Duke Family Members, Top Teachers Honored During Founders' Day
DURHAM, N.C. - To commemorate the 75th anniversary of the
creation of Duke University, two members of the Duke family --
Dr. James H. Semans and trustee emeritus Anthony Drexel Duke --
received honorary degrees Thursday during the Founders' Day
Convocation in Duke Chapel.
Semans, a professor emeritus in Duke's department of surgery
who served on the Duke faculty for 28 years, has devoted much
of his life to the arts, cultural and health care organizations
and other charitable work. He is chairman of the Mary Duke
Biddle Foundation, established in the 1950s by his
mother-in-law to help fund charitable activities at Duke, in
North Carolina and New York. And along with his wife Mary,
Semans helped establish the N.C. School of the Arts in
Winston-Salem in the 1960s, served as chairman of the school's
board of trustees from 1964-81, and is still actively involved
with the school.
Anthony Duke, a grandson of Benjamin Duke, is founder and
president of Harbor for Boys and Girls in New York City. The
institute, which Anthony Duke started in the 1930s when he was
18 years old, has helped tens of thousands of inner-city
youngsters through after-school programs and at a weeks-long
summer camp. He served as a university trustee from
The principal speaker at the convocation was Mary Duke
Biddle Trent Semans, the granddaughter of Benjamin N. Duke,
chair of The Duke Endowment and a Duke alumna.
In remarks prepared for the convocation, Mary Semans said,
"Through the years, the Duke family members have felt close to
the university; and history plus Duke's magnetism have pulled
them toward it. All of us hope that the family's interest and
devotion have made a difference; but it is of great importance
that we remain faithful to its tradition of no interference. To
quote [historian] Dr. [Robert] Durden, 'One of the most
important attributes of Washington, Ben and J.B. [Duke] as
enablers or backers of Trinity and Duke was that they gave
generously and repeatedly but they never interfered with the
academic side of the institution.'
"The university's reputation for humanness through the years
has contributed to its special quality. This arose, of course,
from the smaller institution whose people knew each other well.
Realizing fully that as it spirals upward with its increased
size and individual relationships becoming more difficult, it
is not too much to hope that humanization will always be Duke's
goal - the affirmation of the work of the faculty and
employees, the ability to be heard by trusted people, the
assurance that the bureaucracy does not harm or become
pyramidal, and that Duke's traditional collegiality remain
intact. This has to continue to be a university that
Founders' Day at Duke is not only a time to recognize the
people who established the institution 75 years ago, but also
others who continue to build it through their work in the
classroom and in the research lab.
This year, the University Scholar/Teacher Award, the
university's highest teaching award, went to Dr. John Perfect,
department of medicine. The award was created in 1981 by the
Board of Higher Education and the Ministry of the United
Methodist Church to recognize outstanding faculty for their
dedication to and contributions in both teaching and
The winners this year of Trinity College Teaching Awards,
which recognize outstanding teachers in the humanities, social
sciences and natural sciences, were:
John Clum, department of English, who received the David and
Janet Brooks Award.
Gillian Einstein, department of neurobiology, who received
the Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching Award. Einstein
is no longer at Duke.
Guven Guzeldere, department of philosophy, who received the
Richard Lublin Award.
Michael Littman, department of computer science, who
received the Robert B. Cox Award.
Frederic Mayer, public policy studies, who received the
Howard D. Johnson Award.
In addition, two teaching awards were presented to graduate
students for excellence in teaching in arts and sciences. This
year's winners were Lara Taalman, department of mathematics and
Elizabeth Neidel, department of physics.
Special recognition also was given during the convocation
service to Angier B. Duke Scholars, Benjamin N. Duke Scholars,
James B. Duke Graduate Fellows, The Duke Endowment Scholars and
newly appointed members of the university's faculties.
Other public activities taking place during Founders' Day
At 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 2, in front of Baldwin
Auditorium on East Campus, a bronze statue of Benjamin N. Duke
will be unveiled. Benjamin Duke, the son of Washington Duke and
older brother of James B. Duke, served longer than any other
member of the Duke family on the school's board of trustees,
and his consistent, behind-the-scenes efforts to build and
strengthen Trinity College into a strong liberal arts
institution set the stage for the creation of Duke University
At 11 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 3, the Founders' Day Service of
Worship will be held in Duke Chapel. A Remembrance of
University Founders service will begin 15 minutes earlier in
the memorial chapel next to the main worship area.