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$20 Million Gift to Duke Will Drive Solutions for Pressing Environmental Challenges

Undergraduate students in Energy & Environment present capstone projects to Emily M. Klein, professor and chair of Earth and Ocean Sciences of the Nicholas School of the Environment. A $20 million gift from the Grainger Family Descendants Fund will bolste
Students present capstone projects to Nicholas School Professor Emily M. Klein. A $20 million gift from the Grainger Family Descendants Fund will bolster the school’s leading faculty, research and education to address environmental challenges.

Duke University has received a $20 million gift to strengthen research and education at the Nicholas School of the Environment, aiming to solve the most pressing environmental challenges confronting society, President Vincent E. Price announced today.

The gift, which came from the Grainger Family Descendants Fund at the recommendation of an anonymous 1979 Duke graduate who serves as an advisor to the fund, will support new professorships at the Nicholas School to bolster the school’s world-renowned faculty to address climate change and other critical environmental issues.

“We are so very grateful to the Grainger Family Descendants Fund for this extraordinary gift, which will support Duke’s leadership in understanding and protecting our environment,” Price said. “These professorships will transform environmental research and education at Duke and will help advance our efforts to find adaptive and resilient responses to climate change — a vitally important priority for our university and the world.”

Toddi Steelman, Stanback Dean of the Nicholas School, said the gift is coming at a pivotal moment.                                             

“We are enormously grateful to the Grainger family for their vision and trust in us. This gift will enable the Nicholas School to capitalize on our existing strengths in environmental research and concentrate our attention on the preeminent threat of our time: climate change. These positions will allow us to amplify our voice while embracing the moral imperative that we face on this planet,” Steelman said.

The Grainger Family Descendants Fund advisor said, “This gift will help ensure the Nicholas School remains in the forefront of environmental schools and will continue to inspire young, strong minds to fight for the purity of our air and water, and allow all living things to thrive on this planet at a time when species worldwide are being imperiled by climate change.”

Previous gifts by the Grainger Family Descendants Fund to the Nicholas School have supported financial aid and fellowships; faculty research; a program in natural resource finance; repairs to the Duke University Marine Lab in Beaufort, N.C., following Hurricane Florence; capital improvements to Duke’s campuses in Durham and Beaufort; and construction and operation of the Duke Marine Lab’s new vessel, the R/V Shearwater.

The Grainger Fund has also endowed three new professorships and supported the work of faculty and students at the Juli Plant Grainger River Science Center in Durham and the Orrin Pilkey Research Laboratory in Beaufort.