The fall meeting of the board of directors of the Duke Alumni Association (DAA), held in November, featured the beginning of a strategic-planning document for the association that will be finalized by the end of 2005 and an "upgrade" of the Alumni Endowed Undergraduate Scholarship to a full scholarship. It was also the end of an era, the last board meeting for Laney Funderburk '60, director of Alumni Affairs, who retired in December after twenty-two years.
The meeting was called to order by DAA President Bill Miller '77, who introduced Sheila Curran, director of Duke's Career Center. Curran explained the center's partnership with Alumni Affairs. She introduced Racquel Williams, the center's assistant director, who presented details of Career Week 2005. This second annual event, sponsored in part by DAA, brings students and alumni together to discuss jobs and expectations in the working world.
Following the report, a panel of undergraduates discussed Summer of Service 2005, a program designed to provide students with service-based internships in cities across the country. The panel is seeking families to host students for six weeks during the summer while they work with nonprofit groups that benefit local communities. Two students will be selected for a pilot program set in Washington and New York.
After the executive committee introduced new members to the board, Miller gave the president's report. He discussed transitions at Duke, from leadership to campus building projects to the changing demographic of the alumni body. Currently, about half of Duke's new graduates are from the graduate and professional schools and a third are from a minority group. And the mean age of alumni is getting younger--all factors that will challenge the alumni association as it begins its strategic planning during 2005.
Immediate Past President Michele Miller Sales '78, J.D. '81, who serves ex officio as a voting member on the board of trustees, gave the alumni trustee's report. She explained the membership and committee structure of the board of trustees, and covered some topics the board had discussed. Her impression, she said, is that, over the next few years, the emphasis will be on financial aid and "meeting full financial need"; undergraduate life, particularly for seniors; and the social experience of students, which will be considered in plans to revamp and enhance Central Campus--its landscape, housing, and services--to create a stronger sense of community.
Funderburk, in his director's report, announced that Carole Thompson LeVine '86 is now the full-time assistant director of Alumni Affairs, overseeing Alumni Admissions Advisory Committees (AAAC) and alumni-endowed scholarships. Also, Kim Hanauer '02 is the new reunions coordinator. Reflecting on his years as director, Funderburk said that "for the alumni association to prosper, Duke must prosper. For the alumni association to serve its alumni in the best possible ways, it must also serve Duke."
The group adjourned to the Sanford Institute of Public Policy for presentations by alumni program directors on the last strategic plan, as well as some challenges for the future. That evening, President Richard H. Brodhead was guest speaker at a reception and dinner for the board and guests, including several of the current alumni scholars. On Saturday morning, different program areas broke out into small groups, moderated by DAA executive committee chairs, to begin the first stage of developing a strategic plan for the next five years.
The board reconvened, and the chair of each group presented a summary of their discussions. Sterly Wilder '83, who succeeds Funderburk as executive director for Alumni Affairs, presented a timeline for rolling out the strategic plan before it is presented for approval by Duke trustees in December 2005.
LeVine, AAAC program director, recommended to the DAA board that it change the terms of alumni scholarships to provide more incentives and prestige to the award. The board passed an amendment to offer Alumni Endowed Undergraduate Scholarship as a four-year, full-tuition scholarship with a summer-abroad component.
President Miller adjourned the meeting before lunch and an afternoon comprising a campus bus tour led by Tallman Trask, the university's executive vice president, and a tour of the new CIEMAS building, led by John Means B.S.E. '02, project engineer for Skansa USA.