In Brief: January-February 2008

January 31, 2008
  • Peter Agre, a 2003 Nobel Prize winner in chemistry, will return to the Johns Hopkins University to lead its Malaria Research Institute after serving for two years as vice chancellor for science and technology at Duke Medical Center. Earlier this year, Agre publicly considered running for the U.S. Senate from Minnesota, but decided against the run.
  • U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel A. Alito will serve as one of three judges for the final round of the Duke Law School Dean's Cup Moot Court competition for second- and third-year students in February.
  • Kristin Butler, a senior, has been named the 2007 winner of the Melcher Family Award for Excellence in Journalism. The award, sponsored by the Terry Sanford Institute's DeWitt Wallace Center for Media and Democracy, recognizes the best published article by a Duke undergraduate. Butler was honored for an opinion column in The Chronicle that focused on how patients lacking health insurance typically are billed at higher rates at the Duke University Health System and elsewhere.
  • David Fitzpatrick Ph.D. '82, professor of neurobiology, was named director of the new interdisciplinary Institute for Brain, Mind, Genes, and Behavior. The institute, an outgrowth of the university's latest strategic plan, addresses the fact that research into brain function is now spread across a number of units on campus.
  • Carlisle Howard has retired after twenty-one years as director of Duke's International House.
  • Richard F. Kay, professor of biological anthropology and anatomy; Bruce H. Corliss, professor of earth and ocean sciences; and Larry B. Crowder, Stephen Toth Professor of marine biology were elected fellows of the prestigious American Association for the Advancement of Science.
  • Barbara Kingsolver, a novelist, essayist, and non-fiction and short-story writer, has been selected to deliver Duke's 2008 commencement address on Sunday, May 11. Kingsolver was previously a keynote speaker at the North Carolina Festival of the Book held at Duke and in Durham in 2006. Her daughter, Camille, is a Duke junior.
  • Donna Lisker, director of the Women's Center and co-director of the Baldwin Scholars program, has been named associate dean of undergraduate education.
  • Ted Roof, Duke's head football coach, has been fired. Roof compiled a record of 6-45 since taking over from Carl Franks '83 in 2003. When hired, Roof predicted that he would need five years to turn the Duke program around—a time frame supported by many football analysts. But Joe Alleva, athletics director, said in a press conference that he had not seen enough progress on the field. Duke has had nine head coaches in the last four decades; just one, Steve Spurrier, has left with a winning record.
  • Robert Thompson will step down from his post as dean of Trinity College of Arts and Sciences on August 1 to return to teaching. He holds appointments in the departments of psychology and neuroscience, psychiatry and behavioral sciences, and pediatrics. He became dean of undergraduate affairs in 1997, dean of Trinity College in 1999, and vice provost for undergraduate education in 2004.
  • Tuan Vo-Dinh, R. Eugene and Susie E. Goodson professor of biomedical engineering and director of the Fitzpatrick Institute for Photonics, was ranked forty-third on a list of the world's top 100 living geniuses compiled by Creators Synectics, a global consulting firm, and published in Britain's Daily Telegraph. Rankings were based on a composite score from several categories, including paradigm shifting, popular acclaim, intellectual power, cultural importance, and achievement. Vo-Dinh tied with Bill Gates, Muhammad Ali, Osama bin Laden, inventor James West, and author Philip Roth.
  • Gen. Anthony Zinni, USMC (Ret.), former head of the U.S. Central Command, will serve as distinguished lecturer in residence at the Terry Sanford Institute of Public Policy this spring. He is teaching an undergraduate course, "Leading in a New World."
  • DUMAC, which manages Duke's endowment and other investment assets, achieved a return of 25.6 percent on the university's investments in the past fiscal year. DUMAC's annual return was the third highest among the twenty-five large U.S. university endowments with which it typically compares its performance, based on preliminary data. The investment returns and new gifts to the university's endowment brought its market value to $5.9 billion.