The Board of Trustees formally signed off on Duke’s second major capital campaign.
During its weekend meeting, the Board approved a resolution to raise $3.25 billion by June 30, 2017 through Duke Forward: Partnering for the Future, the University’s largest fundraising effort to date. The campaign began July 2010 in a silent phase that raised more than $1.3 billion, contributing about 40 percent of the total goal. In addition, the Trustees heard an update on the University’s endowment and its investment return, which came in at 1 percent during the most recent fiscal year.
Prior to the approval of the campaign, feedback from the Trustees and other alumni helped determine the size and scope of the goal, given economic uncertainty around the world, Board Chair Richard Wagoner, Trinity ’75, said.
“We have a huge opportunity to grow our interdisciplinary programs—it was important to have a good base,” Wagoner said.
Wagoner and President Richard Brodhead kicked off the campaign Saturday afternoon in a presentation attended by several hundred donors to the University. Brodhead noted that the conversations about a major capital campaign began in early 2007. Following the 2009 recession, the deans of Duke’s 10 schools prioritized collaboration and interdisciplinary programs as ways to improve the University’s academics. The focus on interdisciplinary programs distinguishes Duke Forward from its only predecessor, the Campaign for Duke, which raised $2.36 billion from 1996 to 2003.
The Board also received an update on the performance of the University’s endowment, which gained 1 percent on its investments in fiscal year 2012, which concluded June 30, a more modest investment return compared to the 24.5 percent jump reported for fiscal year 2011.
The total value of the endowment dipped from $5.7 in 2010-11 fiscal year to $5.6 billion as of June 30, because the low investment return was offset by the amount taken out for use in Duke’s operating budget, Michael Schoenfeld, vice president for public affairs and government relations, wrote in an email Saturday.
The Standard and Poor’s 500 Index rose 5.5 percent during the same period. The endowments at some other major universities, including Harvard University, stayed nearly flat.
“Duke’s academic ratings are generally considerably higher than our relative endowment size,” Wagoner said. “By standing still you move ahead.”
Executive Vice President Tallman Trask could not be reached for comment in time for publication to discuss the impact of the endowment performance on the University budget or capital projects.
In the vein of interdisciplinary advancement, the Board discussed the University’s partnership with Coursera, a company that hosts a platform for massive open online courses created by member colleges and universities. More than 157,000 people around the world have registered for eight Duke courses listed with Coursera.
The Trustees believe it is important for the University to explore online courses in the early stage and make improvements later on, Wagoner wrote in an email Sunday. Open online courses are consistent with the University’s mission to offer certain courses to a broader audience.
Wagoner noted that online education is evolving in terms of the types of assessments and certification it can offer students.
“It’s clear that this form of education, at least at the early stage, is effective only with certain kinds of topics and learning experiences,” he said.
The Board also received an update on the progress of Duke Kunshan University. The joint venture recently appointed senior leadership, including Chancellor Liu Jingnan and Executive Vice Chancellor Mary Bullock, but the new campus still awaits establishment approval from the Chinese government.
Dr. Victor Dzau, vice chancellor for health affairs and president and CEO of the Duke University Health System, presented on the first phase of the health system’s enterprise-wide planning project, which he said was enthusiastically received by the Trustees. The project, initiated January 2012, outlines goals for major focus areas—research, medical education and patient care.
The Board did not formally approve the enterprise-wide planning, but an oversight committee composed of Duke health professionals and Trustees endorsed the project, Dzau noted.
“Enterprise-wide planning is a process that takes everybody under the health umbrella to work together as a single team,” he said. “A focus of the program is pulling together the different constituents to bring organizational and cultural transformation.”
Health care reform has emphasized the need for efficient use of resources, but Duke Medicine needs to strengthen its existing resources, Dzau noted. The capital campaign is aiming to raise $1.2 billion for health related programs, providing key financial resources to facilitate improvements in the areas highlighted by enterprise-wide planning.
In other business:
The Board passed resolutions to recognize junior Nick McCrory and senior Abby Johnston, both members of the varsity diving team, for their bronze and silver medals, respectively, during the 2012 Summer Olympics. Duke diving coach Drew Johansen also received recognition for his coaching of the U.S. Olympic diving team.
The Trustees approved a similar resolution for Duke men’s basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski, who coached the U.S. men’s basketball team to a gold medal finish. Other basketball staff, including associate head coaches Chris Collins and Steve Wojciechowski and video coordinator Kevin Cullen, were recognized for their contributions.