After 28 years as president of Durham Technical Community College, I came to Duke in 2008 to fill the newly created position of vice president for Durham and regional affairs. My charge was to expand and deepen the partnerships between Duke and Durham. I quickly became aware of the countless ties between Duke and its hometown that date to the days of Trinity College. Many of these partnerships already were strong, the connections deep and historic.
I began by meeting with local leaders to gain a fresh perspective on the opportunities and challenges facing Durham, and the partnership role Duke could play. I talked with leaders from the neighborhoods, the school system and school board, city and county government, and a host of other non-profit and civic organizations that work tirelessly to make Durham a great place to live.
The priorities that emerged time and again were youth, K-12 education and economic development. At the time, Duke already had a long history of working with local schools and community centers that serve our youth. And Duke already had played a vital role in downtown revitalization projects like the American Tobacco Campus and the Durham Performing Arts Center.
To expand on that work would mean a significant new commitment to Durham Public Schools, to youth-oriented non-profits, and to economic development and renewal in the neighborhoods in and close to downtown.
I hope you’ll explore this site to learn more about how my office has accepted that charge, and how we continue to grow in our efforts to make Duke a partner, convener, facilitator and advocate in Durham.
Phail Wynn, Jr.