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Donor Spotlight: Karl and Mary Ellen von der Heyden

February 02, 2016

Editor’s note: We’re pleased to highlight the first in a series of profiles that highlight qualifying gifts for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Global Health Matching Grant. This dollar-for-dollar match is reserved for gifts that support priority areas for the Duke Global Health Institute: education programs, graduate fellowships, faculty support, and international partnerships. Unrestrictive gifts for use at the discretion of the Institute Director may also be given.

Karl and Mary Ellen von der Heyden have established “The von der Heyden Family Global Health Fellowship Fund” as part of an $8.36 million gift supporting the arts at Duke and graduate students at the Duke Global Health Institute (DGHI).

“The von der Heyden name is already known to everyone at Duke because of the pavilion that is such a beloved gathering space in the library,” President Richard Brodhead said. “It’s a privilege to express our gratitude once again to Karl and Mary Ellen for their extraordinary generosity in continuing to support Duke’s highest priorities. This gift will help to develop a flourishing arts scene on campus and will give students the opportunity to become leaders and experts in global health.”

Of the total, $7.36 million will support programs, events, and other educational opportunities in the new arts center at Duke. The 71,000-square-foot facility will provide space for rehearsal, performance, video production, classroom instruction, and other uses. Construction was approved in early October of last year by the university’s Board of Trustees and is expected to take two years to complete.

The other $1 million from the gift qualifies for a dollar-for-dollar global health match and will fund fellowships to students pursuing graduate studies in the Duke Global Health Institute with a preference for students from low and middle income countries.

“I’m grateful to Karl and Mary Ellen for their foresight in creating this fellowship for international students,” said DGHI director Michael Merson. “We’re committed to supporting students from low- and middle-income countries who wish to pursue global health studies at Duke with an eye to returning home with the knowledge and skills necessary to work with others in their countries to improve health outcomes.”

Learn more about the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Global Health Matching Grant.

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I’m grateful to Karl and Mary Ellen for their foresight in creating this fellowship for international students.

Michael Merson, DGHI director

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