One of the long-standing traditions of Trinity College and Duke University is the observance of honoring the benefactors of the institution. The practice was formalized by the Board of Trustees on June 4, 1901, when October 3 was designated as Benefactors’ Day in honor of Washington Duke. In 1926, its name was changed to Duke University Day, and, since 1948, it has been called Founders’ Day.

Although the name has changed over the years, the original intent of honoring the visionaries of the university remains and we celebrate those who carry on the legacy of Duke University and its tradition of excellence.

2023 University Medals for Distinguished Meritorious Service

Roy Bostock portrait

Roy Bostock, Trustee Emeritus

Investor and businessman Roy J. Bostock’s ties to Duke are many. His extended family claims a Duke graduate in every decade since the 1930s. Bostock’s parents graduated from the university in 1935. His wife, Merilee, is a fellow member of the Class of 1962, and all three of their children are Duke graduates.

Bostock himself came to Duke on an athletic scholarship and competed in both football and baseball for the Blue Devils, including playing  on the 1961 Cotton Bowl team. After  being named the outstanding graduate of the class of 1962 as an English major with Phi Beta Kappa honors, he then earned an MBA from Harvard.

After graduation, he spent nearly four decades in advertising, including 10 years as chair and chief executive officer of D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles and its successor company, The MacManus Group.

Bostock founded and chairs Sealedge Investments, a private equity investment firm, and currently serves as Chairman of GID Bio, which has developed a cellular therapy for non-surgical treatment of osteoarthritis that is now pending FDA approval. He has served as chairman of Yahoo and chairman of Northwest Airlines where he helped engineer the merger of Northwest and Delta Airlines and subsequently served as vice chairman of Delta. He also served on the board of Morgan Stanley and is a former trustee of Manhattanville College in Purchase, N.Y.

In 1991, when Bostock was elected to the Duke University Board of Trustees, he was already active in volunteer leadership roles in the campus community. He helped launch Duke’s business school in 1969 and was a longtime member of the Board of Visitors of the Fuqua School of Business. He also served on the Duke Forward Campaign Steering Committee, which raised $3.85 billion in support of the university. In 2008, Bostock was awarded Duke’s Distinguished Alumnus Award.

As a trustee, he advised Duke’s president and chancellor for health affairs on issues relating to the formation of the Duke University Health System in 1998. He served on the Board of Trustees from 1991-2003 and chaired its Business and Finance Committee for 10 years.

Roy and Merilee Bostock have been generous supporters of Duke Athletics and the Libraries. The Bostock Library on West Campus was named in their honor in 2005.

Jack Bovender Portrait

Jack Bovender, Trustee Emeritus

A former chair of the Duke University Board of Trustees, Jack O. Bovender, Jr. is the retired chief executive officer of HCA Healthcare, a network of 184 hospitals and about 2,000 sites of care in 21 states and in the United Kingdom.

Bovender’s long association with Duke began with his undergraduate education. He received his bachelor’s degree in psychology from the university in 1967 and his master’s degree in hospital administration in 1969. After graduation, Bovender began his career in hospital administration as a lieutenant in the United States Navy, stationed in Portsmouth, Va., before joining HCA.

Bovender became executive vice president and chief operating officer of HCA in 1992. After retiring from HCA and serving on the boards of several public and private companies, he returned to the corporation in 1997 and served as HCA’s chief executive officer from 2001 until retiring in 2009.

He has received multiple accolades for his contributions to the healthcare profession, including being named “Best CEO in America” three times by Institutional Investor magazine. In 2015, he was inducted into the Modern Healthcare Hall of Fame.

Bovender and his wife, Barbara, who was a head nurse at Duke Hospital when they married, have supported multiple areas across the university. In 2013, the couple established a scholarship in honor of the 50th anniversary of the enrollment of Duke’s first five Black undergraduates, who were his Duke classmates.

Their son Richard received his MBA from the Fuqua School of Business.

Bovender served on the Board of Trustees from 2007-2021 and was chair from 2017-2021. Bovender is an emeritus member of the Duke University Health System Board of Directors and the board of visitors of the Fuqua School of Business and the Divinity School. He chaired the presidential search committee that brought Price to Duke and was a member of the Duke Forward Campaign Steering Committee. In 2012, Bovender was awarded Duke’s Distinguished Alumni Award.

Founders Day offers us the opportunity to celebrate the extraordinary contribution of the Duke family—which has laid the foundation for everything that has come since—as well as recognize those members of the university community whose contributions have received less recognition, or have come perhaps against greater odds.