The Durham Academy Alumni Board recognizes the contributions of accomplished alumni and the legacies of dedicated faculty and staff members each year at the Spring Alumni Reception. The board has honored alumni with the Distinguished Alumni Award each year since 1983, and a faculty or staff member with the Faculty and Staff Legacy Award each year since 2012. In addition, at its discretion, the board may choose to honor an alumnus with the Alumni Service Award, first bestowed in 2014.
Distinguished Alumni Award
2017 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient Sarah Treem '98 is the co-creator of The Affair, which won the 2015 Golden Globe Award for Outstanding Drama Series, and is now in its third season on Showtime. She was a writer and co-executive producer on the inaugural season of Netflix’s House of Cards, which was nominated for nine Golden Globes. She also wrote for all three seasons of the acclaimed HBO series In Treatment. Treem won the 2014 Writers Guild of America Award (New Series) for House of Cards and the 2009 Writers Guild of America Award (New Series) for In Treatment.
Each year, a recipient is selected by a Distinguished Alumni Award Committee. Through this award, the Alumni Board aims "to recognize individuals who have distinguished themselves in their business, profession or vocation and through their actions have demonstrated concern for, and service to, their community. The individuals should have shown loyalty to Durham Academy, and their personal values and achievements should be representative of Durham Academy's highest ideals."
2017 Faculty and Staff Legacy Award recipient Dennis Cullen teaches math in the Upper School, with a tenure at DA stretching back to 1976. He served as chair of the math department for 36 years. Outside the classroom, he touched the lives of thousands of athletes as head coach of DA's track and cross country teams for 39 years. Along the way, he won 39 state team championships and coached 196 individual state championships. The N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association named its girls 3A track and field championship trophy after the well-respected coach in 2015.
The Faculty and Staff Legacy Award is given to the faculty or staff member who best represents the alumni's aspirations for the school. Previous recipients include Middle School science teacher Barb Kanoy (2016), Middle School history teacher Tim Dahlgren (2015), former Preschool Director Sheppy Vann (2014), former Headmaster Ed Costello (2013) and former history teacher Dave Gould (2012).
2016 Alumni Service Award recipient Patrick Nevins '03 served his country in the U.S. Marine Corps and launched the No Better Friend Fund, a nonprofit to support fellow veterans.
After two deployments to Afghanistan, Nevins returned to Durham to earn a master's degree candidate in Duke University's Sanford School of Public Policy. In the time that Nevins has been back in Durham, he has twice shared his story with students in Jordan Adair's Literary and Artistic Responses to War course, and he and Adair have stayed in close contact since his graduation from DA. In introducing Nevins at the alumni reception, Adair praised his former student and basketball player's "unquenching desire to make the world a better place."
"Finding a way to serve his fellow returning veterans seems so appropriate for Patrick," Adair said. "He saw a need and applied his skills as a leader to the task at hand, and today is launching the No Better Friend Fund as a way to have a direct impact on the lives of his fellow Marines. I can't think of a better way to define the nature of service."
Nevins is the second recipient of the Alumni Service Award. The first award was granted to alumnus Chris Rosati '89.