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The Foundation for End of Life Care and the Dade Community Foundation, both located in Miami, Fla., have committed $500,000 each under the terms of the Nicholas Faculty Leadership Initiative (which will add an additional $500,000) in order to fund The Donald J. Gaetz Professorship in Theology and Medicine. The scholar selected will give primary service through the Duke Institute on Care at the End of Life, based in the divinity school.

Donald Gaetz was a founder in the early 1970s, along with Hugh Westbrook D’70 and Esther Colliflower, of Vitas Healthcare Corporation, which became one of the largest and most successful private health care companies in America. Gaetz is a distinguished public school superintendent in the Florida panhandle (Okaloosa County) and a candidate for the Florida state senate. He is a past president and chairman of the board of the National Hospice Organization.

A commitment of $800,000 from Kathleen B. McClendon T’80 and Aubrey K. McClendon T’81 of Oklahoma City, Okla., will name the new organ currently being designed and built by Richards, Fowkes and Company to be installed in Goodson Chapel in late 2006. The McClendons are generous supporters of projects and programs across Duke University.

New permanent scholarship endowment resources for the Divinity School include:

A gift commitment of $500,000 from Ruth W.Williams WC’63 and A. Morris Williams Jr. T’62, G’63 of Gladwyne, Penn., to inaugurate the A. Morris and Annabel Williams Scholarship Fund in memory of his parents. A. Morris Williams Sr. was a member of the divinity school Class of 1932 and a pastor for many years in the North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church. Morris Jr. has served as chairman of the divinity school’s Board of Visitors and as a Duke University trustee.

Friends of the divinity school who prefer to remain anonymous have contributed $400,000 to establish The Charis Scholarship Fund. The Greek word charis means grace, kindness, gift, thankfulness and blessing—especially through the divine influence felt in the heart and manifested in daily life. The scholarship is given “to the glory of God in celebration and thanksgiving for the life of a loved one and to support excellence in education for ministry.”

The Sally McWhorter Spears and Marshall Turner Spears Jr. Scholarship Fund has been fully funded at the $100,000 level with gifts from their grandchildren: Daniel M. Nunn T’01, Leslie C. Grignolo T’05, Maria H. Grignolo, David M. Nunn, and Michael M. Nunn. Mrs. Spears WC’50 and her husband, the late Marshall Spears T’47, have been long-time residents of Durham and generous supporters of Duke and the United Methodist Church. The scholarship gives priority to men and women who are graduates of Duke University and who are from North Carolina or West Virginia.

A gift of $50,000 from Mary R. Haggar of Palm Harbor, Fla., has established the Alexander and Mary Haggar Scholarship Fund for general student financial aid. The late Al Haggar was a long-time member of the divinity school Board of Visitors on which Mary now serves.

An anonymous commitment of $50,000 is establishing The Teaching Congregations Scholarship Fund. This new resource marks the extraordinary role played by Christian congregations in the preparation of students for ministerial service.

Rebecca K. Johnson WC’69 of Winston-Salem, N.C., has pledged $50,000 for the Owen Hawes Johnson Memorial Scholarship Fund named for her great-great-grandfather, Owen Hawes Johnson (1814-1890), a Methodist church leader who served North Carolina churches in Bladen and Sampson counties. The fund celebrates the education of her family at Duke over three generations and deep roots of faith in the United Methodist connection for more than 200 years, and it encourages the tradition of strong leadership for the church.

We have also received generous support from the Foundation for Evangelism at Lake Junaluska, N.C., to support post-doctoral fellows and teaching in evangelism along with funds from The Duke Endowment for leadership development for rural church pastors.

“The Divinity School is blessed by these extraordinary gifts,” said Dean L. Gregory Jones. “We work hard to merit the trust of donors and to sustain momentum. Now as we complete the building addition, a renewed focus must be placed upon our highest fund-raising priority: endowment for student scholarships.

Each of these commitments has a wonderful story behind it, added Jones, whether inspired by a beloved family member, a response to perceived need, a timely opportunity for generosity, or an expression of thanksgiving for faithful leadership and service.

“For all of these, and for the impact each contribution will have through the divinity school and the church over generations to come, we are deeply grateful,” said Jones.

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