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Bovender, Rubenstein to serve as joint vice chairs

The Board of Trustees has elected two Duke graduates— Jack Bovender Jr., Trinity ’67 and Graduate School ’69, and David Rubenstein, Trinity ’70—to serve as co-vice chairs.

Bovender, the former CEO of Hospital Corporation of America Healthcare, said he will call on his experience as a Duke graduate and hospital administrator during the coming year.

He has been a member of the Board since 2007 and also serves on the Fuqua School of Business Board of Visitors and the Duke University Health System Board of Directors. He formerly served on the Divinity School Board of Visitors, as well as the executive committee of the Duke Annual Fund. His son, Richard, is a 2008 Fuqua graduate.

Bovender said he is privileged to serve on a Board whose members have such a rich connection to the University.

“Duke is very important to all of us, and it was a defining moment in [our] lives and a foundation for all the things that came later in life,” Bovender said. “It’s an honor to be involved with the University.”

As a long-time hospital official and a graduate of Fuqua’s former Masters of Hospital Administration degree program, which is now the Health Sector Management program, Bovender noted that he will provide a necessary perspective on the Board, especially due to Duke’s large medical system.

“I’ve spent my life in hospitals at various [administrative] levels as well as a CEO of a Fortune 100 company,” Bovender said. “Health is a critical part of the mission of the University.”

Nancy Andrews, dean of the School of Medicine and vice chancellor for academic affairs, said she has enjoyed serving on the DUHS board with Bovender because of his dedication to the University and its medical system.

“He has a deep understanding of health care issues from his experience as the highly regarded chairman and CEO of HCA, combined with strong loyalty to Duke and tremendous integrity,” Andrews wrote in an email.

Bovender said he believes the most pressing issues for the University are continued financial challenges leftover from the economic crisis as well as the task of maintaining our global commitments. The way the Board has handled the development of Duke Kunshan University is indicative of the group’s effectiveness, he said.

“I’ve been very impressed as to how the various committees have delved into China,” he said. “I don’t think it could have been done any better.... The next couple of years are critical.”

Bovender added that he believes that the members of the Board are among the most high-quality people he has worked with throughout his career.

“The leadership here at Duke is as fine or better than anything I’ve seen in my professional career,” Bovender said. “It’s probably the most comprehensive leadership in the country.”

Rubenstein is the co-founder and managing director of The Carlyle Group, one of the world’s largest private equity firms. He has been a member of the Board since 2003, serving on the institutional advancement committee and the Trustee-faculty committee on honorary degrees, as well as the business and finance and academic affairs committees.

Michael Schoenfeld, vice president for government relations and public affairs, said Rubenstein has been a very active Trustee and leader at Duke.

“I think it’s fair to say that he’s one of the most successful business leaders of his generation,” Schoenfeld said. “His expertise not just in business but in leadership and, especially, global activity has been a very important resource to this University.”

Rubenstein said the combined business experience of Board of Trustees Chair Richard Wagoner, former president and CEO of General Motors Corp. and Trinity ’75, Bovender and himself, as well as his public service and philanthropic background, will help the three lead the Board.

“Rick [Wagoner] will set the tone and be a leader,” Rubenstein said.

Rubenstein also said the Board will be most focused on moving forward into the 21st century by doing everything it can to be competitive with other universities—he highlighted the University’s increasingly large percentage of international students as well as its campus in Singapore and future campus in Kunshan as evidence of Duke’s track to becoming a global leader.

“Duke competes for students from the United States and from overseas,” Rubenstein said. “We’ll have to provide an international dimension as well as a domestic dimension [for the University].”

He added that the Board will work on a future capital campaign for the University. The Board will also devise improvements for Central Campus, the athletic complexes and financial aid availability, as well as the West Union renovations.

Rubenstein also serves on the board of trustees at Johns Hopkins University and the University of Chicago, among others.

“I’m on a number of boards [of trustees or directors]... 20 to 30 boards,” Rubenstein said. “But I haven’t been on any board that is more collegial and cohesive and more focused than Duke’s Board.”

Wagoner, who was elected chair at the Board meeting in May, previously served as the sole vice chair. Because Rubenstein and Bovender will take on the position together, the specific responsibilities of the vice chairs have yet to be solidified, Bovender said. He noted, however, that the main charge will be to assist the chair as well as the other Trustees.

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