Strong Support for the Future of Public Policy

 April 7, 2022

Dear Sanford community,

As we continue our celebration of 50 years of public policy at Duke, there is good news to share as we chart a course for Sanford to 100!

Fifty years ago, Terry Sanford had a bold vision for an applied interdisciplinary public policy education founded on a set of ideas that created an advanced knowledge in service of society. In Joel Fleishman, Terry found a willing partner and skilled architect capable of realizing this vision. Today, Duke remains committed to producing knowledge that serves society.

Sanford is engaging in the grand challenges of public policy to address health, national security, democracy, international development, technology, social issues, and the environment. It will take legions of people to address the grand challenges of policy and the work is more important now than ever. We are seeing much support for Sanford’s Strategic Priorities.

Over the past several years, we have been working to secure support for these priorities. We are grateful to many friends who have given generously to support the core. Late in 2019, we announced a $10 million award from The Duke Endowment, which provided educational and research support in three core areas: graduate fellowships, professorships and unrestricted support for strategic investment in programs and people. The Duke Endowment award allowed us to leverage this award with a $2.75 million faculty challenge and a $2 million graduate fellowship challenge, making the total impact of this award $14.75 million. The faculty challenge provides matching funds for one full professorship and one professorship of the practice. 

This week we announce two exciting gifts, which will have direct impact on our Strategic Priorities. These gifts also include special recognition for two much beloved faculty known for their commitment to teaching and mentorship.

An anonymous alumni family has pledged $11 million to Duke, of which is $8.75 million is designated for Sanford. This remarkable gift includes support to establish the Grand Challenges of Public Policy Fellowship, and the creation of two endowed associate professorships honoring Bruce Payne and Tony and Teddie Brown.

I am also thrilled to announce a $1 million gift pledged by the vice chair of the Sanford Board of Visitors, Lori Wood Cashman and her husband Gillis. Lori and Gillis have designated $500,000 of their seven-figure commitment to establish the Tony and Teddie Brown Dean’s Innovation Fund, as well as other support for Sanford.

These are two of many examples showcasing the strength of our community. We are thankful for all of the gifts to Sanford, including to the Annual Fund, providing crucial support for our school and students. These gifts are making a difference to the future of public policy.

Please join me in celebrating all of the friends of Sanford with outrageous ambitions and the courage to pursue them to the end. Together, we can – and will – improve lives and communities long into the future.


Dean Judith Kelley


Dean's blog