The University's greek leaders and alumni celebrated achievements and challenged each other to advocate for positive change at Duke's annual greek convocation.

A keynote speech from a Silicon Valley veteran, a list of achievements spanning all four greek councils and a theme of empowering women and minorities rang through the halls of the Chapel as Duke welcomed its sororities and fraternities to a new year. Members of the Interfraternity Council, National Panhellenic Council, Multicultural Greek Council and National Pan-Hellenic Council gathered to listen to speeches from the four council presidents, along with a keynote address by entrepreneur Kimberly Jenkins, Trinity '76 and Graduate School '80, a member of Kappa Alpha Theta.

The night's speeches centered on the theme of empowerment, beginning with the announcement of a donation to Circle of Sisterhood—an organization dedicated to ending poverty and oppression for girls across the world. The total amount will exceed $5,000 as Panhellenic women continue to collect donations throughout the week as their annual philanthropy.

"The National Panhellenic Council is the largest collective of college-educated women in the world," said Angela Paolucci, campus representative for Circle of Sisterhood. "Collectively, we can do much more than we could as individuals—one person could make a small difference, but as a community of educated women, our contributions could change the outlook…for generations to come."

Jenkins' keynote address continued the theme, as she shared her own success with Microsoft in the early days of the company and her personal experiences with cultural expectations for men and women involved with greek life.

"Too often we give up our true selves and yield to cultural forces that might allow us to be accepted by some but come at a huge cost to ourselves," she said.

Jenkins also urged attendees to take a moment to themselves to reflect on their identity, behavior and core values.

"The choices you make now powerfully influence the choices you make later in life," she said in closing. "If you can be courageous at Duke, you can be courageous anywhere."

Jenkins' work history includes time with Microsoft, NeXT and Oracle, and she has served on Duke's Board of Trustees.

The event also highlighted past achievements of Duke fraternities and sororities, 20 of which were recognized as Gold Standard chapters in the past year.

Phi Beta Sigma President Broderick Turner, a senior, gave a special address celebrating his fraternity's 100 years of success, hard work and service as they celebrated their centennial.

Abhi Shah, a junior and Alpha Episilon Pi brother, commended the Panhellenic council presidents on their speeches revolving around the night's central theme.

"I thought [Panhellenic Association President] Kate Preston had a really strong speech, and she really hit on the note of empowerment," Shah said. "I think it's really cool that everyone's taking steps toward empowerment in the greek system."