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.
NCCU musing advisory board
By EMILY COAKLEY : The Herald-Sun, Sep 27, 2006 : 7:55 pm ET
DURHAM -- A new advisory board could be in N.C. Central University's future.
NCCU's trustees discussed the possibility Wednesday of forming a board of visitors, and Chancellor James Ammons said he hopes the administration can make a recommendation to the trustees by the end of the academic year.
The board of visitors concept grew from discussions about how NCCU operates, Ammons said. It's possible such a board could act as advisers, supporting a number of university functions.
"We're looking at various models," Ammons said.
NCCU officials have been exploring the idea since the summer.
The issue arose Wednesday after trustee Eric Michaux said a memo he received from UNC suggested that asking some people to be trustees emeritus could pose a perceived conflict of interest.
Leslie Winner, vice president and general counsel for UNC, said NCCU representatives asked her last week whether it would be proper to ask members of the UNC Board of Governors or General Assembly to be trustees emeritus.
Winner said it was not implied that anyone had done anything wrong. But she said she believed that asking a Board of Governors member to become a trustee emeritus or member of an individual campus' advisory board went against the spirit of the policies.
Also, the state statutes that created the university system mention a long list of people who should not be trustees, including members of the General Assembly, she said.
Winner's response wasn't what Michaux was looking for.
"I'm just extremely disappointed. It certainly hampers schools like Central from gaining support from people who understand the school and what it needs," Michaux said after the meeting.
A trustee emeritus could help the university in many ways, including fundraising, he said. The university will soon embark on a centennial campaign.
"We're going to need this help. We're going to need this support out there," Michaux said at the meeting.
Emeritus status, he added, already has been bestowed on some.
Taken to an extreme, Michaux said, he's concerned that someone would have to choose trustee emeritus status over serving in the Legislature or on the Board of Governors, and he's worried about the effect that could have on NCCU.
Trustee Travis Porter asked whether officials had considered forming a board of visitors -- a body that wouldn't necessarily have any power, but would act in an advisory capacity.
"In some institutions they're very active," Porter said.
Also Wednesday, NCCU celebrated its 96th anniversary with a program that included a speech from Suzan Johnson Cook, author of "Too Blessed to be Stressed: Words of Wisdom for Women on the Move."
Cook, also pastor of Bronx Community Church, has a new book, "Live Like You're Blessed: Simple Steps for Making Balance, Love, Energy, Spirit, Success Encouragement and Devotion Part of Your Life." She explained how each of those fits into life.
She offered the audience several pieces of advice for leading a more blessed life.
"Be careful who you let in your life, and be careful what you put in your body," Cook said.*
Cook told students to have self-respect and to love themselves. When you honor yourself, she said, invitations will come from people who want to be in your presence.
"Go where you're celebrated, not where you're tolerated," she said.
* Let's not forget about the other school in town.