Two Duke Engineers Named to Board of Trustees

July 6, 2011

DURHAM, N.C. -- Two engineering alumnus--Bill Hawkins and Ali Saaem--were named to join the Duke University Board of Trustees on July 1, the university announced Wednesday.

Serving six-year terms on the governing body are biomedical engineer Bill Hawkins, former chairman and chief executive officer of Medtronic, Inc.; Allyson Duncan, a judge on the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals; Gerald Hassell, president of BNY Mellon;  Betsy Holden, senior adviser to McKinsey & Co.; and the Rev. Ashley Crowder Stanley, executive director of the Transition Into Ministry program.

Also, Robert Penn, president of three privately held independent oil and gas production companies, will serve a two-year term beginning July 1. Penn will complete the six-year term of Kimberly Jenkins, who vacated her position to become Duke's senior adviser to the president and provost for innovation and entrepreneurship.

Bill Hawkins, left; Ali Saaem, rightEngineer Ali Saaem, the young trustee from graduate/professional students, will serve as an observer for one year, then as a voting member for one year.

Hawkins, a Durham native and Duke engineering graduate, joined Medtronic as senior vice president in January 2002. He was named president and chief operating officer two years later. Hawkins assumed the role of chief executive officer of Medtronic, Inc. in 2007 and became chairman of the board in 2008.  He retired in June of this year.

Before joining Medtronic, Hawkins worked for four years as president and chief executive officer at Novoste Corp.

He chaired the Pratt School of Engineering Board of Visitors at Duke from 2009-11 and is a member of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts Board of Trustees.

Saaem, a fifth-year biomedical engineering Ph.D. candidate at Duke's Pratt School of Engineering, serves on the executive body of the Graduate and Professional Student Council and has been a member of Duke’s Business and Finance Committee. He is also a mentor in the BOOST program of the Duke-Durham Neighborhood Partnership, which works to educate minority sixth-graders about science and inspire them to pursue careers in medicine and related fields.

Prior to entering his doctoral studies, Saaem held engineering positions at Motorola and Verizon Wireless. He also worked as a consultant in the Investment Banking Unit of Eastern Bank Ltd., a private bank in his native Bangladesh. He is currently involved in a biotech startup.

For information on the other members, see Duke's full news release at: