About Us



Personal Finance@Duke Background Information

In the spring of 2011, a Duke alum sent an email to various administrators at Duke that found its way into the inboxes of individuals in the Financial Aid and Student Loan Offices.  Among other things, she said “I will be turning 26 in three days, and I have just now learned the importance of saving and budgeting.”  Her email also contained a request – “ . . .both I and students that have attended Duke, may have been even more grateful if, in addition to the plethora of courses that expand our intellectual curiosity, a course was taught on the practicalities of the world that seniors will soon be embarking on.”

As often happens at Duke, a group of individuals from across the institution came together to address the concern.   After months of development, they created a financial literacy program. Two undertakings arose from this endeavor: (1) a group worked on the development of and content for a web site and (2) a group of students and staff created the workshops. 

The goal of the program is to empower Duke Students and Alumni to make informed financial decisions by providing  them with  financial management knowledge and skills  necessary to navigate life events that affect everyday financial decisions, discuss issues surrounding personal finances, and plan for the future.

Objectives of this website

  • Provide an easy to use, sleek and contemporary web based interactive educational resource for “18-28” year olds (Duke freshmen to young alumni) to address the educational gap facing this population concerning financial literacy and responsibility.
  • Provide a “go to” place for the entire Duke community (students, faculty, and staff) to promote financial education programs.
  • Graduate more prepared students by providing financial life skills that go beyond pure academics. Change poor habits and form good habits of financial thought and spending. Strive to decrease student loan disbursements and defaults.
  • Teach students how to manage and budget their finances, demystify insurance, and plan for their financial future from saving/investing to retirement. We will further provide an extensive financial terms data base and resources for educational and career help/aid/assistance.
  • Empower students by providing an online conduit to access/schedule individual counseling, sign up for live workshops, and provide a “safe place” to ask questions about financial literacy and responsibility. 
  • Build a community of Duke resources/people (students, alumni, faculty, and staff) to share experiences and contact each other to provide guidance/information.

The following individuals and groups contributed to Personal Finance @ Duke:

Financial Literacy Committee

  • Beth Wessels, Student Loans
  • Betsy Morris, MBA, Bursar
  • Deborah Johnson, Ph.D., UG Education
  • Irene Jasper, CPA, Student Loans
  • Irene Liu, Graduate Student
  • Jennifer Phillips, Career Center
  • Kim Hanauer, Duke Alumni
  • John Caccavale, MBA, Financial Econ Ctr.
  • Justin Clapp, UG Financial Aid
  • Sherrie Clayton, Student Loans
  • Kathy Sikes, Ph.D., Program in Ed.
  • Lisa Alfman, Graduate Financial Aid
  • Mathavi Jothimurugesan, UG Education

Student Advisory Committee

  • Liz Jones, Duke Senior
  • Nichole Leung, Duke Sophomore
  • Caroline Jacobs, Duke Sophomore
  • Matthew Ordway, Duke Sophomore
  • Chole Songer, Duke Sophomore
  • Jen Zwilling, Duke Senior
  • Irene Liu, Graduate: Biology
  • Eddie Watts, Graduate: Economics

Sponsors and Partners

  • Undergraduate Education, Steve Nowicki
  • Duke Financial Economics Center, John Caccavale
  • Fuqua School of Business, Chris Shull
  • Law School, William Hoye
  • Divinity School, Rob Knebel
  • Graduate School, Cindy Robertson
  • Nicholas School of the Environment, Cindy Peters
  • Sanford School of Public Policy, David Arrington
  • School of Nursing, David Bowersox
  • School of Medicine, Stacey McCorison
  • Duke Communications, Denise Haviland and Blyth Morrell