Duke’s leaders are the people who champion the University community during good times and bad, inspiring others with their emphasis on values and progress.
The leaders featured on this year’s Chron15 list are organizations, student leaders and faculty who used their power for good as they helped make Duke a safer place, lent a listening ear and worked tirelessly to improve the Duke experience.
The Rev. Dr. Luke A. Powery is the dean of Duke University Chapel and associate professor of homiletics at Duke Divinity School.
Homiletics is the art of preaching and writing sermons, and Powery’s sermons are one of the most integral parts of attending Sunday service at the Chapel.
His sermons regularly connect Biblical verses with current affairs and interweave recent news and issues pressing to students with aspects of theology in a manner that is simultaneously educational and captivating.
Powery researches and teaches at the intersection of preaching, pneumatology, performance studies and culture, particularly expressions of the African diaspora. He is regularly involved in events with other leaders of the African American community.
Last September, Powery brought Bryan Stevenson, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative to have a public conversation with him. He has spoken on the ten-year anniversary of the killing of Trayvon Martin, and after the Nashville school shooting in March.
He also recently wrote a book called “Becoming Human,” on the rhetoric of race and the Holy Spirit. The book refers to a section of the Pentecost, when the Spirit embraces “all bodies, all flesh, all tongues.” In that story, different kinds of materiality and embodiment are strengths to be celebrated rather than “inconvenient facts to be ignored or feared.”
For his guidance on matters of race and ethics and his constant spiritual support for the entire University, Powery embodies what it means to be a leader at Duke.
-Angikar Ghosal, Trinity ‘24
At a university where nearly half of its female undergraduates in 2018 said they had been sexually assaulted since enrollment, student groups like the Sexual Harassment and Assault Prevention & Education Initiative and Duke Sexual Assault Prevention Team have led the charge to eradicate sexual violence on campus in recent years.
The establishment of the Center for Gender Violence Prevention and Intervention, announced by Student Affairs in April 2022, seemed to respond to students’ calls for reforms. But, SHAPE still views its responsibility on campus as “filling in the gaps in education where we feel the administration hasn’t done that,” said Amelia D’Agaro, Trinity ‘23 and SHAPE’s Greek life and SLG director.
SHAPE was founded in 2018 and provides one- to two-hour educational and training sessions to all student organizations on campus. These trainings are evidence-based and aim to be as “trauma-informed, survivor-centric and skill-building as possible.” It covers various topics surrounding sexual violence, such as campus rape culture, the elements of consent, how to support survivors, bystander intervention and organizational accountability.
One April evening this spring, nearly 150 students joined SHAPE to walk from the West Campus bus stop to East Campus as the evening light gave way to dusk. SHAPE organized this “Reclaim the Night” Walk, which marked the end of SHAPE Week, during which the group spread awareness, fundraised and educated the Duke community about Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
Through demonstrations and programs, SHAPE will continue to “be on the front line” advocating for a safer Duke, until “the day when Duke doesn’t need SHAPE,” the organization wrote in April.
-Kathryn Thomas, Vol. 118 news editor
Center for Multicultural Affairs
Now located on the first floor of the Bryan Center after its bottom floor location was replaced by the Career Center, the Center for Multicultural Affairs has been at the center of debates over the allocation of space in the Bryan Center this past year. The Career Center also replaced affinity spaces La Casa and the Asian American Pacific Islander Bridge to Action, Solidarity, and Education.
The CMA spent its 51st year on campus commemorating its 50th anniversary after celebrations were delayed last year. And despite the shift in location, the center has stayed a leader on campus as a place that supports students from diverse backgrounds.
Its annual Unity Through Diversity event, dubbed “We were there, and now we are here: Redefining Our Center,” was a reference to the physical move it took over the summer.
Throughout the celebrations, CMA leaders emphasized the importance of love and introspection about what space and community meant for students. The CMA also held its first Multicultural Graduation Ceremony.
The CMA has been a supportive resource for so many students for the past 50 years, and is poised to do so for the next 50.
-Audrey Wang, Vol. 119 editor-in-chief
In her time at Duke, Hana Hendi has been president and treasurer of the Muslim Students Association, vice president of the Services and Sustainability Committee and chief of staff for Duke Student Government, a Baldwin Scholar, a researcher and pre-medical student. However, these accolades and titles themselves are not what makes Hana amazing. Instead, they are a testament to her profound compassion, wisdom and love for her community.
Hana’s presence alone fills the Center for Muslim Life with an overwhelming sense of love and warmth. Her care for the underclassmen is nothing short of genuine and her commitment to the betterment of the MSA is life-long. Within DSG, Hana’s leadership is grounded in a people-centric approach. She consistently models the importance of compassionate leadership and process, teaching us that the “how” is often more important than the “what.”
Hana’s empathy, her innate ability to care deeply for others and her unwavering commitment to community will undoubtedly carry over into her career as a physician. Hana’s passion for serving others is not bound by the boundaries of our campus; it is a fundamental part of who she is, and it will guide her on a path of incredible impact and fulfillment.
-Ashley Bae, Trinity ‘24 and Zeinab Mukhtar, Trinity ‘25
Deondra Rose, Kevin D. Gorter associate professor of public policy, has touched what seems like every facet of the University with her leadership.
At Duke, she is a member of Academic Council, the Board of Trustees Subcommittee on Undergraduate Education and the Racial Equality Advisory Council. Rose has also played a key role in the implementation of QuadEx as the Faculty Fellow for Crowell. Rose also serves as director of Polis: Center for Politics at Duke. Through her work at Polis, she has excelled in increasing student involvement and manages multiple facets of the organization, including research, events and student engagement.
Rose is an insightful, talented and engaging professor and received the Sanford School of Public Policy’s Susan Tifft Teaching and Mentoring Award for her skill and impact in mentoring, teaching and advising students. She is an incredible leader and scholar, but an even better person.
Rose is always looking for ways to make a difference, cares deeply about civic engagement and using her work to make a positive impact on the world around her. This, coupled with her ability to connect with students makes her a natural leader in such a student-facing role.
-Annaleise Linkenhoker, Trinity ‘25
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