Scholarship Awards – 2018

On Monday, our Rotary Club awarded three of four Centennial Scholarships to students who have been mentored for years by Student U, a student college going support organization whose mission is to empower students in the Durham Public Schools to own their education by developing the academic skills and personal well-being necessary to succeed in college and beyond.

Each awardee received a $1,000 scholarship for freshman year, and with continued enrollment and academic success, will receive a renewed $1,000 for their second year. Each also received a plaque to recognize their outstanding achievement.

Today’s awardees are: Aryeona Wilson, a graduate of City of Medicine Academy, who attended with her mother Lanette Wilson. Aryeona will attend UNC Charlotte, Oliver Harper IV a graduate of the International Bachelaureate program at Hillside HS, who attended with his parents Katrina and Oliver Harper III. Oliver will attend NS State, and Nicole Matute-Villagrana, a graduate of Josephine Dobbs Clement Early High School, who attended with her mother Maria Villagrana. Nicole will attend UNC Ashville and enter at the sophomore level.

Representing Student U was our own Innovation Fellow Alexandra Zagbayou, the Executive Director of Student U, and Holly Guss, Student U College Advisor.  Our final Centennial Scholar, Alanna Autry, a graduate of Jordan HS will be introduced and receive her award at next week’s meeting.

Program Report: Matt Kopec – Eisenhower Fellow

Monday’s program was a twofer: not only did Rotarians get to meet the three students who are this year’s recipients of the Rotary Centennial Scholarships, we also heard Matt Kopac’s fascinating and relevant talk about “The Circular Economy” and how Durham can play a role in this innovative reinvention of our global economy.

Meg Solera, speaking on behalf of her colleague Marge Nordstrom and the scholarship committee, explained that these students have been mentored by professionals at Student U since they were in the fifth grade. Now high school graduates, each was awarded a commemorative plaque and a $1,000 scholarship; if the students demonstrate academic success and persistence past their freshman year, each will receive an additional $1,000.

This year’s recipients include:
– Oliver Harper IV, a graduate of the international baccalaureate program at Hillside High School, who will be attending North Carolina State University this fall and double majoring in computer science and music;                                                                                                                                                 – Nicole Matute-Villagrana, a graduate of the Josephine Dobbs Clements Early College High School, who will enroll into UNC-Asheville in August as a sophomore studying psychology and Latin American studies; and                                                                                                                                                                                                                              – Aryeona Wilson, a graduate of Durham Public Schools’ City of Medicine Academy, who has already earned her CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) certificate and will be furthering her education in biochemistry at UNC-Charlotte.

Meg and Marge will be passing the scholarship committee leadership reins over to Kim Shaw and Kim Suarez going forward. Thanks to M & M for their great work over the past seven years, and we look forward to more exciting things from Kim & Kim. Last but certainly not least – congratulations to our scholarship recipients!

Danielle Kaspar then introduced Matt Kopac, sustainable business and innovation manager for Burt’s Bees. In 2018 Kopac was named an Eisenhower Fellow, an international leadership exchange program honoring the former president’s devotion to world peace. As part of the fellowship, Kopac traveled abroad extensively; one of the concepts he set out to investigate in countries such as Brazil and the Netherlands was “The Circular Economy.”

Since the Industrial Revolution, our country’s economy has followed a linear model: we take materials from nature, make things inefficiently, use them, then discard them. “We the people, we human beings, have some powerful dreams. We are innovators, seekers… we also have some bad habits,” Kopac comments wryly. “We waste A LOT:” to the tune of 1 million pounds of resources domestically per year per person.

[Read more…]

New Member: Scott Ballew

Please introduce yourself and welcome new Rotarian Scott Ballew. Scott was sponsored by Arthur Rogers and inducted by Membership Committee member Erik Benson.

About myself:

When my wife and I moved to Durham from Dallas we told ourselves that if things didn’t work out we could always go back.

That was 23 years ago.

For 21 of those years I commuted to Raleigh for work. Those days are over and now I have a small creative marketing company located right across Blackwell street.

My wife Amanda and I have son named Evan who is a rising sophomore at Drexel University.

I am a person who believes that actions speak louder than words and that dogs make me a better person.

Why Rotary?

The thing that excites me the most about being part of Rotary is that I now get to give back to the community I love so much. In addition, I look forward to getting know so many people that I might not otherwise.

I am honored to be inducted and I thank all of you.

Scott’s bio:

For 23 years, Scott has served as an Art Director and/or Creative Director for several Triangle-based marketing agencies—leading impactful multi-media campaigns for clients including Kimberly-Clark, MacGregor Golf, SAS Institute, Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC, UNC Chapel Hill, Lenovo and Duke Energy. He’s earned top industry awards, including The One Show, Communication Arts, The Clios, Graphis and the National ADDYs.

In NYC, Scott graduated with honors from The School of Visual Arts and worked in the Metropolitan Museum of Arts Design Department. Returning to his home state of Texas, he joined Dallas’s The Richards Group, now the largest independent agency in the U.S. There, he met his wife Amanda, and with two dogs in tow, they moved to North Carolina and soon added son Evan. Scott landed at Raleigh-based agencies Howard, Merrell & Partners and then Capstrat.

Scott recently formed Exhibit B, a creative-driven marketing firm, based in Durham’s American Tobacco Campus. By leveraging long-standing relationships, he assembles and leads collaborative teams to solve marketing challenges, minus the overhead and layers of larger agencies.

To support his community, Scott donates his time and talents to He has also served on the UNC Children’s Hospital Kid’s Card Program Board and worked with The Durham Literacy Council and Families Moving Forward.

Program Report: Kicking off a New Rotary Year

The July 9 meeting had a full agenda.  It was Brady Surles’ first meeting as our new president. The opening song, “Oh, Rotary, Durham Rotary” was welcome, but novel to many of us; the chorus was not the loudest I have heard.  Dave Ross gave the invocation, followed by our new Sergeant-at-Arms (a military-style title that puzzles many new Rotarians — or at least this one, in the day) Caleb Baker and his team.

There were several other departures from what has become the regular routine for our first meeting of the new Rotary year. To encourage more mixing, everyone was asked to sit at tables labeled with their birth months. The tables were also festooned with balloons and the CART buckets were organized, not on the tables but ledges near the badges and inspiring a contest among the birth months to see whether Cancers are more generous than Aquarians maybe.

Among the announcements, it was noted that the CART bucket challenge achieved $3475 last year and the target for this year: $4000.

Christopher Gergen introduced the fourth class of Innovation Fellows. This program in designed to bring young entrepreneurs, often those with a social mission, into the club and underwriting their dues in exchange for reports on their projects. It is intended to give the fellows the connections with community leaders in business, government and the non-profit community with the hope they will remain Rotarians after the 18-month fellowship ends.

Finally Brady reported on the Rotary International convention which was held this year in Toronto, Canada — a great city (in the summer, at least). Slides of participants were shown, and it was clear that a good time was had by all who attended.   Former First Lady Laura Bush, also a former teacher at an inner-city school in Houston, spoke to Rotarians about education, and urged her audience to give service to others. The highlight of the meeting was a short film showing what appeared to be a recent graduate of the university there, but turned out to be Justin Trudeau, Canada’s Prime Minister:

“J’assiste à la convention internationale du Rotary à Toronto, où je parle de l’importance de l’action humanitaire et communautaire et des moyens d’éradiquer la polio et d’autres maladies dévastatrices dans le monde.

“Protecting children”, not to say women and girls, was another of Trudeau’s themes as well a celebration of Rotary’s effort against polio.


Rotary Minute: Judge Craig Brown

In what may be the end of the tradition that began during Don Stanger’s presidency, Judge Craig Brown provided what may be the final Rotary Minute. Judge Brown spoke of the history of his family with Rotary and how the Craig Family Scholarship came about. When Judge Brown was inducted in 2014 he gave us an outline of his career that you can read here.

But this minute also gave us the chance to recognize Judge Brown for an award he received recently from the Insightful Visionaries, an organization dedicated to empowering the blind and visually impaired community.

The following is (mostly) from the dinner honoring Judge Brown on June 16th. Congratulations Judge Brown. 

District Court Judge Craig Brown retired in 2008 after working for decades in the Durham judicial system.  He was first a criminal defense attorney, then took the bench as a district court judge. Brown’s career was not without controversy.  He often spoke out against the inequities he saw in the judicial system, and some of his decisions drew criticism.  Throughout his career, Brown battled an auto-immune disease that eventually left him blind.

In 2009 he published Blind Justice.  In this hard hitting book he shares his observations as a participant in many nationally famous trials and tells of his life and his career as a judge in one of North Carolina’s most active judicial districts.

Judge Brown received his B.B in Political Science from the University of Chapel Hill in 1979 and his Juris Doctor Degree from the North Carolina School of Law in 1983.  He received his Masters Degree in Public Policy from Duke University the same year.  Most of Judge Brown’s legal career was spent in Durham, North Carolina.


Special Birthday: Brantley DeLoatch – 99

Brantley DeLoatch poses with two of his fans, Lucia Powe and Roxanne Hall after the Club sung Happy Birthday to him to celebrate his 99th Birthday. You’re working on 100 now, Brant.

I first met Brantley thirty-some years ago when I was the marketing director of Central Carolina Bank and he was on the Board and, I swear, he doesn’t look a bit older now than he did then. We should also note that Brantley has now been a Rotarian for 67 years.

For new Rotarians who want to learn a little more about Brantley here is a link to a Rotary Minute he did in 2012 when he was only 93. Brantley’s Rotary Minute.