Presidential Presences and Presents

Leadership lineup

 Leadership lineup: President Keohane, center, surrounded by DAA presidents, from left, front row, Michele Clause Farquhar '79, 
Ruth Wade Ross '68, Michelle Miller Sales '78, J.D. '81, R. Ross Harris '78, M.B.A. '80, and Robert T. Harper '76, J.D. '79; back row, from left, Edward M. Hanson Jr. '73, A.M. '77, J.D. '77, Wilton D. Alston B.S.E. '81, James D. Warren '79, Stanley G. Brading Jr. '75, and Gary D. Melchionni '73, J.D. '81. Photo: Jim Wallace


When soon-to-retire President Nannerl O. Keohane spoke at an alumni dinner in January, she was in good company, one president among nearly a dozen in the room. Presidents of the Duke Alumni Association during her tenure had gathered to honor Keohane during the winter meeting of the Duke Alumni Association's board of directors.

President Michele Miller Sales '78, J.D. '81, on behalf of the alumni association, presented Keohane with a proclamation signed by twelve DAA presidents; ten were present. Then Sales gave Keohane a Blue Devil trident pin in white and yellow gold, commissioned by the association. Sales also announced that the DAA was contributing $25,000 toward a new women's basketball scholarship named in Keohane's honor.

The weekend had begun Friday with a luncheon in the Fuqua School of Business Faculty Lounge that featured Larry Moneta, vice president for student affairs, speaking on plans to develop a new plaza bordered by the Bryan Center, Page Auditorium, and the West Union and Flowers buildings. A tour of Fuqua and the R. David Thomas Center followed. DAA standing committees then met, before the dinner that evening at the University Club that honored Keohane.

Standing committees reconvened on Saturday morning before the DAA's board meeting. President Sales reported on continuing the discussions among alumni on the findings of the Women's Initiative Steering Committee; public meetings are planned for New York, Washington, Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and the Research Triangle. Immediate Past President Wilt Alston B.S.E. '81, who serves on Duke's board of trustees, reported on a proposal to establish a policy on ethical investments. He said there was also a discussion on improving security on campus, in light of some on-campus robberies. Plans have been made to install surveillance cameras, use foot patrols, and begin checking IDs of nonstudents on campus.

Laney Funderburk '60, director of alumni affairs, reported that he is retiring at the end of 2004 and that Edith Sprunt Toms '62, who oversees Alumni Admissions Advisory Committees and alumni scholarships for the alumni office, is retiring at the end of March. Plans are under way to publish a printed edition of the alumni directory in 2005.

Matthew Slovik '04, president of Duke Student Government, reported on a number of issues identified in the "Visions of Duke," a student survey conducted last spring. He stated that students are growing "less pleased with their Duke experience," citing not enough mentoring and shifts in residential arrangements as examples. The feeling among the Class of 2004 is most evident, he said, with many feeling unhappy, disenfranchised, and underserved.

Rob Saunders, president of the Graduate and Professional Student Council (GPSC), noted that graduate and professional students now made up approximately half of Duke's student enrollment. He identified the need for increased community-service opportunities, more mentoring, and assistance with immigration concerns for the growing population of international students.

Sheila Curran, Fannie Mitchell Director of the Duke Career Center, reported on the upcoming Career Week, sponsored, in large measure, by the Duke Alumni Association. More than 200 alumni were to return to campus to lead twenty-three different career field sessions. More than 1,400 students, almost equally divided among the four undergraduate classes, and sixty-six graduate students were registered.

Chairs of the standing committees reported on their meetings:

Tom Clark '69, who chairs the Regional Programs Committee, said that the committee discussed ways to coordinate volunteer activities in the cities and regions, and that there needs to be a more intentional strategy for volunteers. Committee members, following the fall meeting, contacted key volunteer leaders in their cities and regions to ask about their experiences. From these discussions, the committee intends to develop and recommend a communications strategy, a redefining of local leadership boundaries, ways to educate alumni about opportunities, and a method for coordinating and connecting volunteer leadership.

Charlotte Reeves Clark '79, M.E.M. '83, chair of the Communications Committee, noted that Duke Magazine had received several CASE awards for excellence and would be sponsoring its third annual campus forum, a discussion between President Keohane and Cornell University president emeritus Frank Rhodes on February 3. She complimented Duke Blue Connections, the DAA's new bimonthly online newsletter that is distributed via e-mail to 68,000. Finally, she noted that, for the foreseeable future, both print and Web communications would continue to be necessary.

Pat Dempsey Hammond '80, chair of the Member Benefits and Services Committee, reported on the success of AllLearn's online educational programs and the planning of alumni events coordinated with the traveling exhibit of the art collection of Grant Hill '94. She noted progress in discussions with Duke Medical Center in creating greater alumni access to services there. The committee also discussed ways to increase DAA dues payments.

Following lunch, board members assembled at Alumni House for a "big screen" viewing of the Duke-Georgetown men's basketball game being played in Washington. Many members of the board then attended a pregame barbecue and the Duke-Tennessee women's basketball game in Cameron Indoor Stadium.


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