Snow flurries aren't the only thing making it look like Christmas in Durham these days.

Christy and John Mack, two North Carolina natives and long-time University supporters, are contributing $10 million to the Campaign for Duke coffers, President Nan Keohane announced yesterday.

With this donation, the $1.5-billion campaign surpassed the $800-million mark more than four years before its scheduled completion date.

"The gift from John and Christy Mack is wonderful for Duke in many ways," Keohane said. "Their gift shows both their love for Duke and their confidence in our future."

The $10-million gift, which includes a previously announced $1-million donation, will support various programs, including athletics, financial aid, community interaction and residential life.

The Macks originally planned to give only $5 million but discussions with John Piva, senior vice president for alumni affairs and development, convinced them to up the ante.

"We think that they need as much help as they can get financially as well as philosophically," said Christy Mack, explaining the donation. Both she and her husband have been extensively involved in organizing the Campaign and determining its financial priorities.

John Mack, a Greensboro native who attended the University on a football scholarship, graduated from Trinity College in 1968. He is a member of the Board of Trustees and president and chief operating officer of Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co., the New York-based global investment banking giant.

Christy Mack, a Mooresville native and a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is a member of the Trinity College Board of Visitors.

Christy Mack said their personal histories helped determine the money's distribution. "Basically, my husband and I have had a combined, shared interest in helping minority kids and kids in need of financial aid get a leg up on life, whether that be in health care, financial aid or education," she said. "My husband is quite interested in athletics, so he branched off into athletics, and I branched off into integrative medicine."

The gift will be distributed as follows:

  • $3 million will go to financial aid for North Carolina students through the Christy K. and John J. Mack Family Scholarship Endowment Fund. The fund is particularly aimed at ensuring that minority students have the opportunity to attend the University.

  • $1.1 million will be allocated to the football program, including $100,000 for a feasibility study and master plan for athletic facilities. This gift comes just one week after Board of Trustees' Vice-Chair Harold "Spike" Yoh and his wife Mary pledged $5 million for the football program.

  • $500,000 will be earmarked for the Duke-Durham partnership, which links the University with seven local public schools and 12 surrounding neighborhoods. Christy Mack toured the neighborhoods last fall before making the donation, the largest in the program's history.

  • $500,000 will advance the ongoing residential life review and help fund massive renovations of West Campus.

  • $250,000 will support the Integrative Medicine program, which has won acclaim for uniting "mind, body and spirit" in the treatment of patients.

  • $3.6 million will be used for discretionary purposes, particularly for the Duke Annual Fund and the Fuqua School of Business.

These areas mirror the various priorities of the Campaign for Duke, Keohane said, a vitally important fact.

"I surely hope we will reach our goal, and perhaps surpass it; but the important point is not just to raise the money, but to raise it for Duke's key priorities," she said. "The best news is that donors do seem to understand the importance of this point, giving for things that really matter to Duke, and paying their pledges in a timely fashion, so that the money can start to work for our goals."

In addition to their extensive work with the University, the Macks are involved in civic, health and education affairs in New York City, where they now live.

And despite her Tarheel roots, Christy Mack said she has been won over by Duke blue. "It's a transition by osmosis," she said. "You live with a Duke graduate for 26 years, and eventually something's going to rub off."

Richard Rubin contributed to this story.