Duke Forward: Explore Your Impact

From the EAC President

Will GardnerDear Fellow Alumni,

These are exciting times of growth and change for Duke Engineering. The number of high-impact student groups and associations and highend workspaces continues to grow (foundry.duke.edu). Our faculty continue to perform award-winning research (pratt.duke.edu/research/faculty-awards) and offer groundbreaking coursework (pratt.duke.edu/first-year-experience). Our new Dean Ravi Bellamkonda completed his first successful and action-packed academic year at Duke.

And, as of June 1, the Duke Forward Campaign had raised more than $3.75 billion university-wide. Since the campaign’s inception, we have moved from raising $350 million to more than $500 million annually. The campaign officially ended at midnight on June 30. We look forward to being in touch with you in early August, once we have “closed the books” on Duke Forward, to share an update on our final campaign numbers. You also will be receiving a comprehensive final campaign report in September highlighting campaign outcomes and impact at the Pratt School of Engineering and across Duke.

When I compare the Pratt of today to that which I knew as a student, I feel great pride in how our engineering school has grown and extend my deepest gratitude to the students, faculty and staff who continue to make this such an exceptional place of learning and growth. As alumni, we play a role in the success and growth of Duke Engineering, and it is the role of the Engineering Alumni Association to help facilitate and encourage alumni engagement.

Last year, the Engineering Alumni Council made a concerted effort to step back and review our past work against our stated goals as an Alumni Council. From these discussions, two things became very clear:

    1. The support we receive from our Engineering alumni is allowing us to do invaluable work. We continue to recognize more amazing alumni award winners every year and the student projects we support and mentor are both expanding in scope and achieving greater results each year. THANK YOU for your support—both of your time and finances.
    2. We, as an Alumni Council, need a renewed focus on alumni engagement. We can do a better job helping build the lifelong connections between our alumni and Duke Engineering that transform the school, our students and our alumni alike.

To improve our alumni engagement efforts, we established a new three-year strategic plan outlining tangible initiatives as well as metrics for us to track. In particular, we want to share with you some highlights:

  • Alumni Events: We held our first regional event with Dean Bellamkonda in Washington, DC this spring in conjunction with the Duke Alumni Association, and we’ll have another local event this fall sharing his vision for the future of the school. We’ll also be looking for opportunities to showcase Pratt students and faculty to our alumni.
  • Mentoring Opportunities: Last year we began engaging alumni as technical advisors for the student projects that we have historically supported financially through EAA dues. In addition to our recurring resume review session with students on campus, we are also looking to facilitate alumni mentoring through an Alumni in Residence program. Stay tuned for details!
  • Service Opportunities: Duke’s mission of “Knowledge in Service to Society” is regularly on display at Pratt. We are actively looking for opportunities to bridge some of this work with the existing Duke Alumni Engage program and find ways to harness and leverage the unique skills and experience of our engineering alumni in service to society. If you have ideas, please let us know!

The EAC stands ready to execute this exciting strategy due to the steady leadership of our past EAC presidents. Please join me in expressing gratitude to our most recent President Michael Wesley. With support from past Presidents Dixie Wells and Ershela Sims, Mike rejuvenated the EAC and led the charge in putting together a detailed strategic plan. We thank Mike for his service and hope you will join us in implementing the strategy he helped craft.

Will Gardner, E’09, G’11
President
Engineering Alumni Council