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Duke Receives $5 Million for New Language Arts and Media Program
Durham, NC - An undergraduate program at Duke University that focuses on building strong communications skills in traditional and new media will be established by a $5 million gift, President Richard H. Brodhead announced Tuesday.
The commitment from the Bacca Foundation includes $3.5 million to launch and fund the Language Arts and Media Program (LAMP). The remaining $1.5 million, matched by funds from The Duke Endowment's Strategic Faculty Initiative, will establish two Bacca Foundation assistant/associate professorships in language arts and media for faculty who will build cross-disciplinary programs and guide undergraduate research and civic engagement projects.
The gift will advance the comprehensive Duke Forward fundraising campaign, which has passed the halfway point toward its $3.25 billion goal. The campaign supports priorities across Duke's 10 schools, Duke Medicine and a range of university programs.
"As technology creates new ways to communicate, the need to speak and write clearly is more important than ever," Brodhead said. "We are grateful for this generous gift from the Bacca Foundation, which will give all students opportunities to sharpen these critical skills."
Building on the established strengths of Duke's Thompson Writing Program, LAMP will introduce every first-year student to a broad range of communications skills and help them strengthen expertise through courses developed for upperclassmen. The goal will be for them to come away with the ability to express opinions clearly and compellingly across all platforms.
"The Bacca Foundation's generous commitment to establish the new Language Arts and Media Program at Duke speaks to the need for innovative and responsive educational programs and curricula that train our students not only for today's needs but for futures and careers we can only imagine," said Laurie Patton, dean of Trinity College of Arts & Sciences. "It combines the best educational values such as the rhetorical traditions of ancient cultures and yet emphasizes contemporary environments in which effective communication and expression is essential."
LAMP's director will develop the program's framework and select Bacca Foundation Fellows from current Thompson Writing Fellows to help build a curriculum to deliver these goals, including the creation of new upper-level courses that focus on new media communication as well as co-curricular activities such as a speaker series and student competitions.
"We are honored to partner with Duke in pioneering an academic environment in which undergraduate students will acquire and hone skills of deliberate speech, civil discourse and effective interpersonal communication," said Brett Berry of the Bacca Foundation. "LAMP should be a beacon on the headland of future learning."
The Bacca Foundation is the charitable endeavor of Winston Berry, a 1993 Duke graduate, and her husband, Brett.
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