Gathering in early March for its annual winter meeting, the board of directors of the Duke Alumni Association (DAA) spent most of the weekend engaged in strategic planning, after hearing from the arts and sciences dean about the successes of Duke's past strategies.
Dean George L. McLendon delivered the keynote address at Friday's joint luncheon in the Bryan Center's Von Canon Hall, which was attended by the DAA board and the Annual Fund's executive committee and nationwide co-chairs of the Duke Parents' committee. McLendon highlighted what the university is doing to "create unique learning opportunities for our students." He listed several new faculty members he was recruiting: two Nobel laureates, a jazz performer, a musicologist, and an MRI expert. He said he concentrates on teachers, not researchers in recruitment, seeking "not the sage on the stage but the guide by the side. We want the best minds engaged with our students."
The DAA board began its formal meeting in the Thomas Center with reports by its president, Bill Miller '77; trustee and immediate past president Michelle Miller Sales '78, J.D. '81; and Alumni Affairs executive director Sterly Wilder '83. Miller reported on the success of Career Week and the possibility of incorporating a Career Center into a proposed Alumni Center as part of the Central Campus long-range improvement plan. Sales discussed the activities of the board of trustees' standing committees during meetings in December and February, reports from some of the schools, a tuition increase, approval of a student plaza adjacent to the Bryan Center, and the groundbreaking for a new building for the nursing school.
Wilder reported on the number of interviews conducted by Alumni Admissions Advisory Committees, the increase to a full scholarship for Alumni Endowed Undergraduate Scholars, and the outstanding attendance at club events for President Richard H. Brodhead across the nation.
The board then took part in the first of two strategic planning sessions led by consultant Carol O'Brien. That evening, a dinner at the new Fitzpatrick Center for Interdisciplinary Engineering, Medicine, and Applied Sciences featured comments from university leaders and Alumni Scholars.
The strategic planning session continued on Saturday, breaking for a lunch highlighted by speaker Kimerly Rorshach, the director of the Nasher Museum, which opens in October. The afternoon planning session was followed by a tailgate-style buffet and a televised viewing of the Duke women's basketball team playing in the ACC Tournament.