Brand New Diplomas
Commencement speakers emphasize adaptability, collaboration
More than 4,500 undergraduate, graduate, and professional-school students marched in to Wallace Wade Stadium on Sunday, May 15, for commencement ceremonies and walked out as the university's newest alumni. Also receiving diplomas (on July 4) were the first twenty-three students to earn medical degrees from the Duke-NUS medical school in Singapore, which was established in 2005.
Commencement speaker John Chambers, CEO of Cisco Systems, told students, "Do not be afraid to fail. Have the courage to take risks." He cited education, the Internet, and social media as the driving forces in today's world, and urged graduates to seek ways to embrace the fast-paced nature of the path ahead. "The only constant [in life] is change," Chambers said. "It's your ability with education and preparation to handle those changes that makes the difference."
Chambers, who attended Duke's Pratt School of Engineering from 1967 to 1968, presented the keynote address and received an honorary degree. Other honorary degree recipients were Rita Dove, former U.S. poet laureate and University of Virginia English professor; James B. Hunt, former four-term North Carolina governor; Alan C. Page, Hall of Fame football player, philanthropist, and Minnesota Supreme Court associate justice; Lisa Randall, theoretical physicist and Frank B. Baird Jr. Professor of science at Harvard University; Eric K. Shinseki A.M. '76, Secretary of Veterans Affairs; and Tan Chorch Chuan, president of the National University of Singapore.
In addition to Chambers' remarks, Duke Student Government president and student speaker Mike LeFevre '11 shared his thoughts about the cohesion of the graduating class and how such collaboration will serve them well in life beyond Duke.
The ceremony was one highlight of a weekend of commencement events across the campus. Speakers at other ceremonies ranged from W. Stacy Rhodes A.M. '81, chief of staff for the Peace Corps, who spoke to graduate students at the Sanford School of Public Policy, to Mike Lamach M.B.A. '01, CEO of Ingersoll Rand, who spoke at the Fuqua School of Business.
Detroit to Durham
Wagoner named new trustee chair
G. Richard Wagoner '75, former chairman and CEO of General Motors Corporation, is the new chair of Duke's board of trustees. He succeeds Dan Blue J.D. '73.
Wagoner joined GM in 1977 in its New York Treasurer's office; his subsequent positions included vice president of finance for GM Canada, vice president of finance for GM Europe, and president and managing director of GM Brazil. In 1992, he was promoted to executive vice president and CFO of GM. He was named president of GM North America in 1994 before assuming the roles of president and CEO in 2000, and then chairman and CEO in 2003.
Wagoner and his wife, Kathy Kaylor Wagoner '77, have three sons: George "Trip" Wagoner III '06, Scott Kaylor Wagoner B.S.E. '08, and William Matthew Wagoner '12. Kathy Wagoner serves on the Duke Alumni Association board of directors.
New judicial programs introduced
Duke School of Law is launching a master of laws program in judicial studies geared specifically to judges. The university also is launching a new Center for Judicial Studies, which will support academic research on the judiciary.
The LL.M. program will begin in the summer of 2012. Approximately ten to fifteen sitting judges will participate in intensive four- to six-week sessions over the course of two summers. The curriculum will include classes and seminars in which both judges and scholars look at the history, institutions, and processes that shape the judiciary and affect judicial decision- making. Program directors plan to admit several judges from foreign countries to facilitate comparative study of a variety of judicial systems.
The program will introduce judges to social-science research on the judiciary. Some judges have been dismissive of such research, and bringing judges together with scholars may help to break down tensions between them and researchers, according to law-school officials.
The Center for Judicial Studies, also housed in the law school, will sponsor conferences, publications, and education programs focused on the judiciary. It will promote research into the judiciary and look for ways to improve the functioning of the courts.
Sparking the Humanities
Mellon grant promotes innovation
A new endeavor aimed at changing the role of the humanities in the undergraduate curriculum is being funded with a five-year, $6 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
"The Humanities Writ Large" initiative will support visiting scholars and new faculty appointments, undergraduate research efforts, humanities labs, and interdisciplinary collaboration across departments and institutions.
The undertaking comes as American higher education continues to experience declining enrollments in the humanities. At the same time, public officials often bypass the humanities in highlighting science and technology as the key drivers to a competitive economy.
"This is as amazing and interesting a moment as any for the humanities, and we need to seize the opportunities before us with fresh eyes and think about many of the things that are making the world much closer," says the initiative's principal investigator, Srinivas Aravamudan, dean of the humanities and professor of English, literature, and Romance studies.
Previous Mellon Foundation grants to Duke have supported the Nasher Museum of Art, the Visual Studies Initiative, and the Duke Libraries.
Follow the Bouncing BallBasketball deepens Duke's international ties
Basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski is well-known to Chinese basketball fans, having led Team USA to a gold medal in the 2008 Olympics. He returns to China this August with another stellar team—his 2011-12 Blue Devil squad— as part of an international trip that also includes a stop in Dubai.
The team will play several exhibition matches, including one in Kunshan, China, a suburb of Shanghai and the location of a new Duke-affiliated campus expected to open in 2012. It will also play in Shanghai's Mercedes-Benz Arena, former home of the Shanghai World Expo Culture Center, and in Beijing's MasterCard Center, where Krzyzewski coached the national team to gold. A final game will be played in Dubai, one of the cities in which Duke's Fuqua School of Business has established a significant presence.
The trip was originally conceived to showcase not only Duke basketball, but also the university's business education, health, arts, civic engagement, and policy-oriented programs around the world. It also allows the basketball team to get in several preseason matches as it adjusts to the loss of three key players—Nolan Smith '11, Kyle Singler '11, and top NBA draft pick Kyrie Irving— and the arrival of four top recruits, including highly touted shooting guard Austin Rivers. NCAA rules allow preseason play if it occurs during overseas travel.
Along the way, the team will conduct youth basketball clinics in China and the United Arab Emirates, visit historic sites in China and Dubai's bustling business center, and participate in programs for alumni, prospective students, and the public.