When the Duke Alumni Association (DAA) began planning the inaugural kickoff for the newly created Duke Entertainment, Media, and the Arts Network (DEMAN), organizers expected about fifty people to come. Instead, they had to move to a much larger space
to accommodate the more than 200 alumni and friends who registered for the event.
The DEMAN launch, held last April at Fox Studios in Los Angeles, included updates about the state of the arts at Duke from Michael Schoenfeld '84, vice president for public affairs and government relations, and Scott Lindroth, vice provost for the arts and professor of music. The main program featured a conversation moderated by entertainment lawyer Fred Goldring '79, senior partner of Goldring Hertz & Lichtenstein and former chair of Rock the Vote.
He was joined by actor Jack Coleman '80 (Dynasty, Heroes) and cinematographer Robert Yeoman '73.
The three shared stories about the patchwork nature of Duke's
arts offerings when they were undergraduates and talked about
how DEMAN could forge connections among industry professionals and serve as a resource for Duke's next generation of media arts professionals.
"A lot of you are probably here because you got into the entertain-
ment business or the media business or the arts almost in spite of Duke," Goldring told the audience. "There were certain things about Duke that led you here, but you had to create your own path. You probably thought, If only I had a program, or some mentors, or a network, it really would have helped me get here. And wouldn't it be
nice if the next generation of kids coming up had that in place? And wouldn't it be nice if we could give back to the university some of the
skill sets we've developed? So that's the hope—that this network will strengthen and grow."
In less than a year, Goldring's words have proved prophetic. More
than 5,000 alumni are now identified as part of DEMAN. These include people working in the more traditional specialties of acting, directing, screenwriting, and news and entertainment reporting, as well as those involved in burgeoning fields such as video gaming, interactive advertising, and website marketing and branding. New York and Los Angeles serve as the bicoastal hubs for DEMAN, but all alumni are invited to join.
Sterly Wilder '83, associate vice president for alumni affairs, says that she hopes DEMAN will help alumni stay connected to Duke as they return to campus for panel discussions, teaching opportunities, and career conferences. In November, a number of DEMAN alumni participated in the first student-arts weekend (see Duke Magazine, January-February 2010). Events for 2010 are still in the planning stages and will be announced on the DEMAN Facebook page and through DAA communications.