David Toole Named Director of Duke’s Kenan Institute For Ethics

David Toole Named Director of Duke’s Kenan Institute For Ethics

As interim director, Toole led a shift to a new strategic framework called Good Pursuits, which focuses the work of the institute on three overlapping arenas. “Good Life” activities include curricular and co-curricular initiatives for students as well as programs for alumni and the public. The focus on “Good Community” highlights research and teaching projects that bridge the classroom and the campus to Durham and other communities in the southeast and around the globe. “Good Society” programs involve a focus on the institutions and systems that support — or impede — pursuits of the common good.

“Good Pursuits is more than a new tagline,” said Toole, who will begin his term as director on July 1. “It emerged as a fitting summary of the institute’s history since its founding almost 30 years ago. As interim director, I have acquired a deep appreciation for my predecessors and for the vision Frank Kenan and President Nan Keohane brought to the creation of the institute in 1995. Over the past 21 months, I have become deeply invested in the life of the institute, and it’s a great gift to be entrusted with leading it into the future.”

Toole is the author of “Waiting for Godot in Sarajevo: Theological Reflections on Nihilism, Tragedy and Apocalypse,” and “The Morgue in the Garden of Eden: An Essay on Hope … in the Dark,” a forthcoming book about a Burundian woman and the hospital she founded during her country’s protracted civil war. Toole’s research interests span broadly across the humanities. He is working on a collection of essays titled, “What Are People For? Questions Concerning What It Means to Be Human.”

Toole holds a doctorate in theology and ethics and a master of theological studies from Duke, and a master of public health from UNC Chapel Hill. A native of Montana, he lives in Durham with his wife, Nancy. They are the parents of three adult sons.

The Kenan Institute for Ethics draws faculty from philosophy, theology, medicine, history, political science, environmental policy, law, African and African American studies, public policy, cultural anthropology, sociology, dance and other fields to lead interdisciplinary research and education dedicated to addressing the moral challenges of our time. The institute hosts education programs for undergraduates and graduate students from a broad range of disciplines. Significant funding is provided by the William R. Kenan Jr. Fund for Ethics, a nonprofit organization founded in 1995 with a gift from the William R. Kenan Jr. Charitable Trust.