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TOWERVIEW K-VILLE GONE SOFT | POLITICAL MIXOLOGY | CRAIGSLIST IN REAL LIFE

OCTOBER 2009

From the Allen Building to Research Drive to Cameron Indoor Stadium, from Wall Street to Capitol Hill to Silicon Valley, Dukies are prominent.

Some are more powerful than others.

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THE WHO MATTER MOST

THE

POWER ISSUE


from the editors O

ne ring of people to rule the world; one issue to f ind them, one school to bring them all and in the darkness bind them. Sure, Duke dropped to No. 10 in the ever-f ickle U.S. News & World Repor t’s college rankings, and yes, it seems like almost anyone associated with power has seen it depreciate in the last year. But our view is that there’s truth in power, and

TOWERVIEW Chelsea Allison and Ben Cohen EDITORS-IN-CHIEF

Lawson Kurtz

DIRECTOR OF ART

Christine Hall

Naureen Khan

Will Robinson

Alex Klein

ASSOCIATE EDITOR EXECUTIVE EDITOR

ASSOCIATE EDITOR

Caroline McGeough ASSOCIATE EDITOR

EDITOR, TV ONLINE

ar t s & let ter s

Libby Busdicker, Michael Naclerio, Faith Robertson, Maya Robinson, Chase Olivieri CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS

Nim Barshad, Andrew Hibbard, Julia Love, Andy Moore, Sam Schlinkert, Taylor Doherty, Eugene Wang CONTRIBUTING WRITERS

business & produc t ion

Jonathan Angier GENERAL MANAGER

Barbara Starbuck

PRODUCTION MANAGER

Mary Weaver

OPERATIONS MANAGER

Chrissy Beck

ADVERTISING DIRECTOR

Rebecca Dickenson RETAIL SALES MANAGER

Margaret Potter

Student Sales Manager

TOWERVIEW is a subsidiary of The Chronicle and is published by the Duke Student Publishing Company, Inc., a nonprofit corporation independent of Duke University. The opinions expressed in this magazine are not necessarily those of Duke University, its students, faculty, staff, administration or trustees. Columns, letters and car toons represent the views of the authors. To reach The Chronicle’s editorial office at 301 Flowers Building, call (919) 684-2663 or fax (919) 684-4696. To reach The Chronicle’s business office at 103 West Union Building, call (919) 684-3811. To reach The Chronicle’s adver tising office at 101 West Union Building, call (919) 684-3811 or fax (919) 684-8295. Contact the adver tising office for information on subscriptions. Visit The Chronicle and TOWERVIEW online at dukechronicle.com. 2009 The Chronicle, Box 90858, Durham, N.C. 27708. All rights reserved No par t of this publication may be reproduced in any form without the prior, written permission of the business office. Each individual is entitled to one free copy.

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ranging from the f ine ar ts to the corporate world, Dukies cer tainly have it—and it’s more valuable than ever. Among our esteemed alumni is Aaron Patzer—Pratt ’05 and creator of Mint.com, which Intuit just bought for $170 million— who checks in with associate editor Caroline McGeough. There’s a group of Duke men who once played puppeteers to Wall Street and presided over Duke’s pursestrings as Trustees, and there are representatives from Washington, D.C., a town swelling with newly minted graduates with public policy degrees, looking to make a difference in the world—and a cer tain former Duke Basketball player who now serves as President Barack Obama’s right-hand man. Then we have Trustee Dr. Paul Farmer, Trinity ’82, founder of Par tners In Health and inspiration for the Pulitzer Prize-winning book, “Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World.” Speaking of print, take Elizabeth Spiers—Trinity ’99, the founding editor of Gawker.com and Dead Horse Media’s Dealbreaker.com—who’s plugging away on a novel herself. That’s not to forget the bigwigs on campus: those who preside over the Allen Building, those students who dominate the hardwood, others bound for concer t circuits or Congress. Duke’s First Lady even takes us inside the mind of the woman who calls Har t House home. With that, we present TOWERVIEW’s inaugural Power Issue. It’s by no means comprehensive, but we pinpoint some of the men and women who, however you feel about their politics or their jumpshot, are impor tant. In these pages, TOWERVIEW takes stock of 50 notable alumni, students and administrators, highlighting achievement in their fields. And who knows? Maybe you’ll be on there one day, too.

Contact us at towerview0910@gmail.com or send letters to Towerview Magazine, Box 90858, Durham, NC 27708.


VOLUME 11, ISSUE 3

BLUE DEVIL CROSSING PAGE 5

syllabus

The coaches next to Mike Krzyzewski are a who’s who of Duke stars. So how did CHRIS SPATOLA make his way to Cameron?

THE DEVIL’S DETAILS

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The secret collection of JOSEPH MITCHELL, BEERS with political leaders, the scene inside the f irst-ever COUNTDOWN TO CRAZINESS and a quest to f ind a couch on CRAIGSLIST.

DUKE’S POWER PLAYERS PAGE 16

Wall to Main Streets, D.C. to Soho and even between Chapel Dr. and Towerview Rd., THESE 50 MEN AND WOMEN have made their mark on the world beyond the Wonderland.

IN DURHAM, AT DUKE PAGE 24

AARON GREENWALD views his charge as director of Duke Performances simply: realize the University’s potential as a bastion for fine arts performances, and fill seats. Oh, and bring really great artists in, too.

ROADSIDE WISDOM PAGE 30

Students may recognize CYNTHIA BRODHEAD as the other resident of Hart House, but there’s plenty you don’t know about Duke’s First Lady.

NIM BARSHAD is an Israeli-born, Boston-raised Trinity senior. He’s determined to sell his TV pilot before he graduates but he has to write it first. It will probably feature zero vampires, hilarious banter and the closest possible substitute for Michael J. Fox circa 1985.

Junior LAWSON KURTZ enjoys a double life as a photographer and a pre-med biology major. He sometimes enjoys piadinis, and he always enjoys power. Red Bull isn’t bad, either. The horse’s name is Saturday.

TAYLOR DOHERTY, a sophomore economics major, considers the fact that people call Duke “The University of New Jersey at Durham” a great compliment. He writes a bi-weekly sports column for The Chronicle and is a member of Wayne Manor.

TOWE K-VILLE

GON E SOF

T | POL ITICAL MIXOLO GY

on the cover For a series about him in The Chronicle last year, PRESIDENT RICHARD BRODHEAD posed for some photographs in his Allen Building office. In some, he put his feet up on his rectangular desk; in this one, he just smiled for MAYA ROBINSON behind the lens. About six months later, the shot made our cover—because really, on a college campus, who has more power than the president?

RVIEW | CRA

IGSLIST IN

REAL

LIFE

From the to Rese Allen Build Cameron arch Driv ing e from Wal Indoor Stad to ium, l Stre Hill to Silicon et to Capitol Valle are prom y, Duk ies inent.

Som powerfue are mo l than re others .

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THE MATT ER

WHO MOST

THE

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bus stop

CHRIS SPATOLA DIRECTOR OF BASKETBALL OPER ATIONS

P H OTO B Y FA I T H R O B E R T S O N

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he family often debates the details, but if you ask Jamie Spatola, it all star ted with a dare. Jamie, the daughter of Mike Krzyzewski, was working at Duke’s summer basketball camp doing odd jobs and managing the camp’s bank when, one day, Chris Spatola, a camper and rising senior in high school, came up and introduced himself. “I’m not sure if it was to be funny, at first, since I was Coach’s daughter or whatever, but I think there was some sor t of dare between the two brothers,” she says. “I’ve only gotten bits and pieces of the story over the years.... We were both very, very young, so I think there was some funny business between him and his brother going on with that.” “Her version, you can ask her,” Chris Spatola says with a laugh. “I don’t want to get into what I think her version is.” >>> 5


bus stop But no one disputes what happened next. Jamie started coming to Chris’s games during camp, and the two ate meals together between sessions. By the time Spatola was a sophomore at the United States Military Academy, the friendship had blossomed into romance. Now, a decade later, Spatola paces the hardwood of Cameron Indoor Stadium, ready to address the program’s summer camp as Duke’s director of basketball operations. Ring on his finger, back on the floor where his adult life started. Beyond meeting his wife on this court, Spatola played two games against Duke as a cadet at West Point and even held his wedding reception here. Spatola looks at the 700 campers, the crowd he once sat among. For him, it’s tough not to get caught up in it all. “I’ve got to pinch myself a lot. It’s funny how it has come full circle,” Spatola says later in his office in Schwartz-Butters. “That’s when it’s really surreal for me— when I’m standing in front of the camp on the first day.... It’s a little bit overwhelming, to be honest.” Back in Cameron, Spatola stops his gait. There’s work to do.

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onsidering the couple’s history, it only made sense to hold the wedding reception in Cameron. The stadium was dressed splendidly for the occasion. A metal grid covered with fabric created a new ceiling and hid the seats in the upper bowl. The Cameron Crazies’ bleachers had been folded in, and the floor, covered with a massive carpet, was topped with white cloths on blue and pink tables. Krzyzewski, the bride’s father, stood up to give a toast. “You know Jamie, I actually picked him before you did,” Krzyzewski began. A layer below the temporary floor, almost a decade before the wedding day, Krzyzewski had seen promise in the guard before most other Division-I coaches. Spatola grew up fascinated with New Jersey native Bobby Hurley’s game. Chris’s father, Mike, was a member of Krzyzewski’s staff during his summer camp, and Chris was among the best players to attend. But Krzyzewski knew that Spatola, at just 5-foot-10 and 150 pounds, probably didn’t have the ability to play at a place like Duke. Still, Krzyzewski insisted he was a Division-I-caliber player, so he called Army head coach Dino Gaudio and gave his pitch: Spatola had the potential to be an excellent player and an even better cadet. As a former Army man himself— not to mention one of the most success6

TOWERVIEW

ful coaches of all time—Krzyzewski’s endorsement carried weight, and his words confirmed Army’s previous evaluation of Spatola. The Black Knights extended an offer, and just months later, Spatola was on campus. By sophomore year, Jamie had officially become his girlfriend, and Army visited Duke twice in Spatola’s time at the Academy. Despite his strong play—the box scores from those two games hang framed in Spatola’s office—his team was trounced by the Blue Devils, 100-42 and 91-48. After the game, Krzyzewski called Spatola

“Let’s be honest,” Spatola says. “Coach has been here for 30 years. He’s in the Hall of Fame. He’s coaching the elite team in the country in the Olympic team. Where else are you going to learn? It’s a basketball doctorate.”

into his office. The coach’s intensity vanished. Krzyzewski the opposing coach became Krzyzewski the mentor. “They had beaten us by 40, and I hate to lose, especially like that,” Spatola recalls. “He [said he] thought we had a good team, which we did, and that you can’t let something like this get you down.”

A

lthough Spatola had wanted to be a college coach for a number of years, a military commitment as West Point cadet delayed his move from the court to the bench. In August of 2005, a year after marrying Jamie, Spatola

headed off to Baghdad to serve as a battery commander. As an officer, he led a team of 15 men running security in part of the Green Zone, specifically at the al-Rasheed Hotel and the convention center in which the Iraqi Parliament met. He helped the military oversee security at checkpoints, ran counter-mortar operations in the general area of the buildings and coordinated regular, three-to-four-mile patrols. Securing the buildings was especially difficult during the Saddam Hussein trial because the al-Rasheed Hotel housed many witnesses—that is, they were high-value targets, Spatola says. And when the Iraqis had their first free elections, insurgent activity seemed to be a distinct possibility. A world away, his newlywed wife couldn’t do anything but worry. “It was obviously really hard at the time,” Jamie Spatola says. “And the way I think about it now is that it’s something I would never, ever want to have happen again…. It was really good for us, because what are we going to have to do that’s much more difficult than that in the course of our marriage?” Spatola served in the military for five years and was recognized for his “exceptional service” in Operation Iraqi Freedom before returning to the U.S. safely. His military career complete, it was only a matter of time before he returned to Cameron: Spatola has now been on the Duke staff for two seasons. Though he admits that he has coaching aspirations, for now, he is content to roam the floor of Cameron Indoor, taking advantage of the chance to learn from one of college basketball’s greatest. The similarities between Spatola and his father-in-law are notable. As point guards, both were captains of West Point’s basketball teams. Both have reputations as high-character family men and loyal friends. The two even lived at the same military base—Fort Sill, Okla.—immediately after getting married. And now, of course, they’re family. “I want to be a head coach eventually, but I’m learning a lot now and I’m in a great situation,” Spatola says. “Let’s be honest, Coach has been here for 30 years, he’s in the Hall of Fame, he’s coaching the [most] elite team in the country in the Olympic team. Where else are you going to learn? It’s a basketball doctorate…. Eventually something will come up, and I’ll jump at it.” All those years ago—before he was married, before he was a cadet, before he worked for Duke—Spatola sat on the court. Now he stands on it. Someday, he’ll take a jump from it. —TAYLOR DOHERTY


FOOD OR FLEX?

What is a PIADINI? It’s delicious, that’s what. It’s a glob of lettuce, cheese, tomato, oil, pesto and other special sauces on a big hunk of flatbread. It’s baked. Then Great Hall employees serve it on this triangular plate. Dig in. Forks are optional. Fold it up. Pretend it’s like a giant Italian taco. It really is tasty. —LAWSON KURTZ

THE GREEN LIGHT

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know next to nothing about our Chapel. I think I’ve only been inside it once—Maya Angelou comes every month, right?— and what’s more, I’m about as religious as a Marxist eating Chinese take-out on Christmas morning. But sometimes, when I ride the C-1 around the Chapel circle, silently taking in its four peaks contrasting with the setting sun, pink and gold slipping around the stilled bells, I feel a tingle of nostalgia. I feel proud when I walk by tourists and parents and pre-frosh and alumni posing with their families in front of it, personalizing their own postcard. And I see now why veteran tour guides stop their groups in its shadow to lecture on Duke’s history and answer any questions. In shor t, I’m in love with THE IDEA OF THE CHAPEL. With its English Gothic architecture and a bell tower modeled after the one on top of the Canterbury Cathedral, a casual glance could put its founding at 602 AD. Personally, I like to think it’s mid-

15th century, though I suppose our University’s founding would put it at a gentrif ied 80. Either way, the feigned antiquity conveys stability, and nothing says antiquity like a now comfor tably non-denominational church that could have been built in the 7th or 15th centuries. There are hundreds of older, more distinguished edifices out there that tour groups were visiting before James B. Duke was in diapers. Notre Dame in Paris, Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, Westminster Abbey in London—all are older and, frankly, more glorious than our homely, 210-foot tall edifice. But I wouldn’t trade our Chapel for any of them. For us, it is no longer a building to f it in one’s view f inder or—God forbid (oops!)— pose in front of as a pre-frosh. It is par t of our home, and whether we’ve entered it religiously every Sunday morning or just at the bookends of our Duke career, we cannot separate our experience from the idea of the Chapel. —SAM SCHLINKERT

THE GREEN LIGHT

bus stop

Twice a year, upperclassmen go through the spirited ritual of corporate recruiting. Suits get dusted off, resumes polished and the padfolio sales at the Duke Store skyrocket. Otherwise diligent students sacrifice class par ticipation for flights to New York, all in the hopes of scoring a sweet job offer. Usually, it all star ts with NETWORKING. These introductions’ real value is in training students in self-salesmanship; the majority of the actual “information” at information sessions isn’t information at all. As any veteran recruitee knows, it isn’t about what the company representatives have to say—it’s being given the oppor tunity to show off. A student who asks a banker about how federal short selling restrictions might prove deleterious to quant trading models doesn’t actually care about the answer. Possibly, the student isn’t sure what his question means. What the student cares about is that the firm now knows he is in the “know.” Congrats, kid! You know how to regurgitate a Journal article. But learning how to be somewhat disingenuous is just a byproduct of the rat race. And the skill is undoubtedly important to any job: consultants need to sell what is essentially a PowerPoint presentation; financiers need to convince investors to cough up millions; journalists have to persuade themselves that people still read newspapers. The ability to sell a product that isn’t as good as it appears is important in all careers. Hell, the entire marketing and advertising industry is built on this principle. Recruitment can be frustrating and time-consuming, and it always hurts to get rejected, but it teaches valuable skills—namely, being able to convince someone you just met that your skills and background warrant employment over every other “unique” candidate. It isn’t an easy task. And if it doesn’t work out, go ahead and convince yourself it wasn’t your fault. —EUGENE WANG

TOWERVIEW

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TOWERVIEW

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the devil’s details

THE SPORTING SCENE

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wo weeks ago marked one of Duke’s most time-honored traditions: the start of basketball season. But instead of the annual Blue-White game, the athletic department decided to try something new. In addition to the intrasquad scrimmage that students have grown accustomed to, Crazies entering Cameron Indoor Stadium were met with the University’s own version of Midnight Madness—starting at 7 p.m.!—called Countdown to Craziness. Next to Krzyzewskiville, an enlarged video board counted down the minutes and seconds until the season started. Inside, hoards of freshmen made their inaugural march to the student section. Duke University Improv came out and performed a sketch about the Blue Devil mascot coming down with H1N1. They then showed a video where the players had to find jobs, as their season had been canceled because the Blue Devils were too

good for other teams. Jon Scheyer was asked if he wanted to play quarterback for Syracuse. Steve Johnson served the “Sweaty Johnson” protein shake at Quenchers. Seth Curry was told he couldn’t find a job for another season, per NCAA rules. It was all in good fun. Then, after waiting for more than two hours, a crowd of anxious and excited students cheered as the team stepped onto the court in front of a sea of fans for the first time since last spring. Ryan Kelly, with his tall, thin frame, to the tune of “Iron Man.” Brian Zoubek, of a newly bearded visage, to “Baby Got Back.” And Scheyer, the last of the Blue Devils to enter, to a recording of The Killers singing, “I’ve got soul, but I’m not a soldier,” befitting the heart of the new-look squad. Finally—after enduring the lines, skits, lights and waiting—the fans witnessed their team play its first game of the season, and the event began to lose steam. For an hour,

the Crazies performed an exercise in awkward cheering. Do you cheer for a block, or express your sympathies for the guy who just got stuffed? When Lance Thomas draws a hard foul from Kyle Singler, do you chant, “You, you, you” at your own team’s best player? The lack of heckling and applause made for a surreal scene. Perhaps, though, the Crazies were just confused—they were without cheer sheets for the game. (Oh, how easy it is to miss the good ol’ days of spontaneous cruelty, when a player accused of plagiarism was greeted with cheers of, “Where’s Olden? At the copy machine?” and when Steve Hale, after suffering a punctured lung, had to hear “In-Hale, Ex-Hale” all game long.) Hearing the Crazies struggle through unoriginal and lackluster cheers was disheartening. And, frankly, when I walked through the doors of Cameron—flashing a press credential and wading through the sea of humanity preparing to pack themselves TOWERVIEW

P H OTO B Y L AW S O N K U R T Z

THE START OF SOMETHING GOOD

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EXHIBITIONISM

JOE MITCHELL’S SECRET COLLECTION

CAMERON INDOOR STADIUM: 96,8000 RESULTS

DUKE LEMUR CENTER: 461,000 RESULTS

GOOGLE

HITS BY LANDMARK

DUKE CHAPEL: 991,000 RESLUTS

like sardines in the bleachers—I wondered why Coach K and the athletic department spent huge sums of money on what amounted to be a glorified practice session, albeit one followed by a performance from those two hipsters who pranced around Times Square nude in that music video. (I’m told their names are Matt and Kim.) Surely the three national championships, 15 current players in the NBA and Krzyzewski’s recent status as savior of Team USA would be incentive enough for wideeyed youngsters to spend the next one to four years competing for our amusement in the nonpareil arena. Despite what Malcolm Gladwell says about the faultlessness of the snap judgment, mine was wrong. Very, very wrong. The fact is, the entire celebration was well-done and impressive and, really, much more right for the program than the previous years’ Blue-White games. Maybe it was the dunk contest, in which Nolan Smith stripped off his jersey and shorts to reveal a Johnny Dawkins throwback, complete with short shorts. He lost, but by then, it didn’t really matter, precisely because of the other charms on display. Even Josh Hairston and Tyler Thornton, recruits from the class of 2010, noticed. When they walked across the court with the house lights down and the specially-made spotlights hanging just below the retired jerseys going wild circling the hardwood beneath them, the awe on their faces was obvious. They must have seen what I saw: a celebration of Dr. Naismith’s great game, and­—with Christian Laettner, Bobby Hurley and Jay Williams in attendance—a celebration of Duke basketball’s rich history. For the students, it went beyond that. It was a celebration of the beautiful sense of hope that blows in with the crisp autumn air at the start of every season. Even though last year’s graduating class never saw a Final Four appearance or a win in Cameron against that pesky team eight miles down the road, there was hope when the Crazies flooded out into the soonto-be-erected tent city. Every team was still undefeated. It just might be Duke’s year. —ANDY MOORE

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oseph Mitchell, the iconic New Yorker writer with roots in Fairmont, N.C., started furiously collecting doorknobs, nails, bottles and the like around the time he stopped publishing his profiles of misfits, cranks and other ordinary characters that, collectively, reflected the pulse of the New York City he encountered in 1929. His last, and best, profile, “Joe Gould’s Secret,” appeared in two parts in 1964. And even though he trudged to the typewriter in his office for the next 31 years, he never published another piece in the magazine. “Yes, he wrote. He wrote all the time,” his daughter, Liz, said recently at the Center for Documentary Studies, which hosted a discussion and reception for The Collector, an exhibit of photographs of the knick-knacks Mitchell built up over the years. With about 75 other guests, Mitchell’s daughter sat in the back row of the small auditorium, and she listened to Steve Featherstone, the exhibit’s photographer, and Paul Maliszewski, the writer, talk about their project as high-resolution snapshots of the vases and floortiles and everything else Mitchell collected scrolled on a drop-down projector behind them. Through his written works— which, in book form, rested on

the mantle over a fireplace in one the exhibition’s two expansive rooms—Mitchell is often said to be New York City’s equivalent of James Joyce, who wanted Ulysses to be detailed enough to rebuild Dublin should catastrophe strike. Mitchell’s collection operates the same way. Instead of meticulous portraits with understated sentences, Mitchell’s blueprint for the city consists of rocks, buttons and tiles. Featherstone and Maliszewski came across the collection when they visited Nora Sanborn, Mitchell’s other daughter, in New Jersey and combed through box upon box, only to discover the other half of the collection waited at Liz’s home. “It was, just—” said Featherstone, searching for the word. “Speechless,” said Maliszewski, who first wrote extensively about the collection in a 2004 issue of Granta. “I think we’re still speechless.” “Well, yeah.” They found, among so many other memorables: navy Brooks Brothers boxes with gold trim, filled with rocks from 1974; two cut nails pulled from bricks in the classic Tiffany’s box, complete with white bow; badges to reward perfect Sunday School attendance that Mitchell found in


the devil’s details

POLITICOS

THE BEER SUMMIT

his childhood home; and, from the day Liz married in the Plaza Hotel, a loose doorknob that Mitchell pilfered and then presented to his daughter as a gift. “It’s not the type of thing you see at Sotheby’s,” Featherstone said. From there, it was Featherstone’s duty to photograph the collection—to capture, as he said, “the thingyness of the thing.” Most of the pieces are offset with piercing white backgrounds, which blended gently with the light gray walls of the exhibition. There are few tags for identification. For some, there were notes, scribbled and typed on New Yorker letterhead. The earliest dates back to July 10, 1969. (“I liked stuff that came with notes,” Featherstone said wryly.) As the exhibition continues into the second room, there are more quotes about Mitchell from other writers—testimonials, as if he needed further validation. “This wasn’t something he was grabbing off the streets and not thinking about again,” Maliszewski said. “It was reporter’s habit of seeing and understanding.” As a reporter, Mitchell was almost unparalleled. He spent months observing his subjects, gripping the cadence of their diction as he observed their interactions with the people around

them, and in his profiles, he wrote with that wonderful writerly trait: empathy. He presented fact as such, and he never passed judgment. Even when he was a character—as he was in his sprawling profile of Joe Gould, of course— Mitchell wrote directly and honestly, with easy, lyrical prose. In this collection, Mitchell’s medium wasn’t words, but artifacts. If his magazine pieces captured the soul of New York City, then the collection was another sort of profile: one of the architecture and spectacle of New York City. The charm of Mitchell’s collection rested not in the individual beauty of the objects, but in the collective value of the time capsule. “Do either of you collect anything?” asked Courtney ReidEaton, the discussion’s moderator, who joined the two on an elevated stage. “I try not to,” Featherstone said, “because it’s one of those things that you cannot stop once you start.” “I asked my wife on the drive down if I collect anything,” Maliszewski said. “And she said, ‘You collect everything.’” “Some people would say they don’t collect,” Reid-Eaton said. “But I think everybody collects. I think we can’t help it.” —BEN COHEN

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ou can tell a lot about a person’s worldview from their Facebook statuses. OK, maybe not a lot. But definitely something. Take, for example, what Ben Bergmann and Vikram Srinivasan—arguably the most visible political figures on campus as far as Duke students go—had to say on their respective pages the day it was announced President Obama had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Bergmann, a junior and the president of Duke Democrats for two years running: “Ben will have a permanent quizzical expression for the day because of the Nobel Prize pick. But isn’t it great when the RNC, John Bolton, Hamas, and the Taliban can agree on something?” Srinivasan, a senior and the ex-chair of the Duke College Republicans, now the organization’s Executive Director: “First the nobel—next, sainthood.” They’re both a bit clever and a good deal snarky and, most important, they definitely hint at their disparate political affiliations and ideologies. But they’re not as different as you might imagine for two people who are on diametrically opposite ends of the political spectrum. I found it odd, too, when I spied Bergmann and Srinivasan haunting the third floor of Perkins together in the wee hours of morning in the throes of midterm week, their laptops open side by side, each with a browser tab set to Politico—although it is also important to note that Srinivasan was rocking a stylish pair of yellow earplugs, and that Ben likes to talk. As former Local/National editor of The Chronicle, I’m well aware of what can happen when people of opposing political persuasions and high passions are put in the same room, especially when they know, or think they know, what they’re talking about. Think Keith Olbermann and Bill O’Reilly. Think of the protests that devolved into shouting TOWERVIEW

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matches outside each of the campaign rallies for Obama and McCain last year in North Carolina. But could it be possible that Srinivasan and Bergmann have actually figured out how to see past the fact that they disagree on just about everything, all to forge a real friendship? The best way to test such a theory was to convene TOWERVIEW’s first-ever Beer Summit, à la the meeting President Obama called to order on the Rose Garden Patio with Henry Louis Gates Jr. and his arresting officer, Sgt. James Crowley, in the aftermath of their infamous dispute. This round, Bud Lights would have to do. We met on a Friday evening in Bergmann’s Central Campus apartment, where, by my count, 10 Obama posters adorned the walls—not including stickers and miscellaneous other political paraphernalia. Walking in and looking around, Srinivasan shrugged, looking slightly amused. He’s used to being surrounded by Obama-philes among college-age students; his own roommate has decor to rival Bergmann’s. “I’ve been in liberal environments my whole life,” the California native said. “I can handle it.” As they settled in on the couch and forgot the tape recorder was rolling, a few things were immediately apparent. First, Bergmann and Srinivasan are easy friends, of

matching political fervor. In fact, they might be the only two people on campus who can keep up with each other. Despite the subtle jabs they not-so-infrequently lob at the other’s political stripes and the equally subtle eye-rolls that follow such remarks, there isn’t the slightest hint of animosity. If anything, the rivalry is more comedic than dramatic, with the two going off-the-record during bits and pieces of the conversation to get in a little gossip. “We realize we both come to our positions independently and at some point there are irreconcilable philosophical differences, and you can respect that,” Srinivasan said. “You can disagree and not be disagreeable,” Bergmann chimed in. “And we do agree on some things.” Like farm subsidies, for example. Or the Student Organization Finance Committee’s process for funding student groups. “Fairness is not a partisan issue!” Bergmann said emphatically. It was also clear that the two have an encyclopedic, borderline obsessive knowledge of all things politics. In a friendly Sporcleesque competition staged by yours truly, Srinivasan rattled off 59 senators in 10 minutes. Bergmann came in at a close second with 57, although both insisted on snatching their pieces of paper back to write down the ones

BY THE NUMBERS

27.5 Percent loss to the Duke Endowment, from $6.1 billion to $4.4 billion during the 2009 Fiscal Year. It was the largest hit to the endowment in recent memory.

4,213,882 Dollars in funding over 57 months awarded to Provost Peter Lange on behalf of the Pratt Dean’s Off ice from the National Institutes of Health for a project called “Ex tramural Research Facilities Improvement Program.”

285 Liquor law violations on campus repor ted in the 2008 Clery Repor t.

15,047,984

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Dollars in expenses by Mike Krzyzewski’s team from Oct. 2007 to Oct. 2008, the most of any men’s basketball program, according to the school’s Equity in Athletics Data Analysis repor t. The University of Kansas spent the second-most with $9,386,335.

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5 Time in the afternoon when the Rare Book Room closes on Saturdays during the school year. It is closed completely during the winter reading and exam period.

TOWERVIEW

that eluded them for just a second too long. (“I can’t remember the gay guy from South Carolina! I know him, I can tell you everything about him, but I can’t tell you his name,” Bergmann muttered as his hand moved frantically down the page. “We don’t know for sure that he’s gay!” was Srinivasan’s response as he jotted down name after name. “Do you want the parties too?”) But Bergmann and Srinivasan are political purists at heart, not just junkies. There’s a difference, they insist. They get just as excited about discussing the minutiae of policy as they do about predicting the results of the 2010 midterm elections. They fill in each other sentence’s when speaking of their respective experiences working on various political campaigns. Both are even-keeled and respectful of their other’s positions. And that just might be the cornerstone of their amicable friendship and professional relationship. Both have found the level of policital activity and engagement on campus—with the exception of the run-up to the 2008 elections— to be something of a let-down, especially after spending summers in D.C. immersed in politics. (As a sidenote, guess who happened to waltz into The Heritage Foundation, the conservative think tank where Srinivasan was interning? Bergmann, of course. He was a representative for the Center for Think Progress, The Heritage Foundation’s liberal counterpart. They just can’t seem to stay away from each other.) “It was frustrating for someone who was into that environment and wanted to continue and I knew Ben was on the same page,” Srinivasan said. “We thought this was part of a campus culture that needed to change. And it was something that Democrats and Republicans could agree on.” Who knows? Maybe in 30 years, you’ll see Sens. Srinivasan and Bergmann shaking hands over a bipartisan bill in Congress. Maybe it will even concern farm subsidies. “I think Vikram’s a nice guy who believes in crazy things,” Bergmann explained. “And I’m a nice guy who also believes crazy things.” —NAUREEN KHAN

P H OTO B Y L AW S O N K U R T Z

the devil’s details


the devil’s details

DURHAM DIARY

FOR SALE

P H OTO B Y L AW S O N K U R T Z

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veryone knows that Craigslist is a great tool for soliciting weird sex and conducting prostitution stings. But beneath that, it’s also a lively classifieds forum for local commerce and employment. Proponents of the Slow Food movement express the desire to know the story of their food—to have face-to-face interaction with the person that grew their avocadoes, or whatever. When you use Craigslist, that kind of experience is forced on you. You could have pulled a PlayStation 3 off the rack at the local corporate megastore, but instead you’re knocking on the back door of some dude’s van behind the Olive Garden hoping that “PlayStation 3” isn’t Craigslist slang for “rape fantasy.” Or maybe a nice old lady greets you with freshly baked cookies when you show up to inquire about a free bookshelf. It’s that human element that makes Craigslist antiInternet. In my layman understanding, the Web was invented so that we could anonymously deride one another’s religion and sexual orientation on YouTube message boards; Craigslist coaxes us to give up that all-empowering anonymity, to become human ambassadors for our online identities. A few years ago, my roommate and I drove to Holly Springs, about 35 miles south of Duke, to check out a car listing. (The impetus was that he had promised his militant girlfriend to sort out their trip home for Thanksgiving but was not in

MISSED CONNECTIONS OCTOBER 9, 1:11 A.M. MEN FOR WOMEN DUKE HOSPITAL Ok so of course its a total longshot but.... I saw you today and very cover tly read your badge... I am no stalker and even if you see this and reply I probably wouldnt reply back ( ok I might...). I just wanted to tell you one thing... You miss, are one of the hottest women I have EVER seen in the triangle. Period..... Hopefully I can enjoy my lunches there in the future as much as I did today. OCTOBER 15, 2:41 P.M. WOMEN FOR MEN BROAD ST. WHOLE FOODS I saw you today behind the butcher’s counter at the Durham Whole Foods. When you asked if you could help me, I said, “No, this just caught my eye” and you smiled and said, “Thank you.” Of course my response was that the feta and spinach sausage had caught my eye but now that you mention it.... you were quite eye catching as well....

possession of a functioning vehicle. When he saw the last-minute prices for holiday flights to New York, he exclaimed that it would be cheaper to buy a car, which was consequential word choice because here we were.) From what I could tell, there was a decree in this part of North Carolina that everyone must live in a trailer and decorate their property with an auto part graveyard. When we found the address from the Craigslist description, a kid around our age met us out front. He led us over to the fully rusted ’87 Crown Victoria that we had seen in the picture—an old police edition. It looked like a scrapped-together Frankenstein, like the sad ghost of a tortured American car. Our host banged his fist down on the trunk and it creaked open. “See, it’s got the gun rack already in there. That’s 20 bucks you save off the bat.” My roommate looked over at me and shrugged. “We won’t even have to buy a gun rack!” Curtis, as he introduced himself, lectured us on the finer points of the vehicle. Most strikingly, it was missing a fuel pump. His big brother would be coming by after work to remedy that situation, but until then, Curtis was more than happy to show us how she ran in neutral. We helped him push the Crown Vic up to the top of a hill TOWERVIEW

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the devil’s details on Old Mill Lane or Wheelbarrow Road, or whatever the streets were named. The backseat was littered with empty weed bags, blunt wraps and pages ripped from car magazines. As expected, the car ran pretty well in neutral, but neither of us was sure about the criteria for that. My roommate asked to use the Internet inside the trailer. While I counted the porcelain Virgin Marys on the mantle in Curtis’s mom’s bedroom, my roommate checked the VIN on CarFax. Stolen once and three counts of odometer fraud. Curtis eagerly knocked the price down to $800, but I managed to convince my roommate that an eight-hour journey in this wreck was a deathtrap. We left Holly Springs empty-handed but reflective. Craigslist, we realized, is extremely effective at introducing you to people that you never want to see again. But meeting Curtis and knowing that he’s probably still spending his days hawking stolen cars in a trailer village is constructive toward my own identity as a privileged Duke student. In a sad way, I feel vindicated by our differences. Craigslist forces you to acknowledge parts of the spectrum of human experience that you either forgot about or never knew, and, in the process, become more attached to your own circumstances.

A

small church recently closed down in East Durham and posted a Craigslist ad to sell off their wooden pews. My roommate and I envisioned sawing one in half to make a dinner booth for our apartment. As I examined a 15-foot pew, Stan, the jovial preacher, asked if the two of us were starting our own church. Outside, my roommate was busy backing a U-Haul truck directly into another car; how could Stan think we were competent enough to found a house of worship? I hid the handsaw behind my back and answered that we were not currently considering that option. On Craigslist, I’m a tourist. I peruse the listings and then I travel around to appropriate objects from other people’s domestic lives. The older black preacher sees two white kids from Duke buying one of the pews from his defunct church and hopes that we have some greater purpose. But we’re just tourists and the pew will join the other things in our apartment that primarily provide somewhere to sit but secondarily remind us who we are in opposition to their former owners. Craigslist offers some loose commercial pretext through which to experience and relate to the Durham outside of Duke. I thought I had this all figured out. I was 14

TOWERVIEW

happy being a tourist. But then, last month, we decided to buy a sofa.

I

n a borrowed minivan, my roommate and I veered onto a dead-end gravel road. The listing hadn’t given an address—it just said to follow this road to its end. When we got out of the car, my roommate and I exchanged glances. This house was a crack den. The walkway to the front door was a jungle of weeds and broken glass. A decrepit black car with tinted windows sat on towers of cinder blocks along the side of the house. The screen door was slashed down the middle. A full five minutes after we first knocked, a woman answered the door with a wide, nervous smile. She was in her forties, and she sported big, frizzy hair poorly restrained by an elastic band and cartoon pajamas. Always fidgeting, she invited us in to see the couch. It was white with brown stripes and the pillows were ripping at the seams. My roommate nudged me with his elbow. “The crystal meth burn spots are a nice accent,” he whispered. We tried to barter down the price but she held firm. “You boys aren’t going to pull one over on me!” she announced. Her laugh sounded extra crazy. Her bony fingers clutched my shoulder, almost threatening. I just

wanted to leave with the couch before she started freebasing my T-shirt. We handed over the cash, pulled the minivan around, and hoisted the couch in through the back. When we were ready to leave, she noticed our bumper sticker and her eyes widened. “You boys go to Duke?” We nodded politely. “I went there! What are y’all studying?” “I’m an English major,” I answered slowly. “What in the hell are you going to with that?” Then, before I could respond: “Just kidding—I know exactly how it is! I graduated in ’87. B.A. in Slavic languages. Let me tell you boys: It is a hard world out here. But hey, at least I got to study what interested me, and everything turned out OK! Do you crazy college guys need any more stuff? I can sell you a VCR, a toaster—” “Just the couch, I think.” “All right, well enjoy it! This is great. I really needed the cash.” She nodded a lot, twirling the wad of bills in her fingers. We pulled out of the driveway. “Let’s go Blue Devils!” she shouted from the stoop. We were no longer tourists. We drove back to campus in silence, the fear of God in us. Craigslist, I thought we understood each other. —NIM BARSHAD


the devil’s details

INTENSITY IN TENT CITY

“Many of the potential changes [to Krzyzewskiville] are designed to reduce the rigors of tenting requirements and encourage continued student participation.”—“K-ville’s rigor to be reconsidered” in The Chronicle, Sept. 24, 2009.

January 3 Just set up the tent and my new blog. So pumped to spend the next two months here! It’s a little chilly, especially with the wind. The tent was a little tricky to hold down while we threaded the poles through, but a friendly line monitor helped us out. January 5 Dropped below 45 last night. Suzy said she wanted to go to the IM Gym to write a paper. We told her it was a bad idea because if we had a tent check they wouldn’t let her be counted. In the end she convinced us to go. It was nice and warm. Kind of felt like a bad-ass. Thank God, no check. Wonder if I’ll ever get to spoon with Jenny. January 6 So glad they gave the girls their own C1 for rush. Finally can wear sweatpants again. Pretty cold last night. The nice line monitor said they’d call grace but then they didn’t! Got my flu shot in the IM gym. I didn’t think I needed a Band-Aid, but Scooby-Doo is so awesome. We’re all in our sleeping bags watching old episodes on YouTube. January 9 Some news announced today. Instead of the air horn, line monitors will now play “Shake It” by Metro Station for tent checks. Kinda kooky! I guess that why we’re called Cameron Crazies! Not really sure if the extra

orange juice at the Battier Breakfast is going to help ward off swine flu. OK, back to reading. January 15 Had a party last night. Some stupid line monitor cut my shotgun hole too big and it spilled everywhere. It looked like I pissed myself. Jenny giggled. The night before we got grace for a Baldwin Scholars speaker in the Rare Book Room. Since at least two of us went, we get grace tonight! January 17 It’s harder to get up for tent checks knowing I can’t put as many marshmallows as I want in my hot chocolate. Also, it’s weird. Jimmy keeps getting a ton of hand sanitizer before he goes to sleep. Still haven’t spooned with Jenny. January 19 Can’t write much tonight. Orgo test tomorrow. Don’t know how Crazies did it when professors only had office hours in their offices! Crazy! Got yelled at for taking off my swine flu mask. Mom said not to worry about it. Big parties this weekend; just have to find out where the “section” is. January 22 yatcithces!!! sosoottel ahaammmerddddd. i’ win at/the drinking gamessss yeah. jeny, why can;t i climp in w.. you????!?! rOOm for 222 January 23 Wow. So hungover today. Awkward morning. Hope the smell comes out of Jenny’s sleeping bag. January 26 GOD DAMNIT MY SLEEPING BAG REEKS OF B.O. AND I HAVE SO

MUCH READING TO DO!!!! RATED FOR ZERO DEGREES MY ASS! JENNY WON’T TALK TO ME AND THE DAMN HEAT LAMP CLOSEST TO OUR TENT IS BROKEN AGAIN! THIS WEATHER BLOWS. January 30 You know, if the line monitors are going to come into the tent to count sleeping bodies for checks, at least they could be quiet about it and zip the door when they leave. Sheesh. Also, I think Frank and Jenny are having sex. Mom told me to just pretend it’s the wind. February 4 Rained pretty hard last night. When we came back from grace this morning the maintenance guys still weren’t done. The line monitors must have finally read some of our letters to The Chronicle and handed out free Duke seat cushions. Those wooden bleachers are hard! February 7 Last night Mark came home drunk and tripped on some Xbox cables and hit his head on the corner of our tent’s wooden platform. They’re putting foam on all the edges today. Jimmy was late for his shift again. Thought he had swine flu. Kinda think the Haz-Mat suit was a bit much. February 12 God, this darn game better be worth it. We’re probably gonna lose like the last four years. Jimmy’s been in Blackwell for four days now. Lucky bastard. February 20 Don’t get me wrong, I totally appreciate all that the line monitors do. But I’m sorry, those chocolate chip cookies were not warm. The nurse said I did a good job when she came to give us all our weekly shots. February 25 Dad thinks the whole tenting thing will affect my MCAT score. He just doesn’t get that we’re building a sense of community here. March 2 Not really sure about these personal checks. I don’t want a monitor calling me between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. tonight. What if it wakes up my roommate? Giving him the room to himself to watch movies with Jenny all the time only gets me so much leeway. Couldn’t we just text them after Coach K’s Surf ‘n’ Turf Extravaganza? March 3 Ugh. Actually have to stay in the tent tonight. The line for the Patron Ice Luge was too long. The models weren’t that cute anyway. March 6 Finally, it’s game day! GO TO HECK CAROLINA! —SAM SCHLINKERT TOWERVIEW

P H OTO I L LU S T R AT I O N B Y M I C H A E L N A C L E R I O

THE FUNNY PAGES

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THE FIFTY

1 2 3

8

4 5 6 7

11

Dan Abrams

The 1988 alumnus and former NBC talk host just launched Mediaite.com and Abrams Research to expand his reach in media circles.

David Addington

Lewis Scooter Libby’s 2005 replacement as Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff. According to sources cited in a 2006 New Yorker story, the ’81 graduate of Duke’s School of Law is responsible for much of the Bush Administration’s approach to the War on Terror, which gave broad powers to the president as commander-in-chief.

Nancy Andrews

October marks the second year since Dr. Nancy Andrews was named vice chancellor for academic affairs and dean of the Duke University School of Medicine, the first female to hold the post. The appointment also made Andrews the only woman leading a top-10 U.S. medical school.

Dan Ariely

It’s hard to talk about behavioral economics without mentioning this professor’s 2008 book, Predictably Irrational. Just ask Malcolm Gladwell.

Shane Battier

His number is hanging in the rafters of Cameron, and currently he might be the most undervalued player in the NBA.

Jay Bilas

He’s the articulate and intelligent ESPN college basketball analyst in an era when smart commentary is falling by the wayside. Memo to The Worldwide Leader: more Bilas, please.

Dan Blue

A North Carolina native and Democratic state senator, this former Blue Devil graduated from the School of Law in 1973 and now serves as the chair of the Board of Trustees.

18

TOWERVIEW

Richard Brodhead It stands to reason that the president of a university is a very powerful figure indeed. His five years at the helm have seen highs (DukeEngage) and lows (lacrosse), but Duke’s ninth leader, who wrote the book on Nathaniel Hawthorne, hasn’t shown signs of slowing.

9 10

David Cutcliffe

If Duke Football’s going to be relevant again in the next decade, this head coach is going to be the one to revive the program.

Kara DioGuardi

You can thank this Duke grad and “American Idol” judge for such classics as Enrique Iglesias’s “Escape,” Kelly Clarkson’s “I Do Not Hook Up,” and, most recently, Cobra Starship’s “Good Girls Go Bad.”

Elizabeth Dole

As an undergrad, Dole was president of the Woman’s Student Government, a member of secret society White Duchy and sister in Delta Delta Delta. Since graduating in 1958, she received a Distinguished Alumni Award, delivered a Commencement Address and was elected to the Senate.

12 Paul Farmer

The Man Who Would Cure the World—at least according to the subtitle of “Mountains Beyond Mountains,” by Tracy Kidder. He graduated from Duke in 1982, and five years later he co-founded Partners in Health, aiming to provide treatment to impoverished patients. In 2009, he was named to Duke’s Board of Trustees and also chairman of Harvard Medical School’s Department of Global Health and Social Medicine. In 1993, he was a recipient of a MacArthur Foundation Genius Award.


POWER PLAYERS

13 20 14 21 15 22 16 17 23 18 24 19 25 Stanley Fish

The chair of Duke’s star-studded English department in the 1980s and now a New York Times blogger, when Fish talks higher education, people listen.

Allan Friedman

When he’s not busy operating on famous patients as head of the Preston Robert Tisch Brain Center, this neurosurgeon can be spotted under the basket at women’s basketball games.

Melinda Gates

Some know her for her work under her married name, but Dukies recognize the alumna for her maiden name, French. As in, French Family Science Center.

David Gergen

Tune into any political news show, and soon enough, you’ll hear the Duke Trustee’s sharp political commentary.

Rob Goodlatte

A favorite of Marc Zuckerberg, he’s the designer of Facebook Lite, the Facebook-of-choice for developing contries with slower Web connections.

Fredric Jameson

As a literary critic, Jameson is unparalleled at Duke. Not many outside of Duke can match his brilliance, either.

Erich Jarvis

People magazine included Jarvis in its list of the Sexiest People Alive in 2006, and the neurobiologist is a romantic, too: he works with songbirds.

Ken Jeong

That Asian guy in “The Hangover” and “Funny People” and, previously, as Michael Scott’s improv foil on “The Office”? Yeah, he’s a Duke alumnus and got his M.D. in Chapel Hill.

Ted Kaufman

There are a lot of Dukies in politics. Plenty at the national level. But how many can say they were tapped to fill the Senate seat for the Vice President of the United States? That distinction is reserved for Ted Kaufman, Engineering ’60 and senior lecturing fellow at the School of Law.

Mike Krzyzewski

Three national championships, one court named in his honor and one Olympic gold medal and counting. The numbers say it all.

Peter Lange

Peter Lange is the Provost. This means that he oversees all things academic at the University, which is fitting, because he is a fairly academic guy: truly, an intellectual force. He has been provost at Duke for a decade.

Thaddeus Lewis

For at least this season, before he hands the reins over to Sean Renfree, Lewis has Duke’s bowl hopes resting on his shoulders.

Reggie Love

He’s President Barack Obama’s body man, and just as important, the captain of the 2001 national championship team is a member of POTUS’ regular pick-up game. TOWERVIEW

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THE FIFTY

26

33 34 27 35 28 36 29 37 30 38 31 39 32 John Mack

John Mack, Trinity ’68, grew up in North Carolina. He also changed his last name (from Makhoul; the shortened version better lended itself to nicknames—he’s also goes by “Mack the Knife”). Mack is currently CEO and chair of the Board of Morgan Stanley. He plans to step down as CEO Jan. 1, but he will remain Board chair. He has also been a member of his alma mater’s Board of Trustees since 1997.

Aubrey McClendon

Aubrey McClendon, eponymous donor to the Tower, graduated from Duke in 1981. He now lives in Oklahoma, where he’s the cofounder, CEO and chair of Chesapeake Energy, one of the largest producers of natural gas in the U.S.

Sean McManus

As president of CBS News and CBS Sports, the network’s personalities report to him.

Mark Anthony Neal

A popular culture critic, the Duke professor is an authority in AfricanAmerican studies. He’s writing album notes for unreleased Jackson 5 songs.

Awa Nur

Awa Nur, Trinity ’10, is the first female president of Duke Student Government in a decade. She’ll enroll in the Harvard Business School 2+2 Program following graduation this Spring.

Stephen Pagliuca

The 1977 graduate has an aptitude for turning things around. First, Bain & Company, then the Boston Celtics. Next: a Massachusetts Senate race.

Macon Phillips

The White House’s director of new media, this alum is responsible for all of the Oval Office’s blogging efforts. 20

TOWERVIEW

Mike Posner

The next—well, first—music star from Duke, the senior signed with J Records in the summer and is currently working on his debut album.

Reynolds Price

One of the greatest American writers of the last 50 years, Price also finds time to teach two legendary English courses in the spring.

Charlie Rose

The hardest-working man in television only came to Duke as a pre-med when he was deemed inadequate to play basketball in Chapel Hill. Thanks very much, Tar Heels.

Jon Scheyer

A freshman starter, sophomore sixth man and junior point guard, the senior is now the face of Duke Basketball—not to mention its heart and soul.

Eric Shinseki

Eric Shinseki wears many hats. He earned his Masters in English Literature from Duke, and taught English at the U.S. Military Academy. He was also the Army’s chief of staff from 1999 until he retired in 2003. He now serves as the United States secretary of Veterans Affairs.

Adam Silver

Heard of David Stern? Of course you have. He’s the commissioner of the NBA. Remember Silver’s name. The Duke graduate’s probably the next commissioner of the NBA.

Dylan Smith

This 2007 graduate is the creator of Box.net, a venture he started with a friend as a sophomore—for which they were just named to BusinessWeek’s list of 25 of America’s Best Young Entrepreneurs.


40 41 42 Kevin Sowers

Kevin Sowers knows a thing or two about working one’s way up into positions of power. He started working at Duke as a nurse in 1986. Now he serves as Duke University Hospital’s CEO.

Elizabeth Spiers

The founding editor of Gawker.com and founder of DealBreaker.com, the 1999 alumna’s next trick is a debut novel. And who said print was passe?

Robert Steel

Leading comes easily to Steel, Trinity ’73. A former vice chair of Goldman Sachs, where he spent 30 years after graduation, he stepped down as chair of Duke’s Board of Trustees when his term expired in June. Briefly, the former Under Secretary to the Treasury, was Board chair concurrent with his appointment as CEO of Wachovia Corp. until it merged with Wells Fargo.

43 44 45

Tallman Trask

Visitors to the office of Tallman Trask (T3 as he is colloquially known) are greeted by a life-size cutout of the Terminator. Nothing epitomizes power better.

Luis von Ahn

What’s more impressive: winning a so-called Genius Grant at age 27, or selling innovative reCAPTCHA software to Google for an undisclosed sum three years later?

Rick Wagoner

The former chair and CEO of General Motors resigned from the floundering company in March. Still, he retired with $20 million and change, and remains vice-chair of Duke’s Board of Trustees. Once upon a time—that is, in 2007—he delivered Duke’s commencement address, telling graduating seniors that “by virtue of graduating from one of the elite universities in the U.S., indeed in the world… has great capabilities. I urge you to use those capabilities fully.”

POWER PLAYERS

46 47 48

Kevin White

Duke couldn’t have asked for better timing to lure the business-savvy second-year athletic director from Notre Dame. He also teaches a sports business class at Fuqua.

Judy Woodruff

The news anchor and journalist, an alumna and former professor here, just received the Distinguished Alumni Award on Founder’s Day.

Gao Xiqing

President and chief investment officer of China Investment Corporation, Gao graduated from the School of Law in 1986. He’s been an adjunct professor at Duke Law, and he’s served on the Board of Trustees since 2008. Fittingly, he is a member of the Business and Finance Committee in addition to being on the Medical Center Academic Affairs Committee.

49 50

Jeffery Zients

The chief performance officer of the United States, Zients doubles as a Senate-confirmed deputy director of management in OMB. He was part of a bidding war to own the Washington Nationals, but lost at the last minute. Obama could use that luck.

Anthony Zinni

At Duke, he taught the 2008 course entitled “Leading in a New World.” It’s a topic Zinni knew a lot about: having served as commander-inchief of the U.S. Central Command from 1997 to 2000 and having been appointed in 2002 as the U.S. Special Envoy to Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

TOWERVIEW

21


the money man by caroline mcgeough

AARON PATZER

has never pulled an all-nighter—not in graduating with a triple major in computer science, computer engineering and electrical engineering from Duke in 2002, and not in founding a start-up personal finance company at age 25 that just sold for $170 million. “I tend to be a planner,” he tells me. “I ended up spending probably most of my time [at Duke] in the Teer library, up on the second floor. That was my spot, every Saturday and Sunday, no matter what.” Few people thought the company Patzer founded in 2005, a personal finance Web site dubbed Mint.com, would succeed. After inputting their bank and brokerage account information, the site’s users can view and categorize their financial transactions in aggregate, determining how their spending matches up against budget goals and where they can save more. “Everybody was telling me, ‘No one will trust a start-up with their financial information, especially somebody who’s 25,” Patzer says. And when he began work on the site, personal finance was hardly the sexiest of start-up concepts: “everyone and their mother,” believed real opportunities lay in social networking and media sites. But as it turned out, Mint.com users did trust the company with their financial information, and Mint.com could succeed without the viral, social component that some thought was necessary to attract attention early on. Unlike almost every other business, Mint thrived during the recession, multiplying its customer base by four and its profits by eight since March 2008. “The worse the economy would get—particularly last fall—the more people would start to use Mint, because they needed to understand where their money is going,” Patzer observed. Mint grew so quickly that last year, venture capital firms were knocking on Patzer’s door to offer funding to the company— what I’d imagine to be the dreams of any start-up founder. “Yeah, it’s pretty cool,” Patzer says with an air of noncha22

TOWERVIEW


lance. Mint had accumulated more than 150 million users by September 14, when it was purchased in an all-cash transaction for $170 million by software giant Intuit Inc., the makers of Quicken and TurboTax. The company’s sale has meant newfound celebrity for Patzer, of both the traditional and the Silicon Valley sort. “People are coming out of the woodwork in terms of all my old college friends, or acquaintances. They’ve certainly friended me on Facebook and have been sending me messages,” he says. And in the world of tech start-ups, popularity means hordes of eager entrepreneurs begging for a minute of Patzer’s time—several times a day and from all over the world. “It’s been different,” he says of the requests. “It’s impossible to take all of them, as much as I’d like to help.”

default,” Patzer says. “So they got a ton of young leaders from tech companies, media companies, and asked us what are the biggest challenges we face in hiring and growing our businesses.” But the second time, Patzer was extended an invitation to Washington by Vivek Kundra, the federal government’s Chief Information Officer. “He’s a big Mint user,” Patzer noted. Kundra wanted to discuss a project he had in mind: enlisting Mint to develop a software program that would enable the public to review federal spending over the Internet. The site’s bright pie charts showing spending breakdowns for groceries and rent would instead show spending breakdowns for defense and social services, diving down to the individual appropriations

ter than Microsoft Money and Quicken,” he remembers thinking. “But it’s just a feature—how am I possibly going to compete with two of the largest companies in the world selling boxed software when all I have is one feature?” Patzer’s brilliance was in realizing that he stood to make personal finance easier and more accessible by offering Mint for free over the Internet, ultimately profiting from discreet advertisements from financial institutions on savings opportunities for users. The sale of Mint.com to Intuit calls to mind a notable irony: As the new head of personal finance for Intuit, Patzer will be managing the very product, Quicken, that he criticized and sought to beat. Patzer says the acquisition is more flattering than iron-

the worse the economy would get... the more people would start to use mint.com, because they needed to understand where their money was going. Since the announcement of the deal, he has been invited to speak at Harvard Business School, at MIT Sloan, at UPenn’s Wharton, and at Oxford. Discover Card directly ripped the “Trends” page from Mint and marketed it nationally, Patzer said. He has even been to the White House twice: the first time for a young founders event attended by twenty-something CEOs like Evan Williams of Twitter and Ivanka Trump, whom Patzer described as “very nice in person, very tall.” “Typically, when you think about the White House or politics and who they use as their advisers, they’re going to use a 65-year-old white guy, pretty much by

Towerview, 1/8 page

level. The potential project would aim to make government officials more accountable for spending, stressing efficiency and transparency by making wasteful expenditure obvious. In interviews, Patzer often relates the story of when the proverbial light bulb above his head was illuminated. “The first thing I realized was when I was using Quicken and Microsoft Money, I was spending about an hour every Sunday afternoon categorizing my transactions,” he said. When he figured out how to automatically categorize spending in his program, he realized he had a feature with some potential. “OK, I can categorize transactions bet-

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ic, given how successful Quicken has been since Mint’s debut: 85 percent of adults in the US are familiar with the program. “A lot of people perceive it as the tool for your parents’ generation, and it certainly needs some work to restore it to its former glory, but that kind of awareness is just unheard of,” Patzer says. In his new role, Patzer will manage a group more than twice the size of Mint’s, aiming to inject more entrepreneurial spirit into Intuit’s personal finance division through his style of management. “Look, if you’re the one who is coming up with the ideas, then by definition, you’ll always be in front.” ed c a teW r in g oto o!

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TOWERVIEW

23


IN DURHAM, AT DUKE ONE MAN BRINGS THE MODERN HOME

s I emerged from the passenger side of a green Mini Cooper to a wet Joe Van Gogh parking lot, I’m informed that Durham has been dubbed the smartest city in America. Reading from his BlackBerry, it’s appropriate that Aaron Greenwald is the one who tells me this. After all, he’s the type of person that got the city this distinction. Greenwald does not have a Ph. D. He is not a professor. (This is, however, not to discredit his two degrees from Columbia and his Fulbright fellowship). When I see him, he tends to dress casually. Sartorial and work-appropriate, but I can’t recall ever spotting him in a tie. As director of Duke Performances, Greenwald’s influence on University life is a bit different. He’s not the ever-identifiable figure like the president, but his hand is visible every time you walk through the Bryan Center, past those Duke Performances posters. Even more, backed by a staff of six, he is changing the University arts culture one performance at a time. Now in his third season at the helm of the organization, Greenwald has transformed Duke’s artistic culture, bringing top international performers such as Shen Wei, Laurie Anderson and Branford Marsalis to the University’s stage. But for every marquee name Greenwald draws, what’s distinguished him is his thematic approach to programming. At the core of the three seasons Greenwald programmed is this self-conscious notion of Duke as premiere Southern institution, one that studies its place in the community and the role it serves. It’s a notion that you become increasingly aware of with every performance you see and with each conversation you have with Greenwald. It 24

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doesn’t overwhelm but does pervade. Of course Greenwald is not the only person at Duke working and­—that wicked buzzword—engaging with the community, but few are operating at the same level to examine and reconcile this long-standing schism. Greenwald says that Duke’s task in relating to the community is tougher than its collegiate neighbors. UNC gets a pass because it’s public, and N.C. State because it identifies more as a technical school. “People in Durham and the larger community have this interesting relationship to Duke where they’re like, ‘I know there are a lot of really great people there, and I know there’s something to be gotten there, but it’s tough to access,’” he says. “Duke, at the other side—we have all these great people here and we want to make them available, but the delivery mechanisms are sometimes just not coherent.” It becomes appropriate, then, that we are having this conversation off-campus. His programming is situated in the community, seeking to draw in University members— students, especially—and those from outside the Gothic walls. In looking at the current season

he’s programmed, that perspective becomes apparent. Earlier this year, Greenwald told me that the core of 20092010 season looks at how music and arts have arrived where they are, tracing the modern through the African diaspora from the farthest shores of Zanzibar through the Caribbean and into the South. Even physically, the programming has gone beyond Reynolds and Page to the Hayti Heritage Center and later to that East Campus bastion of anarchy and indie rock, the Duke Coffeehouse. Duke, he says, is “a school whose endowment and wealth and funding literally came out of the soil of North Carolina. We’re making a real effort to locate our programming in that fertile soil.” The recent “Hallelujah Train” performance, held less than a week after we first spoke for this story, exemplifies the type of programming with which Greenwald has excelled. Bringing in jazz drummer Brian Blade, the performance explored the intersection of gospel and jazz and was recorded for an album to be released in the future—an unprecedented feat for a body like Duke Per-

formances. But it was Blade’s two-day residency that really drove home the theme. During his visit, I observed Greenwald moderating a discussion with Blade and bandmate and ethnomusicologist Melvin Butler in the Divinity School, nursing his ale while spinning records at the Pinhook and watching the duo demo in a N.C. Central band room. A self-proclaimed “rube” raised as a “secular Jew”—two traits not readily noticeable but completely believable as soon as he confesses them— Greenwald’s artistic interests developed while growing up in California, where he was exposed to Cal Performances, the Berkeley equivalent of his current organization. Greenwald told me that this was a period when Cal Performances was on a “hot streak,” uniting a who’s-who of different performers across genres with liberal arts. “It was a democratic list. It felt like the university was becoming a crossroads at which all these places meshed well and one of the few places outside of New York or Chicago where those could intersect.” Greenwald would go on to

P H OTO CO U R T E S Y T H E I N D E P E N D E N T

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BY ANDREW HIBBARD


receive his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Columbia, become a Fulbright fellow, work on The New Yorker Festival and help revive the North Carolina Festival of the Book as its director, a position that helped establish him at Duke. Through all these experiences, he developed this intellectual sense of the arts that he found in his Californian youth. Even at Duke, he’s traveled to the Pitchfork Festival, South by Southwest, the Wexner, Cabrio Festival of Contemporary Music and more, all developing this sensibility. “I don’t quite know what it is, but there’s something about it that I get it,” he told me. “Everything feels like it belongs under that roof. I think about programming that wants to be intuitive. If you’re not primarily concerned about dollars, there ought to be something about it that’s intuitive. It feels right.” This is apparent in talking

from whose ashes Duke Performances rose, for 22 years before retiring in 2006. And as adept and dedicated as she was, Greenwald says that the base audience had slid. “She was doing quite well with the opportunity she was dealing with,” Provost Peter Lange says, telling me that there were visibility problems that were due in part to funding. But with the University’s 2006 Strategic Plan—culturally, focused on fostering a richer arts environment in a neo-Nasher era—these problems have deteriorated with the advent of readily available funding and the Allen Building’s support. Enter Greenwald as interim director in January 2007 amid a large-scale national search for a permanent director. Foreshadowing things to come, he told The Chronicle in 2006 his appointment was a, “great opportunity to put forth a plan of how I want Duke Performanc-

the difficulty in forming an identity for Duke Performance in a vacuum. “In a sense, that’s good because we’ve had to figure out what Duke Performances has to be.” Lindroth says these are the things Greenwald mentioned when he interviewed for the post, and these are the things he has brought. And he’s lived up to every aspect of the Strategic Plan. As much as the message is consistent between Greenwald’s Smith Warehouse office and the Allen Building, he assures that he is allowed incredible creative autonomy. Although Lange and Lindroth will admit to sending over the occasional programming suggestion, they say it’s Greenwald’s gig. “The biggest role I had was in getting Aaron,” Lange says. But Lange has kept a good eye on what’s going on by consistently attending events. He cites the recent Sun Ra Arkesta and

dent tickets a mere $5, is playing its part. Of course, numbers can always be better and it’s something Greenwald is aware of. Lange says he would like to see students leave Duke with “a more substantiated appreciation of the arts.” But Greenwald, in the nitty-gritty of things, knows this is a more difficult task than it seems. “It’s a hard thing to define to a student not why Duke Performances exists, but why this is stuff, you know, that’s important and why you’ll enjoy it,” Greenwald tells me, seeking the right words. It’s the sort of existential crisis of his job. His baseline goal is to fill seats, but ultimately, it is the art that he values most. He says, not surprisingly, that it all comes back to this idea of Duke. To Greenwald, these artistic experiences are core to the University’s educational mission. “You just have to at some level… believe an institution like Duke

You just have to at some level believe an institution like Duke is fundamentally a liberal arts institution.

P H OTO CO U R T E S Y T H E I N D E P E N D E N T

—AARON GREENWALD, director of Duke Performances to Greenwald. In the space of one breath, he’ll go from talking about his love of the Dirty Projectors to modern music’s roots in Theolonius Monk. The first time I met him, we talked about the seminal postpunk band Les Savy Fav. In subsequent conversations, I’ve had to take notes and Google all the names he casually mentions. He knows his stuff. But as much as the 30-something director and his appreciation of Brooklyn indie rockers are likely to appeal to a student audience, this isn’t exactly what’s distinguished his tenure. In fact, he is the first to admit that his predecessor, Kathy Silberger, whom he says had “unimpeachable taste,” might have been more adventurous in her programming. Silberger ran the Institute for the Arts,

es to operate.” Scott Lindroth, vice provost for the arts, says Greenwald did not just “step in” to the post with his official appointment in January 2008. In many ways, his hiring following a successful first season of programming serves as testament to his abilities to form an organization that, under less capable hands, might have suffered a serious identity crisis. After all, the 2006 Strategic Plan offers only a vague description of what the organization should be, the authors promising to “increase support for its programming, encourage national and international partnerships, and plan and implement major improvements in facilities.” Indeed, Greenwald’s 2006 interview evinced what would come. Greenwald acknowledges

Mingus Big Band performance, one that took place at the same time as the Homecoming football game, as a perfect example of Duke Performances’ success, noting the mix of people he saw at the event, including his nonDuke-affiliated companion. Lange says this is what Duke Performances has succeeded in doing. “It builds community, and it builds shared experiences.” But the provost has made one other important stride: subsidizing student tickets. Integral to building an audience and being at a university is mobilizing the student population. Greenwald said that he has tried to make programming interesting, appealing and accessible to students, going so far as to make the advertising student-friendly. But Lange’s subsidy, which makes all stu-

is fundamentally a liberal arts institution,” he told me. Duke Performance could, with its “high level of virtuosity” and “rigor,” change your life. Or it could not. “The Hallelujah Train,” for Lange, was the musical equivalent of a religious experience. In all his goals, Greenwald remains confident three years in. “We’ve had missteps, but I feel like if you’re able to deliver a brand in that fashion with [this] level of integrity, people will start to come back again and again, and you’ll start to develop a community.” Ticket sales remain on the rise, students are turning out in record numbers, and there are still two years left in the Strategic Plan. But for Greenwald, for Duke Performances, this train is only starting up. TOWERVIEW

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rearview mirror

A group of undergraduates dance around in a purple haze on Main West Quadrangle during Joe College Day Oct. 10. The event was highlighted by performances by Matt Wertz, Cage the Elephant and Pretty Lights. LIB BY B USDICK ER

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rearview mirror The Dancing Devils per form on Coach K Court in Duke’s Countdown to Craziness Oct. 16. L AWSON K URT Z

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roadside wisdom CYNTHIA BRODHEAD Brodhead, née Degnan and wife of Richard, holds court in Hart House. A UConn-trained attorney, she now digs into everything in Durham from the Gardens to the Humanities Council. She shares her views on talent, fear and beauty, and reveals an as-yet unmentioned novel ambition. Here’s betting she’ll give the president, whom she met while enrolled in graduate school at Yale, a run for his money.

What is your greatest fear? Poison ivy. What is your greatest extravagance? Shoes, but a little extravagance is a good thing.

P H OTO B Y C H A S E O L I V I E R I

What do you consider the most overrated virtue? How can you overrate a virtue? We need more of all of them. I think certain vices are overrated, but you didn’t ask me about that.

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What do you most dislike about your appearance? If you don’t know, I’m not going to tell you. Which living person do you most despise? It’s one of my projects not to despise anyone. Which living person do you most admire? My husband—always have, always will.

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What is the quality you most like in a man? Wit. Which words or phrases do you most overuse? I’m told I have a too-frequent tendency to tell people to “knock yourself out.” It means I don’t share their enthusiasm. What or who is the greatest love of your life? See answer to [No. 6], above. When and where were you happiest? Here and now. Which talent would you most like to have? I admire artistic achievement in every field, but I have no artistic talent myself. I’d settle for any talent at all. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I’d change my utter incompetence in dealing with anything mechanical or electronic.

If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be? The idea of coming back as a thing is really scary to me. What is your most treasured possession? A necklace with little gold leaves that my husband gave me a few years ago for no particular reason. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? A rainy Sunday afternoon. What is your most marked characteristic? Determination. What is it that you most dislike? A negative attitude. Who are your favorite writers? George Eliot, Anthony Trollope, Louise Gluck. What is your greatest regret? I haven’t written my novel—yet.

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October issue of Towerview Magazine  
October issue of Towerview Magazine  

October issue of Towerview Magazine (published Oct. 28th, 2009)

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