The Class of 2010 more than met this year’s challenge from the Divinity School’s National Alumni Council. The challenge: If 65 percent of seniors made a gift to the Annual Fund, the council would respond with a gift of $2,010. In fact, 68 percent of the senior class gave to support financial aid for students who will enter Duke Divinity School in the fall. Combined with the Alumni Council’s match, the Class of 2010 boosted the Annual Fund by $2,854.
It’s Not Too Late
All Annual Fund gifts support the future leadership of the church by directly providing student financial aid. Gifts large and small received before June 30, when the 2009-2010 fiscal year ends, make a difference.
The stronger the Annual Fund’s support from graduates and friends, the better equipped Duke Divinity School is to support financial aid for men and women called to transforming ministry. And each alumni gift has an impact measured in more than dollars for financial aid: every alumni donation raises the school’s percentage of alumni giving.
Foundations and others committed to the best in theological education look to the percentage of alumni giving as a measure of graduates’ commitment and gratitude to their alma mater, which in turn encourages further support.
Gifts in any amount may be made online, see How to Give . To learn more about the Annual Fund or about options for planned giving, contact Wes Brown, Jami Moss Wise, or Betsy Poole at the Divinity School by calling 919-660-3456.
“At Duke my professors have pushed me to do theology in service to the church, and my field ed has shown me how scripture, doctrine, and ethics are always about real life ministry. At the end of the day, the beating heart of Duke Divinity is the worship of the Triune God, and it shows in everything we learn.” Jordan Hylden D’10
Give online 
The 2009–2010 Annual Fund ends June 30, 2010.
By Betsy Poole
Kevin Wright D’08 who serves as a “Young Alumnus” on the Divinity School’s Board of Visitors. “I could absolutely not have attended Duke without the generosity of others,” he says. “Now life is about giving back.”
“Everything I have been given is a gift,” says Kevin Wright D’08. “It’s God’s grace.”
Born and orphaned in South Korea, Wright is the adopted son of a Chicago Wesleyan minister and a teacher. The youngest of four—two other children were also adopted—Wright says his parents made sure he learned the practicalities of “loving thy neighbor” in a diverse community.
As Wright put it in a recent interview with Charlotte Magazine, “If someone’s sick, you take them a casserole. If someone needs a ride, you give it to them. How can you be around that practice and not have it rub off on you?”
Following graduation, Wright joined Myers Park United Methodist Church in Charlotte, N.C., as minister of missions, a position that involves both a local and a global focus. He’s worked closely with the city’s Urban Ministry, and led mission groups to Liberia, Romania, Costa Rica, and Haiti.
He and a team of 11 volunteers were in Haiti when the earthquake struck January 12. The group was safely evacuated from the village of Bayonnais, and just weeks later Wright returned to the devastated island. In the small village of Bayonnais, where Myers Park sponsors a school, he found 100,000 people struggling to survive. Myers Park UMC wired emergency funds to its Haitian ministry partners and, in April, shipped a school bus full of supplies.
“While I do feel overwhelmed at times, I do not feel underequipped,” says Wright. “Among my teachers, fellow students, and other Duke alums, I have access to the resources that I need to engage in the work. Duke gave me the theological foundation and framework, the contours in which I could discover myself and what it means to be myself in ministry.”
Wright first sensed his call to ministry in high school, but it was a professor at Indiana Wesleyan University who insisted he consider attending Duke. “Todd Ream [D’96], a wonderfully tenacious teacher, literally forced the application into my hands,” says Wright. Once here, he found an appealing mix of theological exploration and praxis.
“When I am working with our ministry partners in Liberia, I am remembering my class with Dr. Emmanuel Katongole,” says Wright. “When I am faced with the question, ‘What does it mean to love my neighbor in Haiti, Brazil, Africa, or Charlotte?’ I think of Dr. Allen Verhey’s course on the ‘Love Commandment.’”
Wright is also quick to acknowledge the formative friendships he experienced at Duke. “Professors Amy Laura Hall and Grant Wacker were very important to me personally. Dr. Wacker’s kindness deeply affected my personal and professional development. I glance at the shelves in my office, and they are filled with books from my courses and from recommendations by friends and teachers who said, ‘This book will change your life!’ These books are constant reminders of what’s been given to me and invested in me. You feel the weight of those gifts, all those people who have believed in you.”
As this year’s graduates begin practicing ministry, Wright advises them to focus on humility.
“You may be placed in positions of leadership and authority,” he says. “But never forget your job is to serve and to learn. The minute you think to yourself, ‘Yes, I think I’ve got this under control,’ that’s when you will have problems.”
Betsy Poole is associate director of annual giving and alumni relations.