Founders' Day

November 30, 2007
Enduring legacy: Founders' Day ceremonies included convocation

Enduring legacy: Founders' Day ceremonies included convocation. Photos by Butch Usury

Duke recognized the contributions of students, faculty members, administrators, and alumni at its 106th annual Founders' Day Convocation, held in Duke Chapel in September.

Enduring legacy: Founders' Day ceremonies included the presentation of university medals to Piva and Koskinen, top
Enduring legacy: Founders' Day ceremonies included the presentation of university medals to Piva and Koskinen, top

Enduring legacy: Founders' Day ceremonies included the presentation of university medals to Piva and Koskinen, top. Photos by Butch Usury

The convocation address was delivered by Clarence G. Newsome '72, M.Div '75, Ph.D. '82, a member of Duke's board of trustees and president of Shaw University in Raleigh. John A. Koskinen '61 and John J. Piva Jr., the longtime head of the university's development and alumni efforts, were awarded the University Medal for Distinguished Meritorious Service, one of Duke's highest honors.

Koskinen spent twenty-one years at the Palmieri Company, which specializes in restructuring large companies facing severe management challenges, and served as deputy director for management in the Office of Management and Budget under the Clinton administration. As the nation's "Y2K czar," Koskinen spearheaded efforts to protect computer systems from the so-called "millennium bug." He also served three years as deputy mayor and city administrator of the District of Columbia.

He became a Duke trustee in 1985, was elected board chair in 1994, and over the years served the university in many other capacities. In 1997, he received the Distinguished Service Award in Trusteeship from the Association of Governing Boards as the nation's top trustee. Koskinen and his wife, Patricia, established the Koskinen Scholarship Endowment Fund to support female student-athletes at Duke, and the refurbished soccer facility was later named Koskinen Stadium.

Piva came to Duke in January 1983 from the University of Chicago as vice president for alumni affairs and development; he was later promoted to senior vice president. In that role, he helped organize a fundraising campaign for the arts and sciences and engineering that netted $565 million, surpassing its $400 million goal. A second, more comprehensive Campaign for Duke got under way in the mid-1990s. The campaign's goal was $1.5 billion, but it ultimately raised $2.36 billion. At the time, it was one of the five largest fundraising efforts in the history of higher education. Piva retired from Duke in 2004.

Founders' Day also saw the bestowing of several other high honors. Peter M. and Ginny L. Nicholas, both 1964 graduates of the university, received the Distinguished Alumni Award, the highest award given by the Duke Alumni Association. Numerous faculty members were presented awards recognizing their accomplishments in teaching, mentoring, and research.

Those honored also included Angier B. Duke Scholars, Benjamin N. Duke Scholars, James B. Duke Graduate Fellows, Reginald Howard Scholars, University Scholars, Robertson Scholars, Faculty Scholars, The Duke Endowment Fellows, Baldwin Scholars, and many other undergraduate and graduate scholars.