Endowment Enhancements

June 1, 2004

The Duke Endowment has awarded more than $20 million to the university to support a number of priorities, including an expansion of the School of Nursing and its programs, the growth of interdisciplinary science initiatives, and improvements to Perkins Library.

The gifts, which came in December, were counted toward the Campaign for Duke, which concluded December 31 with a total of $2.36 billion, the fifth-largest campaign in American higher-education history and the largest for a university in the South. The Charlotte-based Endowment's support of the campaign totaled more than $300 million.

The Duke Endowment's latest contribution includes $1 million for the School of Nursing, with a plan to provide an additional $2 million by 2005. The money will be used to support a new building adjacent to the Duke Clinic on Trent Drive, behind the nursing school's current facilities.

Duke's board of trustees approved the scope of the new building in February 2003. The School of Nursing has grown dramatically since the early 1990s, from five faculty members then to thirty-eight today, with the student population growing at a similarly rapid pace. The school added an accelerated bachelor's program in 2002 and has extended its reach through distance education.

On the Medical Center side, Duke received more than $7 million, in eighteen separate allocations, from the Endowment last year. In addition to the nursing-school gift, funded programs included the Albert Eye Research Institute, which was awarded $1 million, and a patient-safety initiative, which was awarded $696,000.

The Endowment also awarded $6 million for an undergraduate science initiative, bringing the Endowment's total support for this effort to $13 million. The science initiative, with the French Sciences Center at the core, will allow Duke to promote close interaction among the disciplines of biology, chemistry, physics, biological anthropology and anatomy, mathematics, and the computational sciences. It will also create new opportunities for teaching and research in the interdisciplinary fields that are emerging throughout the natural sciences, such as genomics, nanoscience, chemical biology, and evolutionary and developmental biology.

The French Sciences Center, whose design was approved by trustees in December, is a $115-million facility expected to be completed in 2006. Strengthening the sciences and engineering, as well as promoting interdisciplinary programs, are among the priorities of "Building on Excellence," Duke's strategic plan.

Another $6-million gift, to Perkins Library, will support the creation of the new Information Commons, a centralized public-service area. The Information Commons area will serve as the hub of activity at the library. The addition of an Information Commons is part of a $55-million project to renovate the existing library space and add adjacent to Perkins a new building, the Bostock Library. Construction is under way and is being done in phases so the library can remain open.

The Endowment will provide $1 million to support the Center for Genome Ethics, Law, and Policy (GELP). That gift will be used toward programming and endowment. This is the Endowment's fourth such grant to GELP.

The Endowment gift also includes $500,000 for the Duke-Durham Neighborhood Partnership. Over the past six years, the Endowment has given the neighborhood partnership more than $3 million to support nonprofit organizations and other community organizations addressing needs identified by partner neighborhoods. The current contribution will support affordable-housing initiatives, youth programming, and nonprofits in the West End and Walltown neighborhoods. It will also support the Duke Law School's Community Economic Development Clinic to provide legal services to nonprofits in Southwest Central Durham.

An additional $200,000 will encourage collaboration among the four libraries of schools supported by the Endowment: Furman and Johnson C. Smith universities, Davidson College and Duke.

Finally, $10,000 will be awarded to commemorate the legacy of President William Preston Few, who was president of Trinity College from 1910 to 1924 and president of Duke University from 1924 to 1940. Few's accomplishments included overseeing the transformation of Trinity College into Duke University, as well as supporting the creation of The Duke Endowment. The $10,000 gift is meant to inspire the Duke community to remember Few with the creation and installation of a physical likeness of Few in the Allen Building.

At an early-February "Campaign Celebration" with officials of The Duke Endowment, President Nannerl O. Keohane said, "During my tenure at Duke, we have presented The Duke Endowment with projects of the utmost intellectual, medical, pastoral, and educational importance to the university. Over and over you became a strategic investor, a partner who understood our vision, often in the early days of a new project when to the outside world it looked inchoate, daring, and risky. But you, of course, are not outsiders: We've been in this together since 1924."

"Though the realm of The Duke Endowment is nominally confined to the Carolinas, the impact of The Duke Endowment is worldwide," Keohane added. "Wherever the university has an outpost, a collaboration, an alumnus, there your influence is felt. When our faculty experts are called upon to predict an earthquake in Taiwan, tap geothermal energy in Africa, testify in Washington, or organize a clinic in India, The Duke Endowment, its values and message, are there as well."

The Duke Endowment was started in 1924 by industrialist, philanthropist, and Duke University founder James B. Duke. Today, it is one of the nation's largest foundations.