2023-24 Chron15: Leaders

<p>Top (Left to Right): Chase Barclay; Marissa Young; Christoph Guttentag. Bottom: Abdullah Antepli; Harry Davidson.</p>

Top (Left to Right): Chase Barclay; Marissa Young; Christoph Guttentag. Bottom: Abdullah Antepli; Harry Davidson.

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 coaches, student leaders and faculty who used their power for good as they shaped the University’s future, encouraged student success and worked tirelessly to improve the Duke experience.

Abdullah Antepli

Abdullah Antepli teaches at both the Sanford School of Public Policy and the Divinity School, serving as associate professor of the practice and associate professor of the practice of interfaith relations, respectively. He recently taught Public Policy 302: Policy Choice as Value Conflict and co-lectured Public Policy 229: The Good Life: Religion, Philosophy and Life's Ultimate Concerns.

The imam became Duke’s first Muslim chaplain in 2008 and also held positions as director of the Center for Muslim Life from 2008 to 2014 and as Duke’s chief representative for Muslim affairs from 2014 to 2019. He currently serves as the associate vice president and associate vice provost for community-engaged research and teaching. Starting in the fall, he will succeed Deondra Rose, Kevin D. Gorter associate professor of public policy, to lead Polis: The Center for Politics at Duke.

“It has been a pleasure to work with Polis and see the center blossom under the leadership of my colleague Deondra Rose,” Antepli said. “I am looking forward to continuing the great work of the center through one of the most critical times of history as we seek to find ways of civil discourse through continued challenges in our society.”

In November, he was one of the moderators for the Polis Combating Hate and Bias Conference, where he interviewed Anti-Defamation League President Jonathan Greenblatt. The conference addressed hate in many forms in the North Carolina community and across the world, a subject Antepli has consistently engaged with on campus by participating in many seminars on the issue and acting as a prominent voice for positive cross-cultural discourse and empathy.

“Dr. Antepli is a professor capable of fostering an incredible community of tolerance and love despite our differences. No matter how strained the world becomes, he finds a way to unite those around him through his kindness and authenticity,” said junior Jackson Streit, who took two of Antepli’s classes this year.

Antepli has been the recipient of numerous accolades for his work fostering cross-cultural dialogue, including the Anti-Defamation League’s 2022 Daniel Pearl Award and the NonProfit Times’ Power & Influence Top 50 in 2019.

Antepli consistently strives to help students be the best they can and think critically about pressing moral and ethical issues. His leadership has been instrumental to promoting civil discourse on campus, and he consistently acts as a voice of reason for the Duke community.

-Ranjan Jindal, Vol. 120 sports editor

Maestro Harry Davidson

Harry Davidson has made significant contributions to the academic and extracurricular music environment at Duke, serving as professor of the practice of music and the music director and conductor of the Duke Symphony Orchestra.

Davidson came to Duke in 2002 after holding positions in the music programs of the University of Akron and Wichita State University. Throughout his academic career, the maestro has worked to provide students with in-class musical education and practical performance experience.

In addition to his roles at Duke, he also serves as music director and conductor of opera at the Cleveland Institute of Music — a role he’s held since 2007 — where he conducts one opera production per semester. Davidson has also worked outside of academia in the field of professional music, having previously served as associate conductor of the Wichita Symphony Orchestra and conductor of the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra.

These larger roles have been accompanied by guest conducting appearances around the world, with stints in Austria and Finland as well as multiple cities in the United States. Notably, he has led the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. and the Symphony Orchestra and Choral Union at the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music.

Davidson was a finalist in both the Antal Dorati Conducting Competition with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and the Hans Swarowsky Conducting Competition in Vienna, Austria. But despite his extensive professional accomplishments, the impact he’s made on the music program at Duke and the lives of his students stands out as a crowning achievement. He is described as “beloved by his students and orchestra members” and credited with “[keeping] the orchestra together during the [COVID-19] pandemic.”

Currently in his 25th year conducting the DSO, Davidson has consistently paired a talent for conducting and musical performance with education and other activities that help prepare the next generation of musical talent around the country. As he prepares to take the orchestra into its 100th year in 2026, the Duke community thanks Davidson for sharing his gifts.

-Zev van Zanten, Vol. 120 recess editor

Chase Barclay

In his time at Duke, Chase Barclay became one of the most recognizable people on campus. While his 6-foot-5 stature and bright ginger hair may have contributed in small part to his prominence, it was truly his selfless commitment to bettering student life and communities on campus that made him one of the most impactful leaders at Duke.

From the day Barclay stepped foot on campus during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, he was driven to help leave Duke a better place than he found it. Whether it was during his four-year tenure at Duke Student Government — most recently as chief of staff — or serving as president of Scale and Coin Business Society, Barclay utilized his platforms to bring together the University’s diverse communities.

Barclay created numerous initiatives to unify the student body around shared values of collaboration, innovation and inclusivity. But despite taking on an impressive array of leadership roles on campus, he was never too busy to mentor underclassmen, generously sharing his extensive knowledge and insights to smooth the way for their experience on campus and beyond.

While his executive skills are undoubtedly impressive, the most astounding thing about Barclay is his ability to form meaningful bonds with every community he touches. He cares so deeply for Duke and all of its students, and although he is leaving the campus behind after graduating earlier this month, his legacy of community building, empathy and enthusiasm for service to others will impact Blue Devils for years to come.

-Sara Azimi, Trinity ‘24

Marissa Young

In 2015, when a brand new Duke softball program needed its inaugural head coach, the team looked to former Big Ten Player of the Year Marissa Young. Since breaking ground at the Duke Softball Stadium and coaching the program’s first-ever game, Young has been at the helm of a seven-year progression that brought the program from a blank canvas to its first No. 1 national ranking and multiple ACC tournament titles.

While Duke softball has boasted a dominant few years — with five top-three conference finishes and four regional tournament wins — the program rose to a new height in the 2024 season, winning 50 games for the first time in program history and advancing to their third Super Regional bid in a row for a chance at the Women’s College World Series.

To Young’s players, 11 of whom have earned All-Tournament team placements during her tenure, Young’s style of leadership is about collaboration, trust and keeping standards high. When she first began coaching, Young created a handbook for her players which set expectations for them to arrive early to meetings and “sit up front in class.” While the program’s culture of excellence has persisted, it has grown under Young’s leadership into a community where players thrive and compete for something bigger than themselves.

Duke softball has maintained a dominant postseason performance amidst sellout crowds and growing enthusiasm on campus. The 2024 ACC Coach of the Year now leads a team with not just potential, but a resume which situates them among the best programs in the country.

-Michael Austin, Vol. 120 managing editor

Christoph Guttentag

Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Christoph Guttentag has held his role longer than most of the country’s undergraduate students have been alive. Leading Duke’s Office of Undergraduate Admissions since 1992, Guttentag was appointed last June to another term as dean.

But out of the over 30 admissions cycles Guttentag has overseen, this year’s was one of the most challenging. Coming off the heels of a June Supreme Court decision that overturned race-based affirmative action, Guttentag also had to contend with the rise of generative artificial intelligence and a national admissions landscape that is deciding how to transition from the COVID-19 era test-optional policies. Not to mention that this year saw a record-setting number of applicants — 54,191 — a number that has continued to climb over the years.

Guttentag had to make some tough decisions to address these challenges, including to no longer give numerical ratings to standardized testing scores and essays and to continue Duke’s test-optional policy despite some other universities having abandoned it. The Supreme Court decision also means Guttentag had to figure out — and will continue having to figure out — how to maintain a diverse student body, something President Vincent Price has described as “absolutely vital to our educational mission.”

Beyond tackling the already “incredibly difficult job” of managing Duke’s admissions office through an unprecedented year, Guttentag is also known for his iconic “clock collection” and “style.” Duke is fortunate to have had such an experienced and unparalleled leader at the helm when it mattered most.

-Jazper Lu, Vol. 120 centennial and elections editor


Share and discuss “2023-24 Chron15: Leaders” on social media.