Leaders Converge to Learn


The fall meeting of the Duke Alumni Association's board of directors coincided with the annual Volunteer Leadership Conference, giving board members a chance to mingle and learn with more than a hundred development, reunions, clubs, and Alumni Admissions Advisory Committee volunteers back on campus for training sessions. The meeting, which began on Thursday, September 20, was held in the wake of the terrorist attacks. The events of the preceding nine days prompted reflections from participants--along with comments from Duke President Nannerl O. Keohane, who accented the importance of the extended family of Duke for individuals seeking both solace and informed understanding.

Orientation for new DAA board members began on the afternoon of the 20th, before an evening reception and dinner at the University Club, where new members were introduced by current board members. On Friday, standing committees--Alumni Admissions; Alumni Education and Travel; Clubs; Duke Magazine and Communications; Member Benefits and Services; and Reunions--held abbreviated breakfast meetings. Reports by DAA president Gary Melchionni '73, J.D. '81, immediate past president Ruth Wade Ross '68, and past president Gwynne A. Young '71 followed. Alumni director M. Laney Funderburk Jr. '60 presented the alumni office's final long-term strategic plan for approval, which the board accepted unanimously.

A proposal to amend the DAA bylaws, shifting from eighteen to twenty at-large representatives, was approved. Another proposal was to change the term length for any person who is elected to complete an unexpired term from "may serve up to three additional terms" to "two additional consecutive terms." The board approved this revised language: "The terms of at-large and faculty members of the board of directors shall be two fiscal years, with one-half of such directors being elected each year. Students' terms shall be for one year only. Representatives of the schools and colleges may serve terms specified by their respective associations. It is expected that most members of the board will serve no more than two two-year terms."

Program reports by alumni staff, featuring highlights of last year and goals related to the strategic plan, were presented by Edith Sprunt Toms '62 on alumni admissions, George J. Dorfman '85 on clubs, Robert J. Bliwise A.M. '88 on Duke Magazine, Deborah Weiss Fowlkes '78 on alumni education and travel, Sharon Bair on member benefits and services, and Lisa K. Dilts '83 on reunions.

Board members then joined leadership conference attendees for a buffet luncheon, hosted by Spike Yoh B.S.E. '58, chair of Duke's board of trustees, and John Piva, senior vice president for Alumni Affairs and Development. Leadership training sessions were preceded with a discussion by Peter Lange, Duke provost, and Tallman Trask III, executive vice president, on "University Priorities, Vision, and Resources," and later, a campaign update by Robert Shepard, vice president for university development.

On Saturday morning, President Keohane delivered her "State of the University" address, touching on themes ranging from information technology to residential life. More training sessions followed, with a break for a buffet lunch with tables hosted by university administrators. A tailgate party at the Sanford Institute for Public Policy at five o'clock was followed by the Duke-Northwestern football game.

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