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Duke Honors Senior Associate Dean Looney for Service

Jacqueline Looney, senior associate dean for graduate programs at the Duke Graduate School, has received a Meritorious Presidential Award for her outstanding service to Duke University.

Looney was recognized April 16 during a ceremony at the Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club that honored winners of the Presidential Award and the Meritorious Service Award. She received a plaque and $100.

The awards recognize employees from five work categories who have made distinctive contributions to Duke University or Duke University Health System. One Presidential Award and up to five Meritorious Service Awards are given for each category.

Looney, who also serves as associate vice provost for academic diversity, was the sole Meritorious Service Award winner for the Executive Leadership category.

“This is a well-deserved honor for Jackie,” says Dean Paula McClain, PhD, who nominated Looney for the award. “She is tireless in her commitment to the university and to our graduate students. Her contributions have been instrumental in our efforts to improve the lives and experiences of our graduate students, and she is equally committed to faculty diversity and development initiatives and activities.”

Looney has spent twenty-two years at The Graduate School. During her first stint at the school—from 1987 to 1994—she oversaw the creation of the school’s Office of Graduate Recruitment and helped double the number of African American and Latino graduate students. She was also instrumental in helping Duke establish connections that have produced a consistent flow of high-quality students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities into the Duke applicant pool.

“As the chief recruiter for The Graduate School, I’m now treading territory that Jackie has paved since the early 1980s,” says Alan Kendrick, PhD, assistant dean for graduate student development. “At many conferences and consortia, I am reminded that I am the ‘new Jackie.’ That designation is an honor.”

Looney left Duke in 1994 to work with The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, but returned to The Graduate School in 1999. Upon her return, she helped expand the Office of Graduate Student Recruitment into the Office of Graduate Student Affairs, which works to improve the graduate student experience. Under her leadership, the office has

•    initiated targeted minority recruitment strategies, such as Pre-application Visitation Day;
•    secured $600,000 from the Mellon Foundation for Duke’s Summer Research Opportunity Program in the Biomedical Sciences;
•    developed the Dean’s Awards for Excellence in Mentoring;
•    produced a documentary about Ida Owens, the first African American women to receive a doctorate from Duke;
•    established Graduate Student Research Day, an event that later expanded into Graduate Student Appreciation Week;
•    established The Graduate School’s PhD hooding ceremony, which is entering its ninth year;
•    led faculty, students, and staff in developing a parental leave policy and a child-care subsidy program to help graduate students who have children; and
•    directed the task force of faculty, students, and staff that resulted in the creation of the position of assistant dean for professional development.