A Room of Their Own

June 1, 2008
President Richard H. Brodhead traveled to Washington to dedicate an elementary-school reading room

Jay Malin Photos

In February, President Richard H. Brodhead traveled to Washington to dedicate an elementary-school reading room that was renovated with the help of Duke alumni volunteers.

The volunteers were working under the auspices of the Duke Club of Washington's Partners-in-Education program (PIE), which has adopted two Washington schools, Ludlow-Taylor Elementary and the Dorothy I. Height Community Academy Public Charter Schools, where the reading room is located.

Last year, the school's principal spoke with PIE co-chairs Hardy Vieux '93 and Loree Lipstein '03 about the need for "a place that's bright and safe for students to read in," Vieux says. Although many volunteers worked on the project, he says, two alumni were "instrumental" in its success: Dick Leggin '75, an architect, donated his services, and James Walsh '74, the head of a construction company, offered expertise and manpower.

Other volunteers conducted book drives, provided book shelves and other furnishings, and commissioned a large mural that decorates one wall of the room. At the dedication, the principal, Kyle Williams, observed that the refurbished reading room provides "a place where literacy is celebrated."

"This space combines a unique sense of serenity and excitement that parallels the experience of reading a good book."