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.
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."
2022 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient Bradley Hardy ’98 is an associate professor in the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University. He is a nonresident senior fellow in Economic Studies at the Brookings Institution, a research fellow with the Institute for Economic Equity at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, and a research affiliate of both the University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty and the University of Kentucky Center for Poverty Research. Prior to joining the faculty at Georgetown, he served as a professor in American University’s School of Public Affairs for 10 years, where he held leadership roles as the director of the Master of Public Policy program and as department chair.
Hardy is a labor economist with research focused on economic volatility, intergenerational mobility, poverty policy, racial economic inequality and socio-economic outcomes. At Georgetown, he teaches courses on microeconomics and public finance. His research examines trends and sources of income volatility and intergenerational mobility within the U.S., with a focus on socio-economically disadvantaged families, neighborhoods and regions. He also conducts research on the role of anti-poverty transfer programs such as food assistance programs, the earned income tax credit and cash assistance programs for improving economic well-being among low-income individuals and families.
Hardy is a co-editor at Contemporary Economic Policy and the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, and is a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management. He serves on the executive board of the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management and is an elected member of the National Academy of Social Insurance. His work and his expert commentary have been featured in major media and news outlets, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, MSNBC, NPR, Vox, the Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and CNBC. He is in his second term as a member of the Durham Academy Alumni Board.
"The Durham Academy Alumni Board is thrilled to see Bradley recognized for all he has accomplished in his career to build more economic equity and opportunity. Even more important, we honor Brad for the person he is and his dedication to others,” said Alumni Board member and classmate Molly Shaw ’98. “As alumni, we take pride in watching how the warmth, curiosity, thoughtfulness and energy we knew in a young Brad Hardy has translated into large-scale social impact. Congratulations Bradley!"
Hardy holds a B.A. in economics from Morehouse College, a master of public policy degree from Georgetown University and a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Kentucky. He lives in Chevy Chase, Maryland, with his wife, Bonita Robertson-Hardy, and their son, Luke, who was born in January.
The Alumni Board grants this award annually to the faculty and/or staff member(s) who, in their service to the school and its mission, best represent the alumni’s aspirations for Durham Academy. Recipients embody the best of the teaching profession in general and are committed to excellence at DA; share a substantial history with the school and have impacted a significant number of alumni; have imparted lessons that transcend subject matter and extend beyond classrooms; have instilled values in students that continue to play a role in the lives of alumni beyond graduation; and serve as pillars of the DA community by representing the school's mission and core values of living moral, happy and productive lives.
2022 Faculty and Staff Legacy Award recipient Randy Baker began working at Durham Academy on Feb. 23, 1981, as one of three maintenance staff employees who were responsible for covering all three campuses. Baker spent his first 27 years working on the Academy Road campus (when it still housed the Preschool, Lower School and Middle School), then moved to the Ridge Road campus as maintenance foreman when a co-worker retired in 2009.
He has set up thousands of tables and chairs, mowed miles of grass, changed hundreds of light bulbs, unclogged all kinds of clogs, repaired all kinds of equipment and removed the occasional black snake from campus. “If items in the buildings, classrooms or even outdoor areas have ever been repaired on this campus in the last 40 years, there's a good chance Randy had his hands on it,” said Facilities Director Michael Smith. “The Lower School students know him as Mr. Randy — they are constantly saying hey or giving him a high-five when he walks by.”
Baker grew up in south Durham when it was farmland with hogs and cows. He and his wife, Becky, raised their daughter Katie, a 2012 DA graduate, in the same house Baker’s family moved to when he was just a year old. Baker worked as an auto mechanic after graduating from Jordan High School. He spent a short time making surgical instruments, and came to Durham Academy after working at Liggett and Myers Tobacco Company and IBM. The rest is history.
Baker’s most famous project may be the treehouse in the Lower School library. By the time the month-long project was finished, every student in the Lower School had a hand in adding at least one nail or screw to help build it. Preschoolers made the flowers for the flower boxes. The treehouse is named Fort Baker in his honor.
Baker is retiring in April after serving the Durham Academy community for 41 years. Before spring break, he was recognized as part of the Upper School’s Magnificent Community assembly, where students, faculty and staff honor peers for one of the 15 traits exemplified by The DA Graduate: A Mission-Driven Life. Kennedy Turner ’23 introduced her gratitude project, including thank you posters signed by Middle and Upper School faculty and staff, and a tribute video featuring Preschool and Lower School students and teachers celebrating Baker for his decades of service.
In the future, Baker will ride his mower in the mountains of southwest Virginia, where he owns a cabin and 14 acres of land. In a 2017 Staff Spotlight, Baker recalled that one of his duties over the decades was to affix plaques noting years of service on chairs that were traditionally given to retiring teachers or staff members. He said he knew how he wanted to wrap up his long career at Durham Academy. “When I retire I want to put my own plaque on a chair. That will be the last one I do.”
This award, granted at the discretion of the Alumni Board, recognizes an alumni with superior service in the public sector, or a sustained pattern of volunteer service in the community. Recipients have demonstrated a continued connection to Durham Academy and its core values of living a moral, happy and productive life.