Duke University Alumni Magazine


DAA president Young: looking to long-range planning
Photo: Jim Wallace
wynne A. Young '71, president of the Duke Alumni Association for 1999-2000 and a Tampa attorney, was destined for Duke from a very early age. Her father played football for Wallace Wade during his undergraduate days here before World War II and later received a degree from the medical school. Her mother was a Duke employee. The family dachshunds were named Blue Devil One and Blue Devil Two. Young was born at Duke Hospital, and as early as the first grade, she says, "I told everyone that I was going to Duke."

Sure enough, after being accepted early decision, she matriculated as a member of the Class of 1971. Right away, she was an unwitting pioneer. "My experience was an interesting one, because they had had a higher yield than expected out of the number of women accepted to the Woman's College that year, and they didn't have enough dorm space for all of us. Therefore, there were forty-four freshman women who lived on the third floor of the men's graduate center--which is now Trent. So I was one of the first undergraduates to live in Trent, and I think we felt probably as isolated then as they do now."

But that isolation led to close friendships, with classmates and with the FACs (student members of the Freshman Advisory Council) who were imported from the women's dorms on East Campus to guide this small group of isolated freshman women. Young gives one FAC, Louise Dunlap '68, particular credit for a learning experience. "I've always felt she had as much influence on my life as anybody because she was one of these people who, when she decided she wanted to do something, she did it. And she instilled that 'if you want to do it then it can be done' attitude in me."

There is much that Young wants to do during her term as DAA president, and she has little doubt that it can be done. Her experience with the DAA began "almost immediately" after she graduated from the University of Florida's law school in 1974. She joined the local Duke club, volunteered on the Alumni Admissions Advisory Committee, organized events, and worked with the Annual Fund. All of these experiences come into play when she talks about the future of the alumni association.

"The one thing I've felt we needed to do during my year is some sort of self-examination of the organization and how we relate to our various constituencies," she says. Toward that end, the External Relations Committee has been established to look at the functions of the alumni association, the alumni office, and the alumni board and to find ways to improve service and the relationship of alumni to the university at large. "We know we do a lot of good things," she says. "But could we do these things better? Are there issues that we need to deal with?"

Young says she hopes such questions will lead to a long-range planning process, starting with an alumni survey and going on to formulate a five-year plan. Among her concerns for such a strategy are including a community-service component and maximizing the use of technology in building and maintaining alumni relationships. Those relationships are critical, she says, not only for the DAA but for Duke as a whole: "Involvement of alumni is important for any university because that's your lifeblood." And she doesn't just mean monetary donations, saying alumni are always needed in several different capacities and that involvement can't start too soon after graduation. "We try to offer a lot of things that people can do, and ways they can help the university without giving a lot of money."

Setting all these wheels in motion is an ambitious agenda for a one-year term. But Young is positive and determined. At the end of her term, she says, "I would hope that people will say we have come up with some constructive ways to improve our service to alumni and to improve our participation within the university. As I've said, we've done a good job so far. But we'd like to do better."


resident Nannerl O. Keohane made a fall foray into Ohio for Duke club events and then to Canada for alumni living above the border. In the spring, she plans to talk in two towns in Tennessee before going abroad for an alumni reception in Paris.

On October 19, Keohane was featured at a luncheon in Columbus at the Columbus Museum of Art and at a dinner reception in Cleveland at the Great Lakes Science Center. Daniel R. Rupp '66 is president of the Duke Club of Columbus and Joyce Nahigan '86 is the Duke Club of Cleveland's president.

In late October, Keohane helped launch a newly forming Duke club for alumni in Ontario. An evening reception in Toronto at the Hotel Intercontinental on October 27 attracted nearly 100 Blue Devils living in Canada.

Keohane will be the guest of honor in April at evening receptions and dinners in Tennessee. On April 10, she will speak at the University Club to the Duke Club of Memphis, whose president is Michael S. Reeves M.B.A. '95. On April 11, she'll greet Duke Club of Nashville alumni at the Hermitage Hotel; Stacy Stansell Klein '91 is the club's president.

Still in the planning stages is a presidential visit to Paris in the spring. All alumni living in Europe will be invited to a reception organized by Duke Club of Paris co-presidents Elizabeth Buckley '83 and James Smallhoover '75.


he Reverend Judith L. Weidman M.Div. '66, who recently retired as general secretary of United Methodist Communications, is the Duke Divinity School's Distinguished Alumna for 1999. The ordained United Methodist minister has worked in church communications and journalism for thirty-four years. Since 1994, she has directed public-relations efforts for the 9-million-member United Methodist Church, the second largest Protestant denomination in the United States.

A native of Savanna, Illinois, Weidman began her journalism career in 1966 as an assistant editor for the United Methodist Publishing House's adult curriculum department. She was a special-assignment reporter for the Kokomo Tribune from 1968 to 1971, before being named associate editor of the United Methodist Reporter, an independent national newspaper based in Dallas. In 1975, she was appointed general secretary for interpretation for the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry.

Weidman became executive editor of Religion News Service in 1984. She helped steer the agency from virtual bankruptcy to financial solvency and New York Times syndication during the ensuing decade, attracting more than $1 million in foundation grants and funding research on religion reporting and readership. Named Communicator of the Year in 1987 by the United Methodist Association of Communicators, she serves on the advisory board of the Center for Religion and the News Media, a joint program of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. She is the editor of two books, Women in Ministry and Christian Fellowship, and has been a media consultant in Japan, Korea, China, the Philippines, and England.

The Distinguished Alumni Award was established in 1973 by the Duke Divinity School Alumni Association to recognize Divinity School graduates for remarkable and exemplary service to God, the church, and the human community.

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