Moyle, the Duke Alumni Association’s new board president, majored in political science and history at Duke and received an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. He is the owner and chairman of Shindigz, one of the world’s largest Internet party suppliers. During his time at Duke, Moyle served as student-body president during his sophomore year and worked as a columnist for The Chronicle. Here, he talks about his journey through Duke and his new board role.
Sterly Wilder: I know you to be an energetic and tenacious person. Where does that come from? What keeps you going?
Shep Moyle: Former Duke president Terry Sanford taught me that no matter what mountain you climb, there’s another mountain waiting for you. I first met President Sanford as a Chronicle reporter, and then I worked with him as student-body president during my sophomore year. He became one of the great mentors in my life. During my senior year, he invited me to his home for breakfast on Sunday mornings. He would cook me country sausage and eggs, and then regale me with stories of politics and about leading a university. From him, I learned that it is incumbent for all of us to leave the world a little better than when we found it.
SW: What are some of the memorable ways Duke formed you and prepared you as a leader?
SM: My first experience with The Chronicle covering the Ku Klux Klan in North Carolina taught me that there are a wide variety of beliefs and opinions in the world, and we have to work to effect positive change. One of the Chronicle editors at the time, Rob Satloff (’83), invited me to go along with him as a photographer. As we began the interview, armed Klansmen in Nazi uniforms accused rob of being Jewish and held him in my car for several hours. Rob turned the interview over to me for the next two hours, and I interviewed the leader, Glenn Miller. I sat at gunpoint for the first time in my life. Afterward, rob and I wrote a story that ultimately went national on the Associated Press wires.
The experience impacted me deeply because I had not been exposed to that type of hatred and racism. It led me to chair the first task force on race relations, which my fellow classmate Porter Durham (’83, J.D.’85) established. The task force, formed of white and black students, looked at the challenges black students at Duke faced. We presented our findings to the board of trustees, and that led to some of the first faculty hiring initiatives to bring about more diversity at Duke. I feel that if we identify a problem, it’s our responsibility to do something about it and to take action.
When the news broke this past April that Miller was involved in the shooting of Jewish bystanders in Kansas City, it reminded me we all still have work to do in challenging racism. We as a university still have work to do. And that is why one of our primary priorities within the Duke Alumni Association is to embrace and to cultivate diversity.
SW: You are the DAA board president for 2014-16. Where do you hope to see Duke and its more than 150,000 alumni two years from now?
SM: My goal is to create the most active, engaged, and connected alumni in the world through the new DukeAlumni.com network. Alumni around the world can easily and organically connect with each other and all of Duke’s incredible resources. We have alumni who are doing amazing things every day and can pass those experiences on to others in our network. If that happens through DukeAlumni.com, then we’ll have success.
SW: What are the ways you envision alumni furthering the success of Duke?
SM: The best thing they can do is reach out to other Duke alums and share their advice and experiences. The Duke experience is not always an event for 500 people. It’s two Dukies getting together, sharing their knowledge, and relying on the Duke family to help them solve problems and provide opportunities for others.
SW: As the CEO of one of the world’s largest Internet party suppliers, you have to tell me: Where is the best spot on campus to celebrate?
SM: Besides the B.O.G. (Bunch of Guys dorm) commons room, the Sarah P. Duke Gardens.