Alumni Spotlight

David Morgenstern

When David Morgenstern '08 found out, after his acceptance to Duke, that he was selected to be a Robertson Scholar, he didn't yet know the lasting impact it would have on his life.

Growing up in Shaker Heights, Ohio, Morgenstern was surrounded by a community willing to have difficult conversations about social issues, ones he saw playing out regularly on the basketball court (where he was the only white player) and tennis court (where there were only one or two nonwhite players). Morgenstern brought his open mind to Duke, where he saw communities break down and come together over shades of black, white, and blue.

"Being a Robertson allowed me to continue finding and developing new communitie, both domestic and abroad," says Morgenstern of the full-tuition scholarship for Duke and UNC students, who take courses at both schools and spend a semester in residence at the other campus. In a way, Morgenstern's experiences foreshadowed today's civic-minded Blue Devils. He started with a "domestic-abroad" summer, living in rural Mississippi while working with a lawyer on preventing illegal home foreclosures just a few years before the housing bubble burst. The following summer brought him to a small school in Cape Town, South Africa, well before DukeEngage was on every student's to-do list.

The common thread for Morgenstern has always been his focus "on the fact that people are people." At Duke, he worked with Know Your Status, a free HIV-testing program, and was heavily involved with the Center for Race Relations, facilitating its annual Common Ground retreat for three years.

In the short time since graduating, Morgenstern has continued to make community engagement a priority both in and out of the workplace. At Gerson Lehrman Group in New York, Morgenstern cofounded the GLG Social Impact program, which identifies companies with social impact and provides pro bono financial consulting services. He volunteers with the Trevor Project, the national LGBT teen suicide prevention hotline, and recently joined the Duke New York Regional Board, serving on the budget committee and as liason to the university's LGBT alumni network.

"It's really interesting to see what Duke means to people at various stages in their careers," he says. "There are these really successful, smart people anywhere from five to thirty years out of school, and hearing how they take that Duke experience and apply it to life is fascinating."

With his five-year reunion approaching fast, Morgenstern will get a chance to see how the Duke experience has played out among his classmates. "I can't wait to see where everyone is," he says. "I think there will be a level of excitement that feels like our first day of freshman year, except that this time everyone won't be terrified."

Hiroshi Hoketsu

At the age of seventy-one, Hiroshi Hoketsu A.M. ’68 is preparing for an unlikely return to the Olympic Games. Hoketsu, an equestrian sport rider, first represented his native Japan at the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo, where he finished 40th in show jumping. He gave up competition to pursue degrees in economics, but returned in 2008 to qualify for the Olympics in Beijing. Competing in dressage, an event where riders execute a series of tests that are judged for grace and execution, Hoketsu and his chestnut mare, Whisper, finished ninth in the team grand prix and 35th in individual competition. He has earned wide admiration for competing with athletes young enough to be his grandchildren. In Japan, he is called “The Hope of Old Men” and is a spokesperson for a health-food company. “If I feel that I am not progressing, that I am not as good as before, then I will quit [after London],” Hoketsu told the Associated Press in March. “But fortunately, I don’t feel like that. I feel I am still improving.”

Lucy Corin

Lucy Corin ’92 has been awarded a Rome Prize by the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Also known as the “Rome Fellowship in Literature,” the award goes to two “young writers of promise” and includes a one-year residency at the American Academy in Rome. Corin, an associate professor at the University of California-Davis, is the author of the short-story collection The Entire Predicament and the novel Everyday Psychokillers: A History for Girls. Her stories have appeared in American Short Fiction, Conjunctions, Ploughshares, Tin House Magazine, and New Stories from the South: The Year’s Best.

During her residency, Corin will work on her novel- in-progress about “people who are not mentally ill trying to conceive of and do right by people they love who are,” she says. “I am incredibly excited and grateful. It’s an amazing feeling to get this kind of support.”

Paul Auerbach

Paul Auerbach ’73, M.D. ’77 takes the scouting motto of “Be Prepared” to a whole new level. His new book, Wilderness Medicine, Sixth Edition, weighing in at ten pounds, includes information about snake bites, lightning strikes, bear attacks, poisonous mushrooms, seafood pathogens, frostbite, sunburn, heatstroke, volcano hazards, dehydration, bone fractures, emergency evacuation, vertigo, toxic plants, bacterial infections, high-altitude sickness, tropical diseases, and parasites. (There’s lot more, but you get the idea.)

A professor of surgery at Stanford University and an avid outdoorsman, Auerbach has edited the book since its first edition in 1983. (His med school classmate Edward Geehr M.D. ’76 helped edit the first two editions.) His interest in emergency and wilderness medicine dates to a summer externship spent working with the Indian Health Service in Montana between his second and third years of medical school. Since then he has pioneered wilderness medicine, a specialty that is useful not only for outdoor enthusiasts but also during humanitarian crises, in the wake of natural disasters, and in austere set- tings where resources are scarce.

Auerbach has put his expertise into practice in Haiti as a first responder after the 2010 earthquake and has led wilder- ness-medicine workshops at the base camp of Mount Everest. He’s also involved with efforts to help Nepal create a worldwide burn prevention and treatment program.

Jeff Staubach

Jeff Staubach ’97 could barely walk when he arrived at K Academy last year to participate in the fantasy basketball camp. Days earlier, he had completed a twenty-hour, fifty-mile walk through Carry the Load, a nationwide event to raise money for veterans and their families. Participants carry mementos in honor of servicemen and women who have given their lives while in the military.

“I had blisters and shin splints and was limping around,” he says. “By the end of camp, everyone knew my story, so when it came time to think about who I would walk in honor of this year, I immediately thought of the Duke community.”

When Staubach walks in this year’s Carry the Load event in late May, he will wear a T-shirt printed with the names of all Duke alumni killed in active duty—nearly 300—from World War II through the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. “I’m calling them the Bravest Blue Devils, because they gave the ultimate to their country,” says Staubach, the son of Hall of Fame quarterback and Navy veteran Roger Staubach. “The goal of Carry the Load is to go farther and carry more than you think you can. So when I begin to get exhausted in the twelfth or fourteenth hour of the event, I’ll think about the sacrifices they made, and it will inspire me to keep pushing through the pain.”

“I respect and admire what [Duke] stands for,” says Staubach, who played varsity baseball for the Blue Devils. “From its classrooms to the playing field, Duke represents excellence. But I am also Forever Duke because I refuse to wear that lighter shade of blue. I even had a hard time seeing my infant son wearing baby blue.”

Bob Wolff

Bob Wolff '42 has published Bob Wolff's Complete Guide to Sportscasting, which chronicles his seventy-two-year career as a sports commentator for television and radio. Wolff got his start at WDNC as an undergraduate and has covered the World Series, the NFL championship, the NBA finals, and the Stanley Cup, as well as horse shows, college sports, and the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. His book offers aspiring sportscaster tips on how to stand out in a crowded field, the art of the interview, and the enduring need for accuracy and good grammar.