The Board of Trustees approved campus construction projects and received updates on Duke's finances during a meeting at the Washington Duke Inn and Golf Club Saturday.
The Trustees approved the construction of a new residence hall on East Campus that is scheduled to open in 2018 and will house 250 first-year students. They also approved the design of a new alumni center, which will be built at the corner of Chapel Drive and Duke University Road. The project includes renovating an existing building on Chapel Drive and the construction of three new buildings to provide space for offices, meeting rooms, events and a catering kitchen.
The meeting included a report of the University's financial performance during the last fiscal year. The University had a negative 2.6 percent return on investments last fiscal year, according to DUMAC, the company that manages Duke's endowment and other assets. The market value of the endowment was $6.8 billon as of June, which declined from $7.3 billion the previous year.
"The great luxury of an endowment is that you invest for the long haul," President Richard Brodhead said. "We don’t measure the success of the endowment by individual year returns."
The average annual return on Duke's long-term investments has been 7.1 percent over the last 10 years, DUMAC statistics indicated.
Brodhead noted that the Trustees were not surprised to hear about the negative return on investments.
"We did about the same as other endowments have done," he said. "The trouble with markets is that you have outstanding years and then years that are very challenging."
Board members also heard a review of Duke Kunshan University led by President Richard Brodhead and David Rubenstein, Trinity ‘70 and chair of the Board of Trustees. The Trustees attended a four-hour seminar Thursday that specifically addressed DKU. The Board will vote in December whether to move forward with phase two of DKU, an undergraduate degree program.
"The Trustees understand that this is one of the most critical decisions they will make," Brodhead said. "It was an extraordinary positive discussion.
In addition, Larry Moneta, vice president for student affairs, updated the Board on a range of student life issues.
Trustees also attended the dedication of Abele Quad Friday afternoon, honoring Julian Abele, the African American architect who designed West Campus.
Editor's note: This article was updated Saturday at 12:30 p.m. to include quotes from President Brodhead.
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