How Far We've Come in 30 Years

In the 30 years since her Fuqua graduation, Double Dukie Lynn Calhoun T'78, MBA '83 has remained tightly connected with Duke. She is an active volunteer, having served as chair of Fuqua's Alumni Council, on the school's Board of Visitors, and currently on Fuqua's committee for the Duke Forward campaign.

"I really love 'Big Duke,'" Lynn said, "but for me, Fuqua is exciting. It's young and nimble. It's moved across academic silos and collaborated across schools. It's really leading the way for Duke. A hallmark of Fuqua is how many of the graduates identify more with their graduate school than undergraduate institution, even after 30 years."

Her personal life has been Duke-centric as well. She and her husband, also a Duke undergraduate alumnus, have remained close with their classes and are loyal Duke basketball fans. Their children were even born at Duke Hospital. And though Lynn and her husband never made their children feel as though they were expected to attend Duke, they chose Duke when it came time to select a college.

"When I was an undergraduate, Fuqua always seemed like this cool club of people who were intelligent and friendly," said Whitney Arnold, Lynn's daughter. "I eventually decided to go back to business school, and of the places I visited, nowhere seemed like home like Fuqua did."

When Whitney graduated in May 2013, she and Lynn became Fuqua's first mother-daughter MBA pair.

"Even though I've found my own way, it's been an honor to follow in her path," Whitney said of her mother, who is an executive at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. "As a young child, I didn't fully understand what it meant for her to work. But now, I see she was a trailblazer. I'm proud of her, and it has given us something we can connect over on a level we didn't before."

Coincidentally, Fuqua also welcomed a father-son MBA duo from the same classes this year.

Lynn's classmate, Michael Parides, has also remained close to Fuqua in his 30 years since graduation. Michael has helped with recruiting and strategy development, and in 1991, as a consultant with McKinsey, he assisted the school in developing its 5-year strategic plan, working closely with former Deans Thomas Keller and Blair Sheppard and a committee of the faculty and Board of Visitors. 

"I learned a lot about what was required to build a leading organization, in this case, a top-tier national business school," Michael said. "At this time, my son (Chris Parides MBA '13) was about 7 or 8 years old. He grew up going to and watching a lot of basketball games with me, and Duke was a big part of his life. And though I wanted him to consider Duke, I didn't want him to feel pushed into anything."

Chris attended Duke as an undergraduate in engineering and after three years in consulting returned to complete his MBA. His younger brother is currently an undergraduate at Duke as well.

"There are unique aspects of the Duke experience that translate well into Fuqua, and having spoken with many Fuqua grads, my decision was clear. My dad was supportive of the choice but was also very clear that I should make a decision that was right for me," Chris said. "He has a great tendency to allow us our independence. He didn't make me feel like it was the family path, and we have had completely different experiences at Fuqua because of all the changes."

But one thing that hasn't changed in the past 30 years is the impact and importance of Team Fuqua. "At Fuqua, we talk about having transformational instead of transactional experiences," Whitney said. "I had a lot of fun with my classmates, but I also developed the skills I need, especially from a leadership and mentorship perspective. I wouldn't be in the position I am with the opportunities I have if so many students and alumni hadn't given their time and effort to help me."

Michael also notes the importance of the relationships and interactions with colleagues during his time in business school, and how it strengthens Fuqua's programming.

"The focus on teamwork has turned from an early aspiration, to fostering an environment for teamwork, to teamwork being fully integrated into the learning environment and throughout the program," Michael said.

The Team Fuqua network has proved important to Michael in his career. He is now CEO of Qcept Technologies in Atlanta, where his predecessor and a current member of the company's board were both Fuqua alumni. His son said he is looking forward to joining this network.

"I hope that our related educations will allow us to work together at some point," Chris said. "But I'm always happy to work with any Fuqua alumni. We have similar interests, similar motivations and similar values. This network is one of the most rewarding things about Fuqua."

"The Team Fuqua tagline really captures the connection we feel to our classes and alumni network," Lynn said. "I love returning for reunions and seeing everyone. There are people from all different programs and years, but we all share the same excitement and love for the school. The people are so interesting and impressive."

Because their reunions fall on the same five-year increments, the mother-daughter and father-son duos will be attending their class reunions together. All agree that the opportunity to return with one another to Fuqua, a place that feels like home, will make it an even more rewarding experience.

"It will be cool to meet each other's peers and pool our networks," Chris said. "I'm benefitting from this place, and will continue benefitting largely because of the success of our alumni, people like my dad who studied here before."

So will the legacy continue?

"I sure hope we keep it up!" Michael said. "I want to become the first Fuqua grandfather-father-son MBAs!"

It sure would make for an interesting reunion.