Changing of guard – Founder’s great-niece steps down

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Mary Duke Biddle Trent Semans has retired as chairman of the board of trustees of the Duke Endowment and been succeeded by Charlotte lawyer Russell M. Robinson II.

Semans, great-niece of founder James B. Duke, will remain on the board, which she joined in  1957 and has headed since 1982.

Robinson, a board member since 1987, is a member of the Charlotte-based firm Robinson, Bradshaw & Hinson.

An authority on North Carolina corporate law and author of a standard text on the subject, he is chairman of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte Foundation and has served as chairman of the board of trustees at UNC-Charlotte and counsel to the John Motley Morehead Foundation at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The foundation, with $2.8 billion in assets, is one of the largest private foundations in the U.S.

It awarded grants of more than $98 million last year, and has handed out more than $1.5 billion since 1924.

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