was created by Steven Smith of Charlotte, North Carolina. It joins the B.N. Duke Memorial Organ in Duke Chapel and the B.N. Duke Scholars program as the university's tribute to one of its key founders.


dmund T. Pratt Jr. B.S.E.E. '47, retired chair and chief executive officer of Pfizer Inc., has given $35 million to endow Duke's School of Engineering, which has been named in his honor. The gift is the second largest in the university's history, surpassed only by the original gift by James B. Duke that transformed Trinity College into the school that now bears his family's name.

Engineering studies date back to 1888 at Trinity College, with an engineering school formally organized at Duke in 1939. Today, the Edmund T. Pratt Jr. School of Engineering has 108 faculty, 935 undergraduate students, and 289 graduate students. The school offers undergraduate and graduate programs in four departments--biomedical engineering, civil and environmental engineering, electrical and computer engineering, and mechanical engineering and materials sciences. The school also offers a master's degree in engineering management and houses numerous research centers, including the Engineering Research Center for Cardiovascular Technology, the Center for Cellular and Biosurface Engineering, the Center for Advanced Computing and Communications, the Design Automation Technology Center, the Center for Nonlinear Dynamics and Complex Systems, and the Orthopedic Biomechanics and Tissue Engineering Center.

Pratt's gift is the largest in the $1.5-billion Campaign for Duke. "This magnificent gift will provide the resources needed for our strategic plan to take Duke into the elite schools of engineering," says Kristina Johnson, dean of engineering. "This plan emphasizes investing in graduate and undergraduate research at the interdisciplinary frontiers of medicine, business, natural and environmental sciences, all aimed at solving major global problems facing our health and environment."

Johnson says the Pratt endowment will be used to attract faculty, fund graduate fellowships, and provide a stronger financial base for undergraduate financial aid. It will allow the school to improve the student-faculty ratio, expand undergraduate research opportunities, and augment the international honors program that enables engineering students to study abroad. The new funds will enhance research in the school's departments, as well as such interdisciplinary areas as the biomedical engineering research centers, and will enable the school to launch educational and research initiatives, such as the international master's degree program in telecommunications.

Pratt graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor of science in electrical engineering, and entered the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business, receiving his M.B.A. with honors in 1949. He began his career at IBM Corp. and became controller of the IBM World Trade Corp. In 1962, he joined the Kennedy administration as assistant secretary of the Army for financial management. He left government in 1964 to join Pfizer as corporate controller, rising through the ranks to become president in 1971 and chair and CEO in 1972. During his twenty years in that position, before retiring in 1992, Pratt saw Pfizer's annual revenue increase sevenfold, from $1 billion to nearly $7 billion. He also significantly increased Pfizer's global reach to include operations in 140 countries. He was so active in business, civic, and charitable affairs that then-New York Governor Mario Cuomo called him "a walking definition of civic responsibility."

Among Pratt's many honors was the 1986 Gantt Award from the American Management Association and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers for his "distinguished achievement in management as a service to the community." He has been a leader in the United Way, the Boys Clubs of America, the Hugh O'Brien Youth Foundation, and the Girl Scouts.

An active contributor to higher education, he served as a Duke trustee from 1977 to 1988 and was on the board of the Fuqua School of Business, the Engineering Development Committee, the Capital Gifts Committee, and the Leadership Gift Committee. When he retired from Pfizer, the company established in his honor at Duke the Pfizer Inc.-Edmund T. Pratt Jr. University Professorship. In 1997, the university named the Pratt Commons of the Levine Science Research Center after him, following a $1-million gift to the center.

Pratt and his wife of forty-eight years, Jeannette, have two sons, Keith and Randolf.


wo alumni from Oklahoma City have donated $5.5 million to support improvements to undergraduate residence halls, financial aid for students, the Duke Annual Fund, and the Fuqua School of Business. The gifts are the receipts of two trusts established in 1997 by Aubrey K. McClendon '81 and his wife, Kathleen Byrns McClendon '80.

Aubrey McClendon has served as chair and chief executive officer of the Chesapeake Energy Corporation of Oklahoma City since its inception in 1989. The McClendons are members of several Duke governing boards; Aubrey McClendon helps direct the Campaign for Duke's fund-raising effort as a member of its steering committee.

The largest portion of the gift--expected to be more than $3.5 million--will help fund an ambitious expansion and modernization of student residence halls. Residential-life planning is still under way, but a final proposal is expected to be presented to Duke's trustees in December, with construction to begin next summer on West Campus. The preliminary plan is to construct a new 350-bed dormitory in the first phase to be completed by 2003, with the second phase concentrating on renovation of existing West Campus residence halls.

The balance of the gift will be used to create the McClendon Family Scholarship Fund to support Duke's Annual Fund and the Fuqua School of Business. Aubrey McClendon is a member of Fuqua's board of visitors.

The McClendons have supported a number of programs during Duke's fund-raising effort, including the arts and sciences endowment and Annual Fund leadership giving. Their gifts also helped to build the Brodie Recreation Center on East Campus, which opened in 1996, and West Campus' Wilson Recreation Center, which opened in August.


ew uses for the Internet crop up every day. You can buy books, send flowers, donate to charities, trace genealogy, trade stocks--the list is nearly endless. One of the newer features of Internet life on campus, however, has some professors up in arms. Online class note services have raised hackles at colleges around the country, and faculty whose class lectures are being put online without their permission have begun questioning the practice.

One of those faculty members is Duke's David Paletz, professor of political science. In a recent letter to the Academic Council (reprinted in Duke's monthly Faculty Forum), Paletz raises concerns about online class notes providers--particularly with Versity.com, a site providing notes from twenty-two different Duke classes, from Biological Anthropology and Anatomy 093 to Statistics 110E. (The site features a disclaimer stating that "notes contained within Versity.com are a notetakers' [sic] interpretation of what was presented in the lecture.")

"No one from or connected to Versity.com has ever asked me for permission or even consulted me about putting 'an interpretation' of my lectures on the World Wide Web," Paletz writes. He then outlines problems he sees with online class notes providers, among them: disruption of the professor-student relationship, both by the note-taker's intrusion into it and by giving students the impression that class can be missed without consequences; distortion or misunderstanding of remarks requiring class context; inept note-taking; verbatim note-taking that is "in no way a 'notetaker's interpretation' "; advertising on the site, "exploiting the professor's work for profit and commercial purposes"; the cheapening of the value of a Duke education by making Duke class notes available to anyone on the Web; and violation of intellectual property rights, including Versity.com's claim of copyright for the notes.

Paletz is also greatly disturbed by the idea that "the notes are presented as from 'Duke University: Political Sciences [sic] 91D.' The name of the person supplying them is never given.... Connected to the notes, the professor is responsible for their inadequacies, blamed for their contents, and can be attacked for their assertions by anyone (no matter how crazy) anywhere in the world."

Paletz is not the only Duke professor with such concerns. In an October article, The Chronicle at Duke reported that the Office of University Counsel has been contacted about the possibility of litigation over the notes, quoting sociology professor Linda George, Ph.D. '75: "You cannot read any textbook and get the spin that I put on a topic. I don't think any corporation has the right to take that by paying people to record my intellectual property."

Late in October, Duke president Nannerl O. Keohane took the question to a presidents' meeting of the Association of American Universities, recommending that the group's intellectual property committee examine the issue. As reported in a November issue of the The Chronicle, Keohane said faculty members fear "the possibly chilling effects of having spontaneous, Socratic ventures in teaching recorded on the Web, or premature release of research results that a faculty member might like to discuss in class but is not yet ready to share in publication." An AAU public affairs officer said the committee would take up the matter by early next year.

In their defense, the online class notes providers claim the note-takers they hire must sign contracts agreeing not to take down the lecture verbatim or copy handouts or writings from the board. Indeed, one company claims the students taking the notes own the copyright on their "interpretation" of the lecture. And at least one professor is less upset by

the service than others. In an interview in The Chronicle, Lori Leachman, visiting associate professor of economics, says she saw the service as an "accessory" to learning. "Ideally, this sort of system liberates students from notetakingÉand frees you up in class to just listen and understand the lecture." And yet she agrees with some of Paletz's concerns about accuracy and professor-student interaction, saying, "I don't think it will ever take the place of a dynamic classroom."

What university professors are worried about for now, however, is that the conduct and content of online class notes websites will disrupt the learning environment and violate long-held rights to intellectual property. Such questions are reaching well beyond Duke to many other universities. Paletz, for one, wants the word to spread. "I am hoping to alert my Duke colleagues across the campus about this threat to the integrity of their teaching. As significant an asset as the Internet can be to our teaching and research, it can also pose a threat to our professional work that we must resist through collaborative action."


he late Charles E. Putman, the university's senior vice president for research administration and policy, is being honored by a university professorship created in his name. Putman died of a heart attack in May at the age of fifty-seven. He was James B. Duke Professor of Radiology, board certified in internal medicine, and a noted teacher. Although an academic administrator, he continued to see patients while leading Duke's $335-million research enterprise.

The university professorship program is designed to attract to Duke a small number of highly distinguished faculty whose interests cross traditional disciplinary boundaries. Three quarters of the $2-million endowment required to support the professorship already has been raised, with $375,000 commitments each from the budgets of university president Nannerl O. Keohane and Ralph Snyderman, chancellor for health affairs, $100,000 from president emeritus H. Keith H. Brodie and his wife, Brenda, and $635,000 from Duke's board of trustees.

The holder of the professorship will have a primary appointment in Duke Medical Center and will be someone who will have an impact across the university. "The Putman Chair will symbolize the interdisciplinary excellence that we are seeing more and more of at Duke and at the medical center," says Snyderman. "It is particularly fitting that the professor to hold the chair will teach at our medical center, where Charles made such a lasting mark."

Putman came to Duke in 1977 from Yale's School of Medicine to chair radiology. He was named James B. Duke Professor of Radiology and professor of medicine in 1983. In 1985, he became vice chancellor for health affairs and vice provost, and in 1986 was named dean of the school of medicine and vice provost for research and development. He relinquished his post as dean in 1987 to devote more time to enhance the university's research programs, and became vice president for research administration and policy in 1989. He was executive vice president for administration from 1990 to 1995.

Putman held several leadership positions in North Carolina's Research Triangle. He chaired the board of MCNC, a nonprofit Research Triangle Park corporation that develops electronic technologies, and was a director and former vice chair of the North Carolina Biotechnology Center. He also was a trustee of the Triangle Universities Center for Advanced Studies, a governor of the Research Triangle Institute, and a director of North Carolina Alliance for Competitive Technologies. He was a trustee for the Southeastern Universities Research Association and a member

of the board of directors of the Oak Ridge (National Laboratory) Association of Universities. He was a member of the National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine, and in 1994 he was named chair of a committee of the Institute of Medicine that reviewed federal regulation of the use of radioactive materials in medicine.


uke's Fuqua School of Business is establishing a European campus in Frankfurt. The Fuqua School of Business Europe will be headquarters for the Duke M.B.A.-Cross Continent, a new degree program combining instruction with Internet-based learning for young professionals

living and working primarily in Europe and North America. The inaugural class of 110 students will enroll in August 2000, with half the class completing its residency requirements primarily in Durham and the other half in Frankfurt.

Thomas F. Keller '53 will be dean of the Fuqua School of Business Europe. Keller, the R.J. Reynolds Professor of Business Administration at Duke, was Fuqua's dean from 1974 to 1996. He says the university selected Frankfurt because of the city's standing as a center of business and finance. Among other things, it is home to the European Central Bank, the German Stock Exchange, and the German Central Bank.

The Duke M.B.A.-Cross Continent program is aimed at managers in the United States and Europe with two to eight years of professional experience who wish to remain on the job and enhance their careers with a graduate business education. It will be taught with both Internet and traditional classroom methodologies, as pioneered in Fuqua's Duke MBA-Global Executive (GEMBA) program. Students can live and work anywhere in the world while completing the program, but must attend a total of nine weeks of residential learning sessions.

During the twenty-month program, each of the eight academic terms will begin with a one-week residential learning session taught concurrently at Fuqua campuses in Durham and Frankfurt. These residencies will be followed by a six-week period of Internet-based distance learning involving students all over the world working together in global virtual teams. A transfer requirement built into the program means both Europe-based and North America-based students will experience at least one mandatory residential session in a location other than their home continent. Depending on their choice of electives, the students may complete up to two additional residencies on the other continent.

Along with a partnership between Fuqua and Pensare Inc., the Fuqua School of Business Europe will be supported and guided by a kuratorium (board of directors) composed of executives from leading multinational firms. Besides Rolf-E. Breuer, chief executive officer of Deutsche Bank, who will serve as chairman, and Fuqua's dean Rex D.Adams '62, the school has appointed three other individuals to its kuratorium to date: Sir Richard Sykes, chairman of Glaxo Wellcome plc; Werner G. Seifert, chief executive officer of Deutsche Bšrse (the German Stock Exchange); and Dieter Feddersen, a partner in the Frankfurt law firm Feddersen Laule Scherzberg & Ohle Hansen Ewerwahn.


he new Freeman Center for Jewish Life was dedicated during Parents' Weekend in October. The $3-million, 17,000-square-foot facility provides Jewish students, faculty, and staff at Duke with a place to worship, study, eat, and gather. It is also available to all of Duke's students and members of the Durham community.

During the dedication ceremony, several of the founding benefactors were honored, including:

  • Brian and Harriet Freeman of Short Hills, New Jersey, whose three children, Danyelle, Amanda, and Heath, either attended or are now enrolled at Duke. The Freemans made the primary private contribution toward the construction of the building. Brian Freeman is vice chair of UNext.com, a distance-education business he co-founded in 1997. Previously, he was president of Brian M. Freeman Enterprises Inc., an investment banking firm he founded in 1985. He is a member of the Terry Sanford Institute of Public Policy's board of visitors; Harriet Freeman is a member of the Center for Jewish Life's board of directors.

  • Samuel and Veronica Heyman of New York City, whose son Larry graduated from Duke in 1994 and whose daughter Elizabeth is currently a Duke student. The Heymans' gift will endow the center's directorship.

  • Bernice Levenson Lerner '53 of Salisbury, North Carolina, and her late husband Morton, whose three children graduated from Duke. The Levenson-Lerner Sanctuary in the center is named in honor of the Lerner family.

  • Philip and Susan Oppenheimer Sassower of New York City, whose son Edward received his undergraduate and law degrees from Duke. The center's library and adjoining terrace are named in the family's honor.

  • Gilbert D. Scharf '70 and Ruth Calvin Scharf B.S.N. '80 of New York City, who initiated the process that led to the construction of the center. The center's multi-purpose area is named Scharf Commons in their honor.


    eynolds Price '55 has been a mainstay of intellectual life at Duke for many years, garnering honors and attention for his literary output and for challenging the university to live up to its potential. His most recent honor came during Founders' Weekend, when a formal portrait was unveiled at a gathering of friends at Perkins Library.

    Portrait of Reynolds Price is the work of San Francisco artist Will Wilson, who came to Durham and spent hours with Price, observing and participating in the author's life before starting the portrait sessions. The sittings yielded three paintings, including one that serves as the cover of the paperback edition of Price's Collected Poems. The portrait purchased by Duke is rich in color and detail, depecting the author and professor surrounded by books, religious icons, and other totems of his life. It hangs in The Perk, the coffee shop on the second floor of Perkins Library, where it greets patrons as they step up through the stone arch at the top of the stairs.

    Wilson spoke with Duke Magazine from his San Francisco studio.

    How did you decide on Reynolds Price as a subject for a portrait?

    Three years ago, Reynolds was in San Francisco and he stopped into the John Pence Gallery and met John. I don't know exactly what artist he was interested in, but he did purchase one of my paintings at that time. And then he developed a friendship with John Pence.

    John was just so impressed by Reynolds, he literally credits Reynolds for reigniting his love of literature. And then, I think it was a year or six months later, because of their friendship, John said he thought that Reynolds should be the subject of a grand painting. We met and got along just great, and that day or the next day it was decided I would come to Duke and do the painting, anything I wanted to do.

    What was it like to spend that much time with Price, coming to know him well enough to paint him?

    I was so flattered that someone as busy as he is would take the time. He was in between books, between projects. The second trip I took down, it was the first day of school. I sat on the stage with him the first day of his Milton class. It was fun for me to see how he taught. I wanted to be around him as much as possible. I've never met anyone with more complex facial expressions in my life.

    Five hours a day he was sitting for me. Hearing all these great stories, hanging out with him--it was just such a treat. It was very stimulating to spend that time with him. And then he's so disarming as well. He put me so much at ease. I mean, I was right in his bedroom, right in the area where he is living, right in his space.

    The first sitting, I got there around four o'clock and started grinding my paints, and by six o'clock we'd started the small one.

    You painted three portraits?

    Right. The final portrait is almost a hybrid of the two others--I wanted him to be looking at the viewer. He had one leg lifted over the other. When he was teaching, he was in that position, and I thought, oh, that's neat. I remembered that.

    So, some of what we see in the portrait was actually right there, represented as it was in the sitting, and some of it is from things that you observed while you were with him? Like the things that surround him?

    Most of those are objects that are in his house. The painting behind him is kind of an amalgamation of different icons he has. The Christ figure with the disciples connotes him as a teacher, and the scene of Lazarus being raised from the dead felt like A Whole New Life, the notion of rebirth, and I had read that just before going there. Then I liked the idea that the computer was in it.É

    Which is interesting, because it is such a contemporary item, and yet the painting as a whole has the light and richness of a more classical style.

    Because that's my background, that's how I paint, in that classical style.

    The chair also stands out, though it doesn't jump out.

    I love the fact that he crossed his leg, and the composition of the painting allowed him to be framed that way, and the chair was just showing. It's not the first thing you see but you discover it.

    At the unveiling, you explained a few things in the painting, but you said you wouldn't go into what the marble represented, the round yellow one resting under the torso.

    Well, he has tons of them, he just likes them. It was just a design thing. I just grabbed it--they were everywhere.

    What was Price's reaction to the work?

    He was diligent in looking at what I did after each sitting, which was twenty to thirty minutes at a time. He'd say there are hundreds of paintings, that each one was different--he would see each bit of work as a new painting. A lot of times people, especially lay people, will look at the painting and say, "Oh, it's done." They don't always understand where I'm going with it. It was really interesting with Reynolds, though. He understood. You know, he wanted to be a painter, an artist. He'd say, "You're doing what I always wanted to do."

    He understood because he understands the artist's creative process, both as a writer and as someone who had wanted to paint?

    Exactly. He's always been creating his own work, but as a child [painting] was his ambition. I think it was because of that that I was completely at ease.

    What did you think when you heard that Duke wanted to purchase the painting?

    I think people at Duke were aware it was being done. Then, when the painting was done, it was out here in San Francisco in my art show, and then Duke asked to have it shipped to them to check it out.

    It's a funny thing how things happen. Someone of his stature--it could have been any one of twenty major portrait artists--and I got to do it. It was really just amazing.

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