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Head Of Alumni Affairs Never Left Duke
Durham, NC -
Name: Sterly Wilder
Position: Associate vice president for Alumni Affairs
Years at Duke: 29
What I do at Duke is: Work on ways to connect alumni to each other and to Duke. We publish Duke Magazine and organize reunions, homecoming and other gatherings at Duke and around the world. We engage alums in volunteer work - everything from interviewing prospective Duke students to working on civic engagement projects through Duke Alums Engage. We have 145,000 alums, and they are incredibly loyal and excited about Duke.
My first paid job was: Working at Duke during the summers. For one summer, I was the only tour guide in admissions. I did three tours a day, no matter how hot it was. I also worked for Mr. Terry Sanford in the president's office, and on the annual fund in the Development Office, which is how I got into this field. I started a full-time job with the Development Office right after I graduated with the Duke class of 1983. I was housed in the same area where my office is now - the Carriage House behind Alumni Affairs (Forlines House).
A memorable moment for me at work was: When Duke rededicated the war memorial outside of Duke Chapel on Veterans Day in 2009. We updated the memorial with the names of alumni who had died in combat since World War II and invited back family members to the rededication. It was amazing to see the outpouring of emotion and gratitude from families and friends. And, it was an important event for Duke.
When I'm not at work I like to: Be outside working in my garden or travelling, especially with friends.
To start a conversation with me, someone should ask me about: Duke. I'm passionate about Duke. I care deeply about the opportunities that our students have here at Duke, and I love it that people are willing to give so much to this place that makes such a huge difference in people's lives.
My dream job is: My current job because I get to constantly interact with people who care deeply about Duke. But if I had to have a different one, I guess I might like to be president of Duke for just one day.
The book I am reading now is: Paul Farmer's newest book, "Haiti After the Earthquake."
If I had $5 million, I would: Give it away to charity, including Duke. I would want to give it where the money would make a lasting impact, but there are so many critical needs and areas that I care about it would be hard to figure out what would be the best.
When I retire I want to: Take more time to enjoy every day, to walk in the gardens, to be a better volunteer, to spend more time with family and friends, to read. I want to take more time to smell the roses.
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