Duke University has announced a $3 million gift from alumna Bettye Martin Musham to establish a director for Islamic studies position.
Part of the university's $3.25 billion Duke Forward campaign, the gift will create and fund the William and Bettye Martin Musham Director for Islamic Studies, whose duties will include oversight of the Duke Islamic Studies Center. Established in 2006, DISC is an interdisciplinary research center whose faculty members represent a number of Duke schools — including Trinity College of Arts & Sciences, the Fuqua School of Business, the Sanford School of Public Policy, and the Nicholas School of the Environment — and a range of disciplines. The first appointee to the position is Omid Safi, a prominent American public intellectual and Duke alumnus who specializes in classical and contemporary Islamic thought.
"We're grateful to Bettye Musham for her generosity," said Duke president Richard H. Brodhead. "In our increasingly interconnected world, it is vital that non-Muslims and Muslims are educated in each other's cultures, beliefs, practices, and contributions to the world. This gift will help keep Duke and our scholars at the forefront of cross-cultural learning and understanding."
A 1954 graduate of the Duke School of Nursing, Musham was one of the founders of Gear Holdings, Inc., a branding, design, marketing, and communications firm in New York. She spent seventeen years in the advertising industry and was the general manager of Louis Vuitton for North America in the 1970s. She also has served on various corporate boards and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. William Musham, who died in 2001, graduated from Purdue University, attended Harvard Business School, and graduated from a business school in Chicago. He was the CEO of ITE-Imperial and vice chairman of Gould, Inc., after its acquisition of ITE.