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Sperling continues to build on active role in alma mater

For Laurene Sperling, the conversations had with her classmates are the fondest memories she has of her time at Duke. Now—32 years later—her conversations on campus will be among some of the most powerful voices at the University.

Laurene Sperling

During its May meeting, the Board of Trustees selected Laurene Sperling to be one of its two new Trustees.

Sperling, Trinity ’78, will begin her duties July 1 and attend her first meeting in October.

As a Trustee, Sperling will be a part of the governing body that oversees the University’s educational mission and fiscal policy.

“I’m incredibly excited,” Sperling said. “Duke is one of the finest universities in the world and I see it as an incredible honor.”

Sperling has been an active alumna since graduating from the University. Since 2006, she has served as the chair of the Library Advisory Board, which is responsible for raising funds and awareness for the University’s libraries. Sperling has been a member of the board since 1997.

Sperling said she does not currently have any particular agenda as a trustee and feels she will spend the first year understanding the pressing issues that the board faces.

“I hope to work to ensure that every part of University is supporting the strategic objects of the University,” she said.

Sperling added that because she’s a Duke alumna, she feels that it is her responsibility to continue to be involved in the University.

“Duke is always growing, changing and innovating and it’s wonderful to keep current and to be a part of everything that is new at Duke,” she said. “I think it’s incredibly important for the University to have alumni bring their expertise and the many talents they have developed after their time at the University.”

Members of the Library Advisory Board said they believe Sperling will make an excellent Trustee and are sad that she must leave the position as chair.

“I think she’s an extremely good thinker and a very good team builder,” said Douglas Beckstett, Trinity ’74 and a member of the Library Advisory Board. “She’s done a good job attracting new and diverse members to the board and gaining different perspectives.”

In addition to the Library Advisory Board, Sperling is president of the Sperling Family Charitable Foundation and is also chair of the Bell Foundation, which works with elementary and middle school after-school programs to increase students’ abilities to perform in the classroom. She also serves on several other boards, including the Board of New Profit Inc. and the Board of Dean’s Advisors for Harvard Business School, where she earned her MBA in 1982.

Sperling’s extensive experience with non-profit groups, coupled with her long post-graduate involvement with the University, made her an appealing candidate for the Board of Trustees, said Michael Schoenfeld, vice president for public affairs and government relations.

“She has a wide diversity of experiences, skills and interests, and that’s what you want to reflect the wide range of things Trustees have to deal with on the Board,” Schoenfeld said.

He added that the Board, which has 37 members, is comprised of people who enjoy expertise in a variety of different fields but are united by their passion for Duke.

“She is somebody who is an absolute representative of excellence and commitment to Duke, which is needed on the Board.”


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