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Medals at Founders' Day

Medals at Founders' Day

Von der Heyden, Bonk and others to be honored Thursday at university celebration

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Durham, NC - Duke Trustee Emeritus Karl von der Heyden and long-time chemistry professor James Bonk will receive the University Medal for Distinguished Meritorious Service during the annual Founders' Day Convocation in Duke Chapel at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 22.

Founders' Day celebrates the founding of the university and provides an opportunity each year for the university to reflect on its history and heritage and to recognize major contributions by students, faculty, administrators, employees and alumni. All members of the Duke and Durham communities are invited to attend.

The University Medal is one of the university's highest awards.  In 2010, the award went to Jean Fox O'Barr, founding director of the Duke Women's Studies Program, and Robert Steel, former chair of the Board of Trustees.

Other honorees this year will include music professor Anthony Kelley and alumna and trustee emerita Wilhelmina Reuben-Cooke. 

Von der Heyden will deliver the Founders' Day address. A 1962 graduate of Trinity College, von der Heyden is co-chair of The American Academy in Berlin. A native of Germany, he has been an officer of a number of companies, including PepsiCo, RJR Nabisco, H.J. Heinz, Pitney-Bowes and Coopers & Lybrand, as well as a member of the boards of many others.

He joined the Board of Trustees in 1995 and served as a member of the trustees' executive committee, as well as the boards of visitors for the Health System and the Fuqua School of Business. He also led the major-gifts committee for Duke Libraries. In 2000, von der Heyden and his wife, Mary Ellen, gave Duke $4 million to help renovate and expand the university's libraries.

The von der Heydens support to Duke has also encouraged international endeavors, including a $1 million gift in 1995 to establish the von der Heyden Fellows Program Endowment Fund, which brings international corporate, academic and government officials to campus for lectures and meetings with students and faculty. Fellows have included President Belisario Betancur of Colombia, President Raul Alfonsin of Argentina and President Miguel de la Madrid of Mexico.

Over more than four decades, Bonk taught introductory organic chemistry to more than 30,000 Duke students.  The class came to be known as "Bonkistry." He joined the Duke faculty in 1959 and is still teaching undergraduates in a course on "Chemistry, Technology and Society."

His contributions go well beyond the classroom. Bonk helped design the lecture hall and laboratories in Gross Chemistry 40 years ago and more recently the laboratories in the French Family Science Center. He served as director of undergraduate studies in chemistry, advised students and managed independent study. 

In 2001, he received Duke's David and Janet Vaughan Brooks Distinguished Teaching Award, and in 2010 Trinity College honored him with the Dean's Distinguished Service Award in recognition of 50 years of extraordinary teaching at Duke.

Kelley, a 1987 Trinity College graduate, will receive the Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching Award. An associate professor of the practice in Duke's music department, Kelley joined the Duke faculty in 2000 after serving as composer-in-residence with the Richmond Symphony.  He teaches undergraduate courses on music theory and composition.  Since 2000, he has been a member of the faculty-in-residence program on East Campus, first in Southgate and, since 2006, in Brown House.

A law professor at the David A. Clarke School of Law at the University of the District of Columbia, Reuben-Cooke will receive the Distinguished Alumni Award. A 1967 graduate, she was one of the first five African-American undergraduate students to take classes at Duke. Among other honors, Reuben-Cooke has received the C. Eric Lincoln Distinguished Alumni Award from Duke's Black Alumni Council.  She was elected as a Duke trustee in 1989, becoming the first woman of color to serve in that capacity.  She served on the board until 2001.  She continues to serve on a number of boards, including that of The Duke Endowment.

Other faculty awards cited will include:

Christina L. Williams, David and Janet Vaughan Brooks Trinity College Distinguished Teaching Award;

Richard MacPhail, Robert B. Cox Trinity College Distinguished Teaching Award;

Michelle Connolly, Howard Johnson Distinguished Teaching Award;

Elena Maksimova, Richard K. Lublin Distinguished Award For Teaching Excellence;

Jonathan Dueck, Award for Excellence in Teaching Writing;

David Malone, Dean's Distinguished Service Award;

Jonathan Protz, Klein Family Distinguished Teaching Award at the Pratt School of Engineering;

Daniel Sorin, Lois and John L. Imhoff Distinguished Teaching Award;

Nimmi Ramanujam, Stansell Family Distinguished Research Award;

Gregg Trahey, Capers and Marion McDonald Award for Excellence in Teaching and Research;

Devendra Garg, Capers and Marion McDonald Award for Excellence in Mentoring and Advising;

Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, Paula D. McClain and Kristine Stiles, Dean's Award for Excellence in Mentoring;

Staff members also will be honored, including:

Christine Adamczyk, Tamara A. Overcash, Wesley Phillips, Tami Tuck and Gerald L. Wilson received Presidential Awards. Eighteen staff members won Meritorious Service Awards.

Jacqueline Terrell and David Walmer won Diversity Awards. Teamwork Awards went to the DART Analysis Team and the Data Management Solutions Team.

Others to be honored during the Founders' Day service include Angier B. Duke Scholars, Benjamin N. Duke Scholars, Karsh International Scholars, James B. Duke Graduate Fellows, Reginaldo Howard Scholars, University Scholars, Robertson Scholars, Faculty Scholars, The Duke Endowment Fellows and many other undergraduate and graduate scholars.

Duke in Pictures: Celebrating Founders' Day

Duke in Pictures: Celebrating Founders' Day



Founder's Day Live Webcast 4:30 PM Today

Founder's Day Live Webcast 4:30 PM Today


Duke University's annual Founders' Day ceremony, honoring its traditions and the contributions of the faculty, staff, students and alumni, will be broadcast live here today at 4:30 p.m.

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