Giving Stories: What’s Your Inspiration?

More Giving Stories

Read about the ideas and inspiration behind gifts from fellow Duke alumni and friends— and share yours with us.

  • My Giving Story: Chun Lam

    My Giving Story: Chun Lam

    Chun Lam has spent the last decade contemplating the meaning of life. After careful consideration, he’s arrived at the conclusion: The part of us that lives on after we are gone is what we give back.

    “As I become older, I have started to get more philosophical about the world. We are not here for a long time, we are here for a meaningful time. As we get older, we realize the mortality of our lives,” said Lam.

  • Our Giving Story: David and Karen Cutcliffe

    Our Giving Story: David and Karen Cutcliffe

    One of the ways to have an impact at Duke is by making a gift that will enable the university to thrive for generations to come. Head football coach of the Duke University Blue Devils, David Cutcliffe, and his wife, Karen, share the reasons why they chose to create an endowment for the Duke Catholic Center.

    "We are required to give back in some kind of capacity because that's how you make a difference in the world," says Coach Cutcliffe. For this couple, making a gift to Duke is making an investment in the world. Watch this video to learn how impact and inspiration motivates the Cutcliffes to give.

  • My Giving Story: Ron Temple

    My Giving Story: Ron Temple

    From his office in New York’s famed 30 Rock building, Ron Temple ’90 has an amazing view of the colorful living tapestry below. And thanks to a Duke education he calls “transformational,” Temple also has an elevated ability to see shades of gray in a world that seems increasingly polarized.

    “In my experience, black-and-white opinions are often held most strongly by people who have not taken the time to challenge themselves or their views,” Temple says. “I entered Duke with strong opinions, but left with more modulated, nuanced views. The way I approach a question or problem was changed by my time at Duke and my exposure to people with different values and views.”

  • My Giving Story: Josh Jackson

    My Giving Story: Josh Jackson

    Listen to what Joshua Jackson ’06 has to say to someone on the fence about giving to Duke.

  • My Giving Story: Melinda Gates

    My Giving Story: Melinda Gates

    Connections with people—profound and often unexpected—have made all the difference in the world to Melinda Gates.

    They defined her time as a student at Duke and have shaped her path to becoming one of the world’s most influential philanthropists.

  • My Giving Story: Carol Ensinger

    Through smarts and persistence, Carol Ensinger ’82, Ph.D.’88 made a career of breaking down gender bias. In her retirement, she is teaching others to break through their own barriers to success.

    Ensinger entered Duke a semester late, but was determined to graduate with her class. She met resistance not only to that plan, but also to her goal of majoring in chemistry. In the early 80s, few women were pursuing a career in this field. The dean of freshmen at the time was unconvinced that Ensinger could complete the difficult chemistry coursework she needed to catch up.

  • Our Giving Story: Jerry and Bev Wilkinson

    Our Giving Story: Jerry and Bev Wilkinson

    “My experience at Duke not only formed me as a person, but transformed me,” said Jerry Wilkinson B.S.E.'67, P’98, P’00, P’03, who received a degree in electrical engineering from Pratt School of Engineering. “Engineering is a discipline that develops problem solving skills, and Duke prepared me to build those life-long skills, to further my engineering studies, and pursue my career.”

  • My Giving Story: Christian Hernandez

    Christian Hernandez had one goal when he was 14: Get into Duke.

  • My Giving Story: Crystal Sanders

    My Giving Story: Crystal Sanders

    Crystal Sanders ’05 shares how Duke changed her life and why she’s been committed to giving to the Annual Fund every year since her senior year.