Four alumni--a divinity school dean, a research scientist, an aspiring teacher, and a recent graduate--have been elected to Duke's board of trustees. Clarence "C.G." Newsome '72, M.Div. '75, Ph.D. '82; Wilton D. Alston B.S.E. '81; Tomalei J. Vess Ph.D. '02; and Sara R. Elrod '02 began their first terms on the thirty-seven-member board.
During Newsome's tenure as dean of the divinity school at Howard University, the school has increased its enrollment by 50 percent and developed one of the most advanced distance-education programs in higher education. Newsome has served on several major committees of the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada, and is a member and past president of the Society of Black Religion, a think tank of scholars engaged in studying the religious experience of African Americans.
Newsome was a member of the Duke Divinity School faculty for eight years. He now serves on the divinity school's board of visitors and has been a member of the Duke Alumni Association's board of directors. While an undergraduate, he lettered in football and was twice named to the ACC All-Academic Team. He delivered the student commencement address in 1972. During his doctoral studies, he received a number of awards, including the prestigious James B. Duke Dissertation Year Fellowship. He lives in Columbia, Maryland.
Alston, incoming president of the Duke Alumni Association, earned his degree in biomedical engineering. As DAA president, Alston will be a nonvoting member during his first year on the board, and a voting member thereafter. He is a principal research scientist for the Battelle Memorial Institute, where he works in the transportation safety division. He is the holder of two patents, one for an apparatus that precisely dispenses solid materials, and the other for a method to meter biological fluids.
He is a past president of the Duke University Black Alumni Connection, and has served on the board of the DAA since 1995. A resident of Rochester, New York, he has a record in community service including participating in school-based science, math, and engineering programs and working with Habitat for Humanity.
Vess, who lives in Durham, plans to begin teaching science at a local high school or college in the fall. Her doctorate is in biology. During her time at Duke, she was president of the Graduate and Professional Student Council. Active in science-education projects in the Durham schools and community, she earned the William J. Griffith University Service Award. Her graduate work, which focused on lady beetles, was presented at several national scientific meetings.
Elrod lives in Edgewood, Kentucky, where she is a first-year law student at the University of Kentucky. Selected as "young trustee," she serves a three-year term: as a nonvoting member the first year and a voting member the following two. While at Duke, she was a legislator to Duke Student Government, a representative to the trustees' Buildings and Grounds Committee, a representative to the Athletic Council, and a student marshal. As a President's Research Fellow during her four years at Duke, Elrod examined issues of parliamentary devolution and the peace process in Northern Ireland, as well as the design and execution of the Scottish Parliament. During the summer of 2001, she was an intern in the U.S. State Department's Bureau of European Affairs.