Richard Duke taught for many years at the University of Michigan and before that at Michigan
State University. Marie Duke raised six children, all of them now grown, with seven master's
degrees and two Ph.Ds among them. She also taught for nearly a decade at the Michigan Technical
Institute, formerly in Ann Arbor.
Now retired, the Dukes wanted to help others achieve their dreams of an education. They have generously
donated $55,000 to the Washtenaw Community College Foundation to endow a scholarship in their name,
which will fund education for students who otherwise couldn't afford to attend college.
The Dukes plan on growing their scholarship through additional gifts and have made a planned gift of
their retirement fund. In addition, because this scholarship is endowed, it will continue to help students
"We were struck by the fact that WCC really has a dual function," say the Dukes. "Students can take both
transfer classes and get training and skills for a job. Those things are equally important. The college is
a stepping stone for many people just getting started."
The other reason they chose WCC for their gift however is more personal. Their daughter Lynda Duke decided
WCC was the best place to begin her college education. "It was a very good place for me," Lynda comments.
"I came to WCC as a recent high school grad, not sure where I wanted to go with my education and I left
feeling confident about my skills and prepared to study a specific program." Lynda now holds two master's
degrees and is an assistant professor of Library and Information Science at Illinois Wesleyan University.
The Dukes considered making their donation to one of Michigan's large universities but decided they could
make a much bigger impact by giving to WCC. "Like most Americans, we both came from modest means and got
through college because of scholarships," says Richard Duke. "What goes around, comes around. We really feel
motivated to help kids who are trying to get a start."
Their generosity comes from a desire to use their money for good. "I have a 10 year old car in the garage,"
says Richard, "and I've thought seriously about replacing it. But using this money for a scholarship is better
than getting something newer and shinier." Adds Marie, "We wanted to contribute now and see the results, rather
than wait until we're gone."
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