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David Arrington, chief financial officer and associate dean for finance and administration, is among the recipients of this year’s Duke Presidential Awards. Arrington has served more than 20 years at Sanford and nearly 40 years at Duke.

Colleagues credit Arrington for helping set a tone of selflessness and inclusion at the Sanford School both with his positive attitude and willingness to meet challenges head on.

When the COVID-19 pandemic forced much of the school’s staff to work remotely, Arrington volunteered to serve as the Return to Work Coordinator, answering colleagues’ questions about safety protocols and university policies. Prior to 2020, he also pushed for a more equitable atmosphere at the school by helping develop fair hiring guidelines and setting up gender-neutral bathrooms.

And in his role overseeing the school’s buildings, he has also been known to move furniture, set-up tents to help with physical distancing and even pull weeds on the grounds.

“He works tirelessly on behalf of the school and all employees to create a community culture,” said Sanford School Dean Judith Kelley. “David truly embodies the values of our university in his actions, words and decisions. Every day, David brings Duke’s shared values to the forefront of his work – respect, trust, inclusion, discovery and excellence.”

The Presidential Awards program, organized by the Office of the President in partnership with Duke Human Resources, recognizes individuals and teams from the University and Health System who best demonstrate the values that define and shape Duke as an institution. The awards is one of the highest honors given by Duke to staff and faculty members. 

The challenges facing Duke in the past year were varied and numerous, and the Duke Presidential Awards for 2020 recognize the historic contributions of teams and individuals. The award winners were celebrated at a virtual ceremony on April 14 at 4 pm.

“I am delighted to congratulate this year’s Presidential Award winners, who were selected from our most competitive ever field of nominees,” said Duke University President Vincent E. Price. “Over the past year, we have faced unprecedented challenges as a community, and the leadership of these awardees has helped keep us safe, healthy, and engaged—and on course toward a more inclusive and vibrant future for Duke. We can all be proud to call them colleagues.”