Founders' Day Honors

November 30, 2005

Duke honored outstanding students, faculty members, employees, and alumni at its annual Founders' Day Convocation in Duke Chapel. Honorees included physician and human-rights activist Paul E. Farmer '82, former university archivist William E. King '61, A.M. '63, Ph.D. '70, and Ambassador Robin Chandler Duke.

During his address, President Richard H. Brodhead spoke to Duke's history. He described two artifacts that adorn the walls of his office. On one, he said, is "a photo of a big locomotive belching steam as it plows its way through a massive construction site. That site is now the West Campus." On the other is "the letter in which William Preston Few outlined a vision of Trinity College transformed into a great and comprehensive university," he said. "Next to it, I've framed James B. Duke's curt and peremptory telegram: Send me the plans."

Rejuvenated: President Brodhead, with Mary Duke Biddle Trent Semans '39 and Duke Endowment board chair Russell M. Robinson II '54, unveil newly cleaned J.B. Duke statue

 Rejuvenated: President Brodhead, with Mary Duke Biddle Trent Semans '39 and Duke Endowment board chair Russell M. Robinson II '54, unveil newly cleaned J.B. Duke statue Photo: Chris Hildreth


University Medalist: King, Duke archivist
University Medalist: King, Duke archivist Photo: Chris Hildreth

Brodhead used that exchange to demonstrate the importance that collaboration has played and continues to play in the growth of the university. "We are not yet done founding this university," he said. "Virtually every week, we are dedicating a new center or building and opening new opportunities for inquiry, exploration, and education.

"We remember that it is still capable of being built, through the labor of living men and women, toward greater visions of what a university can be. This university was founded to put intelligence to human use, not in a narrow sense, but in a way that draws on all our capacities and speaks to all our needs."

That sense of preserving and building on tradition was evident as King, Duke's first archivist, was presented the University Medal for Distinguished Meritorious Service--the university's highest award--for his thirty years of service to Duke. In 1972, President Terry Sanford tapped King to create and oversee the university's archives. King stepped down in 2002.

Farmer, a physician who has pioneered community-based AIDS and tuberculosis treatment for poor people in Haiti, Russia, Rwanda, and Peru, received the Duke Alumni Association's Distinguished Alumni Award. He is co-founder of Partners In Health, an international charity organization that provides direct health-care services, undertakes research, and advocates for those who are sick and living in poverty. A professor of anthropology at Harvard Medical School, he also maintains a practice at Clinique Bon Saveur, a charity hospital he helped found in Haiti, and is assisting Duke with a university-wide global-health initiative.

Robin Chandler Duke, ambassador to Norway during the Clinton administration and the widow of Angier Biddle Duke, was awarded an honorary degree. Angier Biddle Duke, who also served as a U.S. ambassador, was the great-grandson of university namesake Washington Duke. An international activist in causes connected with family planning and women's rights, Robin Duke served as national co-chair of Population Action International, president of the National Abortion Rights Action League, and director of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. She has worked on the boards of numerous social-action and education organizations, including the Worldwatch Institute, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and the United Nations Association. She chaired the U.S. delegation for the UNESCO conference in Belgrade and was vice chair of the Institute on International Education.

The Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching Award, also sponsored by the alumni association, was presented to Connel R. Fullenkamp, a visiting associate professor in the economics department, where he developed an undergraduate course on the essentials of finance. Philip Costanzo, professor of psychology and associate director of the Center for Child and Family Policy in the Sanford Institute of Public Policy, was awarded the University Scholar/

Teacher of the Year Award, given by the Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church. His research focuses on the development of children's ideas and beliefs about the social environment, how social-cognitive biases develop in the family context, and the social and psychological concomitants of eating disorders.

Others honored during the service included winners of various faculty teaching prizes, as well as 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, and other undergraduate and graduate scholars.

The Founders' Day celebration also featured the unveiling of a rejuvenated statue of university benefactor James B. Duke, which usually stands on a stone pedestal in front of Duke Chapel, but had spent the last four-and-a-half months in Cincinnati, being cleaned.