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Board of Trustees renames West Union after Brodhead, elects new chair

<p>Jack Bovender will end his term as the chair of the Board of Trustees on July 1, 2021.</p>

Jack Bovender will end his term as the chair of the Board of Trustees on July 1, 2021.

At its May meeting, the Board of Trustees approved renaming West Union after outgoing President Richard Brodhead, and elected a new chair.

West Union, which reopened in August 2016 after three years of renovations, will be renamed the Richard H. Brodhead Center for Campus Life. The student life and dining building was selected by the board due to Brodhead’s initiatives to improve undergraduate education at Duke. In an email, Michael Schoenfeld, vice president for public affairs and government relations, said the board choose West Union recognize Brodhead’s “transformative legacy.”

“President Brodhead saw how West Union could animate the campus and bring together the Duke community,” he wrote. “He secured the largest single gift in Duke’s history to make it possible, and was very involved in the planning and design.”

On Saturday, the Board also elected Jack Bovender—Trinity ‘67, Graduate School ‘69 and vice chair of the Board of Trustees—to succeed David Rubenstein, Trinity ‘70, as chair after Rubenstein’s term ends on July 1. Schoenfeld wrote that it would be hard to “find a better, and better prepared, leader” to chair the Board of Trustees.

“Jack Bovender has been involved in every aspect of Duke over the past 50 years,” Schoenfeld wrote. “He’s been an undergraduate, a graduate student, a parent, a volunteer leader, a board member and chair of the presidential search committee, while also being one of the most successful and respected business executives in the country.”

Laurene Sperling and William A. Hawkins III were elected to be vice chairs of the Board of Trustees. Sperling joined the board in 2010, while Hawkins did in 2011.

In addition to the renaming of West Union, the board announced that the pergola in the Sarah P. Duke Gardens will be renamed after Brodhead’s wife, Cindy Brodhead.

The trustees also approved a $2.6 billion operating budget—reflective of an eight percent growth from the previous fiscal year—as well as the capital budget for the 2017 to 2018 fiscal year. For the capital budget, $399 million was allotted towards construction of a new medical science research building, new Alumni Center and residence halls. The budget also includes $157 million for undergraduate financial aid, a nine percent increase from last year.

“The 2018 budget continues the ambitious yet responsible growth that has characterized Duke in recent years,” Schoenfeld wrote. “It will make possible the start of the implementation of the new academic strategic plan, as well as essential additions and renovations in student housing and other areas.”

Bovender, a member of the Board of Trustees since 2007, graduated from Duke with a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1967, followed by a master’s degree in hospital administration in 1969.

Like Rubenstein, Bovender has been a major donor to the University. In 2011, he contributed $25 million to the Fuqua School of Business, the Trinity College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Nursing. In 2012, he gifted the University $1 million for a scholarship in honor of the first class of black students at Duke following its desegregation in 1963.

Most recently, Bovender was appointed as chair of the presidential search committee that ultimately selected Vincent Price, provost of the University of Pennsylvania, to be the 10th president of Duke.

Aside from being vice chair of the board, Bovender also serves as chair of the Subcommittee on Trusteeship and previously served as chair of the Audit Committee.

Additionally, Bovender formerly served on the Board of Visitors at the Fuqua School of Business and the Divinity School and was a recipient of Duke’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 2012. He currently serves as the lead independent director of Bank of America.

As a hospital administrator, Bovender served as chairman and chief executive officer of Hospital Corporation of America from 2002 to 2009.

After working in hospital administration for the United States Navy, Bovender became CEO of a few HCA-owned regional hospitals in Florida. From 1992 to 1994, he served as executive vice president and chief operations officer of HCA.

Bovender continued to climb up the ladder of HCA, becoming president and COO in 1997, a member of the Board of Directors in 1999, president and CEO in 2001 and chairman and CEO in 2002.

From 1998 to 2016, Bovender’s political donations indicated strong support for Republicans.

As an additional order of business, the board approved “Together Duke: Advancing Excellence Through Community,” a new strategic plan for the University. The unanimous vote followed a Thursday vote by the Academic Council in favor of the new plan.

Correction: This article has been updated to note that the pergola in the Sarah P. Duke Gardens will be renamed after Cindy Brodhead, not the Terrace Gardens. The Chronicle regrets the error.

Editor's Note: This post was updated at 3:00 p.m. to include Schoenfeld's comments.


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