Duke Management Company (DUMAC), which manages Duke University's endowment and other investment assets, achieved a return of 25.6 percent on the university's investments in the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2007. The investment returns and new gifts to the university's endowment brought its market value to $5.9 billion. The financial information came in a report to Duke's Board of Trustees during its opening meeting of the academic year. DUMAC's annual return was the third highest among the 25 large U.S. university endowments with which it typically compares its performance, based on preliminary data. Its five-year return of 17.5 percent also was the third highest within this "peer universe," and its 10-year return of 17.1 percent placed second.
"DUMAC has achieved a remarkable record over the past several years, with returns that rank consistently among the very best," said Duke President Richard H. Brodhead. "These aren't just abstract numbers. Every percentage point represents many millions of dollars more for Duke to invest in financial aid, research programs, scientific infrastructure and other new facilities. It's also the very best kind of stewardship for the gifts that alumni and others invest so generously with Duke. We all benefit at Duke from the excellent work of DUMAC president Neal Triplett and his team, as well as of Trustee Bruce Karsh and the rest of the DUMAC board."
During their meeting, the trustees also gave preliminary approval to several building projects, including one that would create a new "green" home for the Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences.
University officials can now proceed with plans to design the new Nicholas School home on the site of the Gross Chemistry Building, at the corner of Towerview Road and Science Drive. It is likely that part of the existing structure will be renovated. The board still needs to approve a final plan before construction can begin. As now proposed, the new building will incorporate sustainable-living principles, including water- and energy-saving equipment and systems, bringing sunlight into the building and constructing an add-on wing that will support a green roof.
Bill Chameides, dean of the Nicholas School, predicted that the school's "new home will be a shining example of Duke's commitment to sustainability while also providing a state-of-the-art focal point for innovative and interdisciplinary education and research on the environment." The Nicholas School is currently spread out in five locations, including the Duke Marine Lab in Beaufort. Emily Klein, senior associate dean at the Nicholas School, said the goal of the renovation is to bring the locations on the Durham campus under one roof.
The new building is now proposed to be about 190,000 to 200,000 square feet, at a construction cost of about $100 million. Klein said if everything proceeds as scheduled, the move is expected to occur in about three and a half years, following one year of design and two years of construction. She added that administrators will solicit student input during the design phase of the project.
Duke's chemistry department, which once occupied the building, is now housed in the French Family Science Center, which opened earlier this year.
The board also gave preliminary, but not final, approval to other construction projects, including:
-- A $20 million renovation to the Few Quad residence hall as part of the ongoing effort to upgrade the infrastructure of the earliest West Campus buildings.
Few Quad, built in 1938, houses about 430 students. It also includes Duke's Women's Center.
The renovation includes adding fire protection systems; improved heating and air conditioning, plumbing and electrical systems; and enhanced disability access. Some common areas would be moved to make them conveniently located to student rooms. The renovations will be designed using national sustainability guidelines as part of Duke's commitment to environmental-friendly construction.
-- A new 1,900-space, multi-level parking garage at the corner of Erwin Road and Research Drive. The 700,000-square-foot garage, if it receives the board's final approval, would be built on what is now a 300-space surface parking lot.