For her last Founders' Day ceremony as Duke's president, Nannerl O. Keohane was prepared to give the keynote address for the first time in her ten years at Duke. She wasn't prepared, however, to be presented with the University Medal, the university's highest honor.
Keohane was the surprise third recipient of the medal, joining Joe Pietrantoni, who recently retired as associate vice president for auxiliary services, and A. Morris Williams Jr. '62, M.A.T. '63, a trustee emeritus. The award recognizes individuals for years of exceptional service to the university.
Keohane, who announced in February that she will be stepping down as president in June 2004, used the keynote address to "briefly replay the tape in the opposite direction" and to look at what has changed at the university during her term as president. In reviewing the past decade, Keohane paid particular attention to Duke's accomplishments in establishing an international identity.
"One of the commitments I made in October 1993 was to lead our institution to a more certain awareness of what it means to be an international university," she said. "I believe we have made good on that. Duke has a stronger and more deliberately focused international presence, and the world is more fully reflected on our campus every day.
"There are robust new Duke clubs from Hong Kong to Santiago, and, despite the complexities of travel in the wake of September 11, 2001, the number of international applicants for study at Duke in every school has grown substantially. These international students and faculty members greatly enrich our institution with the perspectives they provide in the classroom and in our cultural activities."
"One of the things I have enjoyed most about this job has been getting to know and work with many people, in all the different jobs and pursuits that together define this immensely complex institution," she told the Founders' Day audience. "When you stop to think about it, it is amazing how many different complicated pieces go into making and sustaining a university every minute of every day. Around the core scholarly enterprise, thousands of people are facilitating, enriching, strengthening. The people in information technology, in student affairs and residence life, in research support and tech services, in athletics and the arts, at the nursing station and in the police cars, the library and the secretarial staff--all contribute to life here in ways that many of us too often take for granted."
Other honors were awarded in addition to the university medals. The Duke Alumni Association presented the Distinguished Alumni Award to James G. Dalton '44 and its Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching Award to Carol Flath, associate professor of the practice in the department of Slavic languages and literature. Duke's University Scholar/Teacher of the Year Award went to George Tauchen, the William Henry Glasson Professor of economics and professor of finance in the economics department. Florence E. Blakely, a former librarian at Perkins Library, who, in retirement, led the effort to create a library at Croasdaile Village retirement community in Durham, was honored with the Humanitarian Award.
Later, at a reception celebrating the tenth anniversary of her inauguration as Duke's president, Keohane was honored for her contributions to the study of ethics by the A.J. Fletcher Foundation and its president, James F. Goodmon, with a $1.33-million donation to the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke. The gift will be matched by an additional $670,000 from Duke's Nicholas Faculty Leadership Initiative to establish a $2-million endowment that will fund the Nannerl O. Keohane Directorship of the Kenan Institute for Ethics.
Goodmon, whose family has been in the broadcasting business in North Carolina since 1937, is also president and CEO of Capitol Broadcasting Company in Raleigh. Capitol Broadcasting is the owner of the Durham Bulls, and Goodmon has been the guiding force behind the development of Durham's American Tobacco campus, a $189-million project to revitalize Durham's downtown community.
The A.J. Fletcher Foundation is named for Goodmon's grandfather, Alfred Johnston Fletcher, who established it to support opera performance and education in North Carolina. The foundation's interests have expanded to include human services, illiteracy, and the health and well being of children.
In 1995, Keohane was instrumental in establishing the Kenan Ethics Program at Duke, with funding provided through a five-year grant from the William R. Kenan Jr. Fund for Ethics. The late Frank H. Kenan, then a trustee of the William R. Kenan Jr. Charitable Trust, sought to establish a university-based ethics program that would support the study and teaching of ethics and would develop and disseminate models for how institutions and communities can nurture personal integrity, reflective and productive citizenship, courage, and compassion.