In May, Duke and Durham said good-bye to a very good friend, the Duke Children's Classic. Since 1974, spring was filled with the excitement of the celebrities and golfers coming to town to golf, entertain and raise money for Duke Children's Hospital. The era of Perry Como and friends (Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope, President Gerald Ford, Dinah Shore, Mickey Mantle, Arnold Palmer and more) brought more shining stars than we imagined possible. When Como passed the baton to Jeff Foxworthy, the stars continued with Amy and Vince Gill, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw, the Blue Collar guys and many more.
The Children's Hospital was built through the generosity of those who came to the Classic and developed a love and commitment for Duke. Those donors left a legacy that will continue to enrich those who walk through the doors every day.
And the volunteers truly made the Classic. The drivers, volunteers at the golf course, the security team, the hospitality volunteers at the hotel and the volunteers in the theater -- they are the reason the Classic had such great success for 35 years. I am honored to have been a part of it all.
Time marches on, and so will Duke Children's Hospital. It will continue to do even greater things.
My heartfelt thanks to those who gave their support, their time and resources that made the Duke Children's Classic one of the best events in the nation. They truly made a difference in the lives of so many children.
The writer is past executive director of the Duke Children's Classic.
July 10, 2008