Chapel Hill News

Campus briefs, Aug. 20

UNC freshmen smart, more diverse

CHAPEL HILL The 3,988 first-year students expected to start classes at UNC this week were chosen from a record 31,331 applicants.

They hail from 94 North Carolina counties, 38 states and the District of Columbia and 24 countries. An additional 800 students are joining the Carolina community as transfer students.

The students entering this fall include scientists, entrepreneurs, artists, directors, dancers and writers, as well as decorated veterans, champion student-athletes and community activists.

“These students didn’t have to choose us, and we are grateful that they did,” said Stephen Farmer, vice provost for enrollment and undergraduate admissions. “We look forward to helping them realize their full potential and working with them to make Carolina a better place.”

Among the 72 percent of the class whose schools reported an official rank in class, 42.3 percent ranked within the top 10 students in their high school class, compared to 43.6 percent last year. The percentage of students ranking first or second increased slightly, from 13.5 percent last year to 13.6 percent this year.

Of students reporting a grade-point average on a weighted 4-point scale, 92.8 percent scored 4.0 or higher.

The share of students identifying themselves as a race or ethnicity other than Caucasian increased, from 31.1 percent last year to 33.8 percent this year. The share of students identifying themselves as African-American increased, from 9.9 percent last year to 10.6 percent this year, as did the share of students identifying themselves as Latino or Latina, from 7.2 percent to 7.7 percent. The share of students identifying themselves as Asian or Asian-American increased from 13.5 percent to 14.4 percent, and the share identifying themselves as American Indian or Alaskan Native remained the same at 2.4 percent.

Students who will be the first in their families to graduate from a four-year college or university comprise 17.9 percent of the class, down from 18.6 percent last year.

Females comprise 57.8 percent of the class, men 42.2 percent.

Forty-four percent of the incoming class will receive need-based aid and 6 percent will receive merit-based aid.

Duke reports giving record for 2nd year

DURHAM Duke University received a record-high $441.8 million in donations between July 1, 2013 and June 30, 2014.

The total was 7.5 percent higher than the previous record, $410.9 million received in the 2012-13 fiscal year. The number of donors also went up, from 109,013 to 110,962.

All gifts count toward Duke Forward, a seven-year fundraising campaign that supports Duke’s 10 schools and units, university programs and Duke Medicine. The campaign, which has reached $2.17 billion of its $3.25 billion goal, encompasses all gifts the university receives by June 30, 2017.

Money raised by the campaign will be used to enrich the student experience in and out of the classroom, invest in exceptional faculty, and support research and initiatives focused on training leaders to address some of society’s most pressing challenges.

“On behalf of the university, I want to express how grateful we are for the extraordinary support we’ve received this year,” said President Richard H. Brodhead. “The generosity of Duke alumni and friends expands the potential of what Duke can do –creating transformative opportunities for our stellar faculty and students and providing resources for them to continue engaging with global problems.”

The Duke Annual Fund, which provides flexible operating support for Duke and fuels all the priorities of the campaign, received a record $35 million from alumni, parents, students and friends. The annual fund helps cover the cost of financial aid, faculty support and educational programming for all of Duke’s undergraduate, graduate and professional schools, as well as the operations of the libraries, Duke Gardens, Duke Chapel and Nasher Museum of Art.

Alumni J. Michael and Christine Pearson made the largest single gift to Duke in 2013-14, a commitment of $30 million to the Pratt School of Engineering to advance engineering and science education across the university.

Duke Medicine was awarded $15 million by The Marcus Foundation to support an innovative research program that explores the use of umbilical cord blood cells to treat autism, stroke, cerebral palsy and related brain disorders.

3 new members join Duke trustees

Three new members joined the Duke University Board of Trustees on July 1.

Serving a six-year term will be Ann Pelham, a 1974 Duke graduate who for many years was publisher of Legal Times and who also served as president of the Duke Alumni Association.

Serving as young trustees on the board will be recent Duke graduate Neil Kondamuri and graduate and professional student Shannon O’Connor.

Pelham worked as a reporter and editor for more than 20 years before shifting to the business side for another 15 years. From 1998-2008, she was the publisher of Legal Times, a Washington, D.C.-based newspaper focused on law and lobbying.

Selected by his fellow undergraduates as a young trustee, Kondamuri will serve one year as a non-voting member and two years as a voting member.

Kondamuri, who graduated in 2014 with a public policy major and economics minor, was Duke Student Government's first vice president for social culture. He also is a member of Pi Kappa Phi fraternity and sits on The Chronicle's editorial board. He has taken part in the pre-orientation program Project Build and DukeEngage in India.

Selected by the Graduate and Professional Student Council (GPSC) as a young trustee, O’Connor will serve one year on the Duke board as a non-voting member and one year as a voting member.

O’Connor is a fifth-year Ph.D./M.D. candidate in biomedical engineering. She has served as the concertmaster and board member of the Duke Medicine Orchestra for the past four years, in addition to chairing the meetings of GPSC for the past two years as their vice president. She said she hopes to form a partnership between the Board of Trustees and GPSC to help foster more connections between the two.