Sterly L. Wilder '83, the director of annual giving for Duke since 1992, has been named executive director of alumni affairs. Wilder, who assumes her new responsibilities January 1, is the first woman to lead Duke's alumni office. She succeeds Laney Funderburk '60, who announced in April that he would retire after leading Duke's alumni operations for twenty-two years. Wilder will work with an alumni body of 120,000, overseeing a staff of twenty-six and a budget of more than $4.2 million.
"Through her work with our alumni classes over the years, Sterly knows the issues that interest and matter to our alumni," says Robert F. Shepard, vice president for alumni affairs and development. "She has a remarkable talent for making them excited about what the university is doing and always has been an honest broker, giving feedback to the university about issues of concern to our alumni."
After graduating from Duke as a political-science major, Wilder joined the university development office, where she earned a series of promotions. In her current position, she manages ten professional staff members and works closely with the alumni leaders of annual reunion classes as well as with major donors to the university. She led the development of a strategic plan for Duke's annual fund, restructured reunion giving, and established successful programs for parents and students. "Duke's Parents Program is widely recognized as a national leader," Shepard says.
Wilder grew up in a Duke family. Her father, Pelham Wilder Jr., was a chemistry professor at the university for more than fifty years and also served for many years as university marshal, until retiring in 2000. Her brother, Pelham III, is a 1973 Duke graduate, and her nephew, Pelham IV, is a senior at Duke.
Besides her administrative work in the development office, Wilder is a pre-major adviser to undergraduates and is assistant university marshal, helping plan presidential inaugurations and commencement ceremonies. She helps organize her class reunions, is a board member of the Duke Club of the Triangle, and volunteers as a member of the Alumni Admissions Advisory Committee, which interviews prospective students.
Within the Durham community, Wilder is a member and former chair of the alumni council of Durham Academy, a local prep school. She is also a member and former president of the board of Ronald McDonald House, and serves on the board of Visions of Tomorrow CDC of the St. James Family Life Center in Walltown.
Nationally, Wilder is active in the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), through which she has advised other universities on a variety of alumni and development programs.
"We had an outstanding group of more than thirty applicants for this position," says Harold "Spike" Yoh Jr. B.S.M.E. '58, former chair of Duke's board of trustees, who led the search committee that recommended Wilder's appointment. "The alumni director is the university's main point of contact with a large and diverse group of people around the globe who care deeply about Duke. We have every confidence that Sterly will inspire and lead them in new directions. She'll make people proud to be associated with Duke."
Wilder Named Alumni Director
November 30, 2004