Sanford Center Dedicates Rubenstein Hall

January 31, 2006

Powell point: former Secretary of State addresses leadership qualities

 Powell point: former Secretary of State addresses leadership qualities. Photos: Chris Hildreth

Rubenstein Hall, a second building at the Terry Sanford Institute of Public Policy complex, was dedicated November 4 in a celebration underscored by a focus on the future: University officials spoke publicly for the first time about creating a new school of public policy.

The $12-million Rubenstein Hall, which opened in August, houses technologically up-to-date classrooms, computer labs, a resource room, and on-campus space for the institute's growing research centers.

At the dedication ceremony, administrators thanked Duke trustee David M. Rubenstein '70 for his $5-million gift to the project. Rubenstein, in turn, thanked the anonymous Duke admissions officer who admitted him forty years ago, as well as university officials who provided financial aid so he could enroll. "Tuition was $2,000 a year then, but it seemed like $200,000 to me," he said.

Rubenstein, who heads a leading private-equity firm, said he hopes his contributions encourage more students to study public policy and spend time in public service. The day of festivities also included a late-afternoon speech by General Colin L. Powell. Powell, former U.S. Secretary of State, spoke to a crowd of more than a thousand students, alumni, administrators, and local residents about the importance of developing service and leadership qualities. He described his own rise from underachieving high-school student, and talked about the U.S.'s role as a world leader.

A task force appointed by Provost Peter Lange recommended last fall that Duke take steps to create a school of public policy. Duke's public-policy program is the only top-ten policy program in the nation that is not supported by a school structure.

Lange said such a structure would offer the institute an opportunity for "greater autonomy and expanded ambitions," while allowing it to "remain deeply integrated with the rest of the university." He noted that "hurdles to be overcome remain," including financing the school and resolving complex administrative issues.