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Fuqua Board Member Dave Thomas Dies
January 07, 2002
To the Fuqua Community:
I am sad to report that Dave Thomas, a member of our Board of Visitors since 1986, died of cancer early this morning at his home in Fort Lauderdale. He was 69 years old.
He was a member of Duke's Board of Trustees from 1988-1997.
Mr. Thomas' generous gift of $4 million in 1986 allowed us to build our conference center, officially known as the R. David Thomas Executive Conference Center. It opened in 1989.
Mr. Thomas opened his first Wendy's Old Fashioned Hamburgers in Columbus, Ohio in 1969. The chain now has more than 6,000 restaurants around the world.
His philanthropy and civic contributions were as important as his business success. In addition to his support of Duke and Fuqua, Mr. Thomas' Foundation for Adoption made significant contributions to the raising of public awareness of adoption. In testimony before a Congressional committee several years ago, he said, "I know firsthand how important it is for every child to have a home and loving family. Without a family, I would not be where I am today."
Dave Thomas was part of our Duke family, and we will miss him.