Most annual reports typically look back at the achievements of the past year, and while we have many accomplishments to be proud of, this report -- my fourth as president -- principally looks to the future. Actions taken and decisions made during the past year describe a university transcending traditional university models by taking what we do out into the world.
This year marked the completion of a $1.3-billion, eight-year strategic blueprint to guide our future. It reflects the collective boldness and thoughtfulness of many at Duke, and will help us focus the strengths and enthusiasm of people across the university to address real-world issues. The strategic plan has been dubbed Making a Difference. That is what we will do, by empowering students and faculty, by providing them the infrastructure to succeed, and by ensuring connection to broader society.
A key portion of the plan focuses on the people who make this university what it is -- faculty and students. Significant resources have been marshaled to continue increasing the quality of our faculty, especially in fields that cross boundaries. In this report you will also read about a truly exciting program, DukeEngage, which will provide support for undergraduates to apply classroom learning to practical problems in the outside world, whether by working in a Durham neighborhood or helping Yemenese nongovernmental organizations spread and foster democracy. I am pleased we can provide this opportunity for our students to make a difference.
We all realize that a great university is more than its bricks and mortar, but these structures are important in how we as a community can take advantage of learning opportunities. We are now planning for the next major transformation which, with the Nasher Museum as its anchor, will become a central venue for the whole Duke community. As we look ahead to what this new center of activity means, we can also look back at some concrete additions that have enriched our current campus, including the French Science Center, the new School of Nursing building, and the expansion of the School of Law.
As we make these ambitious plans, we remain mindful to maintain and foster a community that reflects society as a whole. I am gratified to see that 44 percent of the class of 2011 comes from traditionally underrepresented groups, a record high for Duke. I also believe that the ability of a student to attend this university should not be limited by financial considerations. Duke is one of a small number of schools committed to need-blind admissions as well as meeting full need. We are proud to report that during this year we reached the three-quarter mark in raising $300 million for financial aid through the Financial Aid Initiative. This bodes well for the future of this institution.
These activities, as well as many other developments highlighted in this report, should give you a taste of what to expect in the coming years. Future reports will document how well we achieved these goals.
President, Duke University