Duke University trustee Jack Bovender and his wife, Barbara, have given $1.5 million to endow a professorship at the Duke Divinity School, President Richard H. Brodhead announced Tuesday.
The gift will fund the Jack and Barbara Bovender Professor of Anglican Episcopal Studies and Ministry, to be held by the director of the Anglican Episcopal House of Studies (AEHS). The endowed professorship will provide financial stability and a foundation for future growth of AEHS, which was founded in 2006 to provide Anglican spiritual formation for Episcopal and other Anglican students at Duke Divinity School. Currently, 30 students are enrolled in the Anglican Certificate Program.
"Jack and Barbara Bovender have been devoted and thoughtful leaders for Duke," Brodhead said. "We are grateful for this generous gift to sustain the work of the Anglican Episcopal House of Studies at Duke Divinity School, whose work of preparing students for service and ministry is a compelling example of Duke's commitment to knowledge in service to society."
Richard B. Hays, dean of the Duke Divinity School, said he was "thrilled by this generous and timely gift."
"As a United Methodist seminary embracing a range of Christian traditions, Duke Divinity School regards AEHS as a vital part of what we are seeking to offer the wider church," Hays said. "We look forward to the continued growth of AEHS and its contribution to our community."
This gift will help advance the comprehensive $3.25 billion Duke Forward fundraising campaign, which passed the $2 billion mark last month. The seven-year effort supports priorities across Duke's 10 schools, Duke Medicine and a range of university programs. Developing and enhancing faculty support and endowments is a key campaign priority.
AEHS was founded by the Rev. Dr. Jo Bailey Wells, now the chaplain to the Archbishop of Canterbury. Since 2013, the Rev. Dr. David Marshall has served as the director of AEHS. Graduates with the Anglican certificate have gone on to parish ministry, chaplaincy and doctoral programs, among other ministries.
"We have known of the work of AEHS for some years. From our own personal experience we are convinced that, working with the exceptional theological education and ministerial training offered by Duke Divinity School, AEHS offers superb preparation for ordained and other ministries for students in the Anglican tradition," Jack Bovender said. "We are delighted to be able to ensure the long-term future of AEHS within the Divinity School."
Bovender earned a bachelor's degree in psychology in 1967 and a master's degree in hospital administration in 1969, both from Duke. He began his career in hospital administration in 1969 as a U.S. Navy lieutenant stationed at the Naval Regional Medical Center in Portsmouth, Va. He worked in the health care industry for 40 years before retiring in 2009 as chair and chief executive officer of Hospital Corporation of America (HCA), which owns and operates 164 hospitals and 106 freestanding surgery centers in the United States and Great Britain.
Bovender is a member of Duke Forward's steering committee and has been a member of the Duke Board of Trustees since 2007. In addition to being the board's current vice chair, he sits on Fuqua's Board of Visitors, and is a former member of the Divinity School Board of Visitors, former chair of the Divinity School's Capital Campaign Committee and former member of the Duke Annual Fund's Executive Committee.
Barbara Bovender also has strong ties to Duke, having served as the head nurse on a psychiatric unit at Duke Hospital while her husband was a student.
The Bovenders have a long history of giving to Duke, including a $25 million bequest in 2011 to support the Trinity College of Arts & Sciences, the School of Nursing and the Health Sector Management (HSM) program at the Fuqua School of Business. They also have established scholarships for minority students in the HSM program. And Bovender Terrace, outside the Divinity Cafe, was named for Jack Bovender in recognition of a gift HCA made in his honor to support construction of the school's 2005 addition -- the Westbrook Building.
Jack Bovender was born in Winston-Salem, N.C. Both he and Barbara attended high school in the town of King, in Stokes County, North Carolina. The Bovenders are Episcopalians and attend St. George's Church in Nashville, Tenn., where they now live. Their son, Richard, received an MBA from Duke's Fuqua School of Business in 2008.