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Take athletic-academic divide seriously
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Duke trustee donates $500K
BY EMILY COAKLEY : The Herald-Sun, Sep 28, 2006 : 8:52 pm ET
DURHAM -- Duke University announced Thursday that Robert King Steel, chairman of the Board of Trustees, has given the Duke-Durham Neighborhood Partnership $500,000.
"I've been impressed with what's happened with the partnership over the years," Steel said.
As a Durham native and Duke graduate, he said, the town and the university are two important affiliations for him. He's happy "to be able to bridge the two with one gift," he said.
The gift will be used for current efforts, as well as to help establish an endowment, Steel said.
The partnership efforts have been at the suggestion of the neighborhoods involved, said Richard Brodhead, president of Duke University. They include access to health care, education and neighborhood revitalization.
"These three things require continuing effort," Brodhead said. "It's wonderful Bob Steel gave us the means to do that."
A member of one of the partnership's 12 neighborhoods surrounding East and West campuses was happy to hear the news.
"I'm delighted to see that Duke's commitment to the partnership with neighborhoods extends to the highest levels of the university," said John Schelp, president of the Old West Durham Neighborhood Association.
Steel said a tour of Lyon Park and Walltown last year helped him to see the partnership's efforts, "and the excitement for what could be done with a little bit of help."
When asked whether he had priorities for the gift, he said he has a great deal of confidence in the partnership staff.
"I should just get out of the way and let them do what they are doing," Steel said.
The partnership dates back to 1996, and Steel's gift brings the amount the Duke-Durham Neighborhood Partnership has raised this year to nearly $1.5 million.*
This summer, the Duke Endowment awarded the partnership $527,500, and a campaign before that raised $412,000.
Steel is a former vice chairman of Goldman Sachs & Company. He teaches at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. He graduated from Duke in 1973.
* Durham Mayor Bell helped start this charity, acting as a paid consultant to Duke in 1996.