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Sanford School Announces Two Hart Leadership Program Professorships of the Practice

November 7, 2019

A $3 million gift to Duke University will support two Hart Leadership Program Professors of the Practice in the Sanford School of Public Policy’s Hart Leadership Program, announced Sanford School Dean Judith Kelley.

The two professorships are funded through a commitment from Milledge A. (Mitch) Hart III and Linda W. Hart, who founded the Hart Leadership Program in 1986 and are longtime friends of the university.

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  • Mitch and Linda Hart with Gunther Peck

    Growth for Hart Leadership Program

    Mitch and Linda Hart with Hart Leadership Program Director Gunther Peck. The Harts, who founded the Hart Leadership Program in 1986, have provided a $3 million gift to support two Hart Leadership Program Professors of the Practice.

The Hart Leadership Program helps students discover the power of leadership for public life. Faculty encourage students to ask bigger questions, discover bolder dreams, and form deeper interests in building thriving communities, institutions, and societies. Through this new gift, the Harts will bring more faculty resources to students in the future.

“We are proud of the success of the Hart Leadership Program, which has made a significant difference at Duke University for almost 35 years,” said Linda Hart. “The Hart Leadership Program in the Sanford School provides a transformational experience for students at Duke, and we are proud to continue to support the program in this way.”

“Early on, being the first undergraduate leadership program in the country, we knew this program would be unique, important and different than other leadership programs at universities,” added Mitch Hart. “We are proud of the way the program continues to grow, evolve and create new experiences for students who are the future of leadership. In this program, students learn about leadership by being leaders. With new faculty, our students will have even more guidance and perspective as they build their skills.”

As the first endowed leadership program for undergraduates in the country, the Hart Leadership Program helps develop students for careers in public life. The program combines classroom and experiential learning in ways that have helped generations of students understand their sense of purpose, explore their strengths and weaknesses and develop the ability to lead in the face of the world’s major challenges.

“One of our school’s strategic priorities has always been to provide undergraduate public policy students with a meaningful, lasting encounter with our major, which inspires them to undertake lives of public service, leadership and civic engagement,” Kelley said. “The Hart Leadership Program is one of our greatest assets to achieve this priority. I am delighted to announce these two new vital professorships — made possible by the Harts’ continued generosity and commitment — which will further recognize the impact of our faculty, students and the Hart Leadership Program on the undergraduate experience.”

The program currently has seven core faculty members, 10 affiliated faculty and three staff members. Gunther Peck, associate professor of public policy and history, became director of the Hart Leadership Program on July 1, 2018.

“As the director of this storied leadership program, I am proud of the history and impact of our faculty, students and alumni,” said Peck. “As one of the jewels of Duke’s undergraduate program, the Hart Leadership Program has been built by the audacious aspirations of my predecessors and hundreds of students whose work, energy and imagination have piloted many of Duke’s signature programs — including research service-learning, scholarship with a civic mission and Duke Engage. The addition of these core faculty members will benefit our community and our students tremendously and help us continue being an incubator for lifelong practices of social and political change, innovation and leadership among our students and alumni.”

The Hart Leadership Program in the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University was founded in 1986 with a gift from the Harts to help nurture leadership abilities in students with a special focus on leadership for public life. For more than 30 years, it has combined classroom and experiential learning in ways that have helped generations of students understand their sense of purpose, explore their strengths and weaknesses, and develop the ability to lead in the face of the world’s major challenges. Since its founding, more than 12,000 Duke undergraduate students have taken courses in the program and participated in experiential learning. Students, faculty and staff have worked with hundreds of community partner organizations in Durham, across the United States and around the world to develop leadership for public life. For more information, visit hart.sanford.duke.edu.

The Duke Sanford School of Public Policy’s mission is to improve lives by researching the most pressing public policy issues and preparing students for lives of leadership, civic engagement and public service. As one of the first interdisciplinary programs geared toward training future public leaders in the nation, Duke’s public policy programs are nationally recognized. The school hosts one of the largest cohort of undergraduate students at the university, as well as a robust professional and graduate program including the MPP, MIDP and Ph.D. programs. The school’s graduate programs are ranked 5th in public policy analysis and the public policy undergraduate major is among Duke’s most popular.