Carolina students taking Spanish can thank UNC alum Duke Buchan III and his early obsession with the World Book Encyclopedia for innovative learning experiences that make the language more relevant than ever.
Buchan, founder and CEO of the West Palm Beach, Fla., money management firm, Hunter Global Investors L.P., established the Buchan Excellence Fund in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures. The fund supports faculty and students working in Spanish languages, literature and culture.
“We are confident that our support will help take UNC students, professors and the institution itself to a higher level,” Buchan says. “Our family is honored to give something back to the University that has given us so much.”
As a child in rural Vance County in North Carolina, Buchan devoured the photos and words in his World Book Encyclopedia, fascinated with places beyond the tobacco fields near his home. His quest for knowledge, along with dinner table discussions about Carolina basketball, set Buchan’s academic path in motion.
“Growing up in a small town less than 60 miles from Chapel Hill, Carolina was all I knew,” Buchan says. “Most importantly, our family knew that UNC offered one of the best college educations in the country at an unbeatable cost.”
After his high school Spanish teachers encouraged him to spend a summer in Valencia, Spain, Buchan was “hooked on seeing the world.”
At Carolina he studied Spanish and economics. He enrolled in the University’s year abroad program in Seville, Spain. He describes the year as the most transformative of his life.
“The study of the Spanish language, literature and cultures provided me a passport to a world outside the U.S. and instilled in me a global perspective,” says Buchan, who graduated from UNC in 1985 and earned his M.B.A at Harvard Business School in 1991. “My first job out of Carolina was in Miami, where I used Spanish on a daily basis.”
Published July 29, 2013.