Brodhead Promotes Higher Education, Humanities During DC Visit

President Richard H. Brodhead talks with Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-IL, Ph.D. '98) at the Duke in Washington offices.
President Richard H. Brodhead talks with Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-IL, Ph.D. '98) at the Duke in Washington offices.

From Capitol Hill to the White House and back again, Duke President Richard H. Brodhead crisscrossed Washington, D.C., Tuesday to share the university's views on federal policy issues and to strengthen relationships with members of Congress and administration officials.

Brodhead's agenda included meetings with Duke alumni currently serving in Congress including Nick Rahall (D-WV) (T '71), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) (T '75) and Bradley Byrne (R-AL) (T '77). He also met with several senators, including Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Bob Corker (R-TN).

Brodhead discussed expanding investment in federal research, comprehensive immigration reform, student aid and tax reform, while emphasizing the need for a strong partnership between the university community and the federal government.

"When I arrived at Duke 10 years ago, the federal government was a reliable and supportive partner for research. Since then, research budgets have not kept pace with needed investments, discoveries and costs. As a result, we are seeing the quantity of research diminish, while at the same time the type of research becoming less diverse and more risk averse," Brodhead said during the visit.

In addition, Brodhead highlighted the continuing efforts of the Commission on Humanities and Social Sciences, which he co-chairs with John Rowe, retired chairman and chief executive officer of Exelon Corp. Last summer, the commission released "The Heart of the Matter," a report outlining the state of the humanities in society. Since then, the commission has generated and maintained a new public discussion on the topic, a discussion that led to Brodhead's appearance last year on The Colbert Report.

The trip also coincided with the release of President Obama's budget for fiscal year 2015, which includes broad spending levels for agencies such as the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the Department of Homeland Security, all of which administer funding for university research.

For further information regarding the President's budget and its impact on the university community, visit the Office of Federal Relations website. 

"As a whole, Duke University receives more than half a billion of dollars in student aid and research dollars. This visit was a great opportunity to have our president explain how federal funds contribute to Duke, to North Carolina, to our economy today and our economy tomorrow, by enabling us to train a skilled workforce tomorrow," said Christopher Simmons, associate vice president of federal relations. 

Rounding out the president's day were meetings with White House and other administration officers to discuss university's initiatives. He also met with Duke alumnus Jeffrey Zients, who recently became chair of the National Economic Council. 

"President Brodhead is committed to engaging with Congress and the administration on issues vital to the university," said Michael Schoenfeld, Duke's vice president for public affairs and government relations.  "It's hard to overemphasize the importance of these visits when advocating for federal support of student aid and research.

"Duke is a good example of the partnership between the federal government and higher education, and policymakers want to hear from us," Schoenfeld added. "They want to know the impact our work has on society, and they want to support our faculty and students in their education and research."