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Duke Trustees Approve Namings for Addition, New Divinity

 The Westbrook Building, which includes Goodson Chapel, is named in honor of Hugh A.Westbrook D’70.

Article Revised Feb. 10, 2006

Duke Divinity School will celebrate its past and its future in naming its addition and renaming an existing building.

The addition, slated for completion this spring, will be named in honor of the Rev. Hugh A. Westbrook, a 1970 divinity graduate who co-founded and is former CEO of VITAS Healthcare Corp. of Miami. He and his wife, Carole Shields Westbrook, have given or arranged for gifts of nearly $20 million in recent years to support a variety of projects in the divinity school, most notably the Duke Institute on Care at the End of Life, said Dean L. Gregory Jones.

The portion of the divinity school completed in 1972, formerly known as New Divinity, has been renamed the Langford Building in honor of the former divinity school professor and dean who later served as Duke University provost. Thomas A. Langford, who died in 2000, was associated with the university for five decades.

The original divinity building, which also houses Duke University’s Department of Religion, still will be called the Gray Building.

The namings were approved by the Duke University Board of Trustees Dec. 3.

The Westbrook Building will include Goodson Chapel, substantial classroom space, and offices for the Duke Institute on Care at the End of Life. The $22 million addition also will provide student life offices, a refectory and other spaces to accommodate learning and prayer. The project includes 53,000 square feet of new and renovated space.

“Hugh Westbrook has been a pioneer in hospice and end-of-life care, and we have been blessed by the Westbrooks’ love for Duke Divinity School and their philanthropy in launching our Institute on Care at the End of Life,” Jones said.

The institute, begun in 2000 with gifts arranged by Westbrook, works to improve research, education and practice in the care of those near death through multi-disciplinary study and collaboration across campus and beyond. In 1978, Westbrook and Esther Colliflower cofounded VITAS, which provides hospice care to about 50,000 patients and bereavement services to more than 125,000 people each year.

Langford began his association with Duke University as a student, earning bachelor of divinity and Ph.D. degrees. He joined the university’s faculty in 1956, and he was dean of the divinity school from 1971 to 1981. He served as the university’s provost from 1990 to 1994.

“Tom Langford’s half-century of distinguished leadership is well-remembered in the divinity school and across Duke University,” said Jones, for whom Langford served as both teacher and mentor. “We are thrilled to honor his legacy by naming the Old Divinity and New Divinity buildings in his memory.”

BOV Newcomers

The Board of Visitors, a group of 33 advisors plus ex officio and emeritus members who meet twice annually to consider matters of policy, finance, and strategic planning for the divinity school, welcomes new colleagues:

Joseph D. Awotwi of Baton Rouge, La., is the pastor of St. Mark United Methodist Church and a practicing board-certified pediatrician. A native of Ghana, he is a graduate of Adisaldel College, the University of Ghana Medical School, and Duke Divinity School (1998). He served as chief resident in pediatrics at Harlem Hospital, New York, N.Y., and a clinical professor at both Tulane and LSU Medical Schools before pursuing ministry in the church. 

Elise Erikson Barrett of Florence, S.C., is associate pastor at Central United Methodist Church. Born and raised in Indianapolis, Ind., Elise was educated at Hanover College and Duke Divinity School (2004). She is a musician who also has experience in chaplaincy, and she served as the coordinator for worship at the 2004 Duke Youth Academy. She is one of the “Recent Graduate” members of the board.

Ann Leigh  Littleton of Birmingham, Mich., is an attorney, semi-retired, currently working with several foundations. A native of Auburn, Ind., she earned a degree in social work from Michigan State and a J.D. degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School. She is on hospital and community estate planning committees and the board of directors of American Plastic Toys Inc. An avid participant with Habitat for Humanity, Volunteers in Mission to Costa Rica, and other outreach work, Ann was a Sunday School teacher at Ascension Lutheran Church for many years and is currently a member of First United Methodist Church of Birmingham. 

George A.  Mason of Dallas, Texas, is the pastor of Wilshire Baptist Church. A native of New York City, he was a football player and business major at the University of Miami, and he earned the M.Div. and Ph.D. degree in systematic theology at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Prior to coming to Dallas in 1989, George served churches in Mobile, Ala., and Arlington, Texas. He has provided leadership with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, Children’s Medical Center of Dallas, and Faith LEAP Dallas—a coalition of faith groups advocating early childhood reading programs. 

Randall T. Wallace  of Sherman Oaks, Calif., is an  author, screenwriter, director, producer, and president of Wheelhouse Entertainment Inc. A native of Jackson, Tenn., he graduated from Duke University and attended divinity school for one year prior to moving to California. He has written half a dozen novels and screenplays including Braveheart, a film that earned five Academy Awards and the Writer’s Guild of America Award for best screenplay. He attends Bel Air Presbyterian Church. For more on Wallace, read the profile in the features section.

New members ex officio:

Holly M. Durham of Raleigh, N.C., is director of general administration and finance at Duke Divinity School. An alumna of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (B.S. in Public Health) and East Carolina University (M.B.A.), she joined the senior staff in 2004 following three years in the office of the provost of Duke University and prior service in management and analysis at Duke University Health System in Durham and Rex Healthcare in Raleigh. 

Alfred Gwinn of Raleigh, N.C., is resident bishop of the North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church. He was educated at the University of Kentucky and Asbury Theological Seminary, and he was honored with the D.D. degree from Union College. Prior to his episcopal election in 2004, he was the senior pastor of First United Methodist Church in Lexington, Ky. 

J. Lawrence McCleskey of Charlotte, N.C., is resident bishop of the Western North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church. A graduate of Duke’s Trinity College and divinity school, he also earned a D. Min. degree from Princeton. McCleskey was a parish minister in the Western N.C. Conference, elected bishop in 1996 and served South Carolina until his assignment to Western North Carolina in 2004. He is a trustee of Duke University.

Eric S. Porterfield of Sanford, N.C., is senior minister at First Baptist Church. A graduate of Wofford College with two degrees from Duke Divinity School, he is serving during 2004-2005 as president of the Divinity School Alumni Association.

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