In Brief: September-October 2007

October 1, 2007
  • Joe Alleva, a key campus figure in the lacrosse incident, has been reappointed director of athletics. The reappointment followed a regular review process that is undergone by deans and senior administrators every five years. The review committee is made up of trustees, faculty members, and alumni, including former athletes. Alleva has worked in the athletics department since 1980 and became athletics director in 1998.
  • Owen Astrachan M.A.T. '79, Ph.D. '92, professor of the practice of computer science, has been named one of two inaugural National Science Foundation Computer and Information Science and Engineering Distinguished Education Fellows. The award is intended to help transform undergraduate computing education in the U.S. Astrachan will receive $250,000 over two years to develop his solution to what the federal science agency sees as a national shortcoming. He says he plans to use the funding to promote "problem-based learning" as a way to revitalize how computer science is taught.
  • Robert J. Lefkowitz, James B. Duke Professor of medicine and biochemistry, was one of four winners of a 2007 Shaw Prize. He was honored in the life science and medicine category. The $1 million prizes—known informally as the "Nobels of the East"—are awarded by the Shaw Prize Foundation in Hong Kong for achievement in academic and scientific research. Lefkowitz's award recognized his research into the receptor system that controls the body's response to drugs and hormones.
  • John Rennie, head coach of the men's soccer team, will retire at the end of the 2007 season. He was hired in 1979 after six seasons at Columbia University. During his tenure, he built Duke into one of the elite programs in the country, leading his teams to winning records in twenty-six of his twenty-eight seasons to date. He has taken Duke to the NCAA tournament nineteen times. His 1986 team won Duke's first national championship in any sport. At the start of the season, Rennie had 443 career wins, 399 of which came at Duke, ranking him sixth in career victories in Division I history. He took home National Coach of the Year honors in 1982, and was named ACC Coach of the Year five times. Rennie founded and directs the Duke Soccer Camp, one of the most highly regarded in the nation.
  • O.D. Vincent was named head coach of the men's golf team. Over the past five seasons, Vincent has guided the men's golf team at the University of California at Los Angeles to two Pac-10 conference championships and four top-10 NCAA Championship finishes. He was named National Coach of the Year by the Golf Coaches Association of America in 1999, while coaching at his alma mater, the University of Washington, where he was an All-American as a player. Vincent replaces Rod Myers, who died in March. Myers coached at Duke for thirty-four seasons. Brad Sparling served as the program's interim head coach through the spring semester.
  • President Richard H. Brodhead signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment. By signing the commitment, Duke is joining more than 300 other schools in pledging to eliminate the campus' greenhouse-gas emissions over time and integrate sustainability into students' educational experience.
  • Duke has approved the launch of a Peace Corps Fellows program at the Fuqua School of Business. Fuqua is the newest member of a national consortium of graduate programs, including the Terry Sanford Institute of Public Policy, that recruit and support returned Peace Corps volunteers who wish to pursue advanced degrees. Beginning this fall, the program is providing scholarships to selected former corps members enrolled in the M.B.A. program. The fellows receive a 25 percent tuition discount in return for agreeing to carry out community-service projects in Durham during the school year.
  • Duke received $380,059,931 in philanthropic gifts between July 1, 2006, and June 30, 2007, eclipsing by approximately 11 percent the previous year's record total of $341.9 million. Gifts came from some 98,000 donors, nearly 41,000 of them Duke alumni. The Duke Endowment, the Charlotte-based charitable trust created by university founder James B. Duke, was the university's single largest donor, giving $74.7 million. More than $80 million of the total was directed to support student scholarships, the great majority for Duke's Financial Aid Initiative, which has achieved about three-quarters of its $300 million goal for new scholarship endowment.