DAA Winter Board Meeting

March 31, 2002

 

Women's basketball was the beginning and men's was the end when the board of the Duke Alumni Association gathered January 31 through February 2 for its winter meeting. Early arrivals were courtside in Cameron for the women's Duke-Georgia Tech game on Thursday, and TV-side later that evening to view a broadcast from the Dean Dome, where the Duke men walloped Carolina. The weekend concluded Saturday evening with a TV game-watching party with student leaders as Duke clobbered Clemson.

Speaking on Friday, Christoph Guttentag, director of undergraduate admissions, shared some good news with the group before the plenary session: The admissions office received a record number of applications--15,591 and counting, breaking the 15,120 record set in 1987. Regular applications increased 6 percent over last year, and there was a 22 percent increase in applications for early-decision applicants, those who are accepted in December and have to remove other schools from their consideration. Overall, applications came from 1,500 African-American students--a 14 percent increase over 2000; 850 Latinos; 150 Native Americans; and 2,800 Asian Americans. Internet applications were up, perhaps, said Guttentag, because this was the first year financial aid was offered to foreign students. And the number of North and South Carolina applicants increased by 22 percent.

After a presentation by associate director Bert Fisher '80 and Brady Wood '98, a contractor maintaining the DAA website www.dukealumni.com, and a showing of the campaign video "Outrageous Ambitions," four new members of the board were introduced. Serving two-year terms as at-large members are Jackie Hatch Howard B.S.E. '85, a past president of DUBAC (Duke University Black Alumni Connection), and Pat Dempsey Hammond '80, a former president of DUMAA (Duke University Metropolitan Alumni Association), who was on the DAA board in 1994-96. Serving on the Duke Magazine and Communications Committee as standing committee members are Fred Andrews '60 and Ann Pelham '74, both former Chronicle editors and current members of Duke Magazine's Editorial Advisory Board.

In his president's report, DAA president Gary Melchionni '73, J.D. '81 highlighted some of the Duke events he has attended: a reception for 1,400 alumni and friends before the Duke-Kentucky game on December 18; the groundbreaking on campus for the Nasher Museum of Art; and Founders' Day, when the Distinguished Alumni Award was presented to Edmund Pratt B.S.E. '47.

In her trustees' report, immediate past president Ruth Wade Ross '68 discussed some of the activities of the buildings and grounds committee, upon which she serves: a $120-million addition approved for the Pratt School of Engineering, additions approved for Perkins Library and the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, new space for Duke Stores and the Gothic Bookshop, and a reallocation of Bryan Center space for student groups. She also announced that, in December, the Campaign for Duke passed the $1.7-billion mark.

In his director's report, Alumni Affairs' director Laney Funderburk '60 informed the board about the DAA-sponsored Woman's College celebration weekend scheduled for November 8-10; the first Duke Magazine Campus Forum, with divinity professor Stanley Hauerwas; the semester-long "Twentieth-Century Lives" lecture series, co-sponsored by the association; February's Education Leadership Summit featuring past and present U.S. secretaries of education, a joint endeavor of the DAA and other departments; and the appointment of the new university archivist, Timothy Dwight Pyatt '81.

The plenary session adjourned for standing-committee meetings:

Alumni Admissions Committee Chair Sally Burks Schmalz '87 reported on the well-received Alumni Admissions Forum held in June 2001 in Santa Clara, California, the first held off campus. The West Coast instructional event for parents and students looking to college admissions will be held biennially, between the years of the biennial East Coast event on campus. She announced that sixty Alumni Admissions Advisory Committees that interview prospective Duke students now complete their forms online, and the AAAC handbook for leaders is now on a CD. The stipend of the Alumni Endowed Undergraduate Scholarship has been raised to $10,000 a year per recipient.

Alumni Education and Travel Chair Tom Clark '69 reported that his committee discussed the goals of the program, which has four sectors: Reunion Weekend (Duke Directions and Art Sparks), domestic weekend colleges (Marine Lab, Integrative Medicine, summer youth camps, and a writing academy for adults), lecture series (Twentieth-Century Lives), and travel (London Theater Week, alumni colleges abroad). The program wants to attract younger alumni, increase the quality of travel programming by being more selective, and achieve a higher visibility with students on campus. Goals include improving the website navigation in the travel and education section, attempting to track the correlation between program participation and donations, and moving toward online registration, online courses, and other programming.

Clubs Committee Chair Bill Miller '77 described a joint effort between clubs and the AAAC in which seven cities were targeted to coordinate student "accept" parties with a speaker. This would allow the younger alumni involved in club events to work with the older AAAC alumni and prospective students, which would provide a good mix for both programs. Club presidents and AAAC chairs will be coordinating efforts more closely. The Student Leadership Initiative has been put in place to identify student leaders and nurture them for future alumni leadership.

Duke Magazine and Communications Committee Chair Wilt Alston B.S.E. '81 reported on how the strategic plan's goals are being met. A "volunteer spotlight" article, modeled on the current mini-profile format, is in the works for the magazine. There was more discussion on class notes material being available online. Class pages on the DAA website are a good place for self-published, chattier news; those classes with upcoming reunions already have such a system in place. An online alumni directory is still in the testing stage with the contracted company, and an electronic newsletter is being evaluated for implementation.

Member Benefits and Services Committee activities were reported by DAA secretary Funderburk for committee chair Cedric Jones '82. He announced that the alumni office raises 60 percent of its operating revenue through its various programs and vendors. Discussions were held on expanding the group insurance program and increasing services for alumni through Duke's on-campus Career Center.

Reunions Committee Chair Michelle Miller Sales '78, J.D. '81 reported that ideas from marketing consultants have led to changes in Reunion publications, such as a preview booklet of events sent in December to classes having reunions in April. The full booklet with registration materials is mailed in February. For the first time, alumni were able to register online this year, including event selection and online payment, or they could print out a registration form to fax back to the alumni office. Another innovation allowed younger classes--1992 and 1997--a price break at Saturday's Big Dance if they came after the meal portion of the evening. Childcare was available this year for alumni with children.

The board meeting concluded with a luncheon that featured Larry Moneta, vice president for student affairs, as guest speaker. He talked mostly about residential-life changes, especially in light of the opening next fall of the West-Edens Link, and also addressed recent concerns about security on campus. Later that evening, board members attended an informal dinner at the Devil's Den, where, as a part of the Student Leadership Initiative, they watched Duke basketball with student leaders.