has announced a gift of $1.9 million from board chair David M. Rubenstein to expand programming, fund building renovations, and enhance the college experience for Jewish students.
The gift includes $1.5 million in support of new initiatives and staff positions at — which includes the and the Rubenstein-Silvers Hillel — and $400,000 for renovations to the Freeman Center building. New programs will reflect growing student demand for information and resources related to globalization, leadership, and community. Rebecca Simons, director of Jewish Life at Duke, plans to launch an awareness campaign to get more Jewish students — who comprise between 10 percent and 12 percent of the university's student population — involved in the center and to expand outreach efforts targeting prospective students.
Rubenstein's second gift to Jewish Life at Duke — following a $1 million endowment gift to help cover operating costs for the Freeman Center — will count toward the university's seven-year, $3.25 billion fundraising campaign, which he co-chairs.
"When I came to Duke in the mid-1960s, Jewish life was almost invisible," said Rubenstein, a 1970 Duke graduate and co-founder and co-CEO of the Carlyle Group. "Now it is a vibrant and essential part of the university that is growing every year. It is my hope that Jewish students and their families will think of Duke as a destination for a great education and a positive Jewish experience."