Duke University's Board of Trustees on Saturday approved the construction of a new first-year residence hall and the design of a new alumni center.
The board also received updates on a range of financial, academic and student life matters, including the status of Duke Kunshan University, at its first meeting of the academic year.
The new residence hall on East Campus, to be located adjacent to the existing Blackwell, Randolph and Bell Tower halls, will house 250 first-year students and is expected to open in the fall of 2018.
The alumni center, at the corner of Chapel Drive and Duke University Road, will include renovating an existing building originally built in the 1930s and constructing three adjacent structures to provide office space, meeting rooms, events space, a catering kitchen and alumni support spaces.
The trustees also received a report on the university’s financial performance from the most recent fiscal year. DUMAC, Inc., which manages Duke University's endowment and other investment assets, reported a return of -2.6 percent on the university's investments in the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2016. Factoring in distributions of $363 million to support university operations, the market value of the university’s endowment stood at $6.8 billion as of June 30, down from a record high of $7.3 billion the previous year.
During the past 10 years, the average annual return on Duke’s long-term pool has been 7.1 percent, and has outperformed benchmarks over the past 3-, 5- and 10-year periods.
The university endowment is a perpetual fund, the earnings from which support faculty, financial aid for students, facilities and academic programs. In the most recent fiscal year, support from the endowment and other investments managed by DUMAC accounted for approximately 18 percent of the university’s total operating revenue.
The trustees also attended the dedication of Abele Quad, named for Julian Abele, the African-American architect who was the chief designer of Duke’s West Campus.
Scholars and archivists believe Abele provided the guiding hand and design vision for Duke’s West Campus, including Duke Chapel, as well as for many East Campus buildings, including Baldwin Auditorium. He continued to contribute to the design of the growing campus into the 1940s.
The quad named in Abele’s honor is in the center of West Campus and includes a plaque honoring him.
The trustees also received updates on a range of academic and student life topics, including:
-- A strategic discussion on student life issues from Vice President for Student Affairs Larry Moneta.
-- A wide-ranging review of Duke Kunshan University, led by President Richard Brodhead and Trustees Chair David Rubenstein.