Gift Impact.

Faculty Excellence

Hearts for the humanities

“Attuned,” “active,” and “savvy” are words used to describe longtime volunteers and consistent annual donors Jim ’81 and Beth York Schiff ’81, J.D.’85, P’14. Sharing and responding to President Richard H. Brodhead’s passion for the humanities, the Schiffs committed $5 million, including $2.5 million to establish the Adele Schiff Professorship for a faculty member in English language and literature, and $1.47 million to set up the Schiff Bass Connections Humanities Fund to support humanities projects and programs within Bass Connections. They also added $30,000 to the Reynolds Price Endowment Fund in the Duke Libraries. Price, the late author and Duke professor, was a strong influence on Jim, an English professor at the University of Cincinnati. Another $1 million supports the Duke Basketball Legacy Fund.

$2.5M—Adele Schiff Professorship in English language and literature
$1.47M—Schiff Bass Connections Humanities Fund
$1M—Duke Basketball Legacy Fund
$30K—Reynolds Price Endowment Fund
Total: $5M

Bass Connections’ personal and policy impact

Allison Donnelly ’14 found out quickly that her experience working on a Bass Connections project team would pay off in her career. She and her teammates found out later how their work could make an impact in public policy.

In Donnelly’s third week on the job as a clean energy consultant, she used the knowledge of the Clean Air Act she gained as a Bass Connections Energy team member to write an assessment on efficiency in the Clean Power Plan (a regulatory subset of the Clean Air Act). “It was an excellent project team to be a part of and has continued to be beneficial to me as well,” Donnelly said.

Her team studied how the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) could take the lessons it learned regulating electric power under the Clean Air Act and apply them to new Clean Power Plan regulations for petroleum refineries. Donnelly and the Bass Connections team presented their research to a group of EPA staff members, who were impressed. The agency cited the policy implications of the team’s findings in a legal document accompanying the final rule for the Clean Power Plan.

“The Bass Connections model really helped make this happen,” said Brian Murray, Director of the Environmental Economics Program at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions and one of the team’s faculty leaders. “The faculty had sustained interest in moving this forward, and the students were really motivated.”

Inspired by stories of Bass Connections’ collaborative, interdisciplinary research with real-world relevance to complex challenges, Steve Greenlee ’79 gave $200,000 with a $100,000 Bass Connections match for a faculty support endowment in energy science. The gift opens doors for more faculty to craft project teams to take on research that makes a difference.

The intersection of law and entrepreneurship

Karl ’83 and Fay Leo wanted to help expand the opportunities for Duke Law students to prepare themselves for corporate and transactional work. Their $1.25 million gift endowed a professorship in business law and entrepreneurship at the law school. “The greater endowed the faculty, the greater the course offerings, the greater practical offerings, the better prepared students will be for a career in business law,” Karl said.