Skip to main content

The Origins of the ACE Program

In February 2014, Stanford University hosted the Duke Board of Trustees in Palo Alto, CA, to provide an opportunity for the two schools which share many similarities — both are major research universities with large medical centers and strong athletic programs — to learn from each other and find new ways to collaborate. As a result of the meeting, the Duke and Stanford Athletic Departments were challenged to think about ways to work together. A shared challenge was quickly identified by both athletic departments — namely that for student-athletes, participating in experiential, off-campus programs such as study abroad and immersive civic engagement programs are often difficult due to students’ athletic schedules and training requirements.

David Rubenstein, chair of the Duke Board of Trustees at the time, gave the initial gift to Duke Athletics to start a program that would offer student-athletes the opportunity to participate in immersive service experiences. Stanford received support from Peter and Helen Bing. The Rubenstein-Bing Student-Athlete Civic Engagement Program (ACE) was formally announced in Spring 2015. Duke Athletics has also committed that a dollar of every ticket sold to regular-season home sporting events will go toward funding the program and ensuring its long-term sustainability.

Known for building a nationally recognized civic engagement program at Duke, DukeEngage was asked to be a collaborative partner in developing and running ACE. With additional support from the Haas Center for Public Service at Stanford and the ACE Advisory Board, ACE is based at Duke University and sent out the first cohort of Duke-Stanford ACE student-athletes in the field Summer 2016.

How ACE is Funded

The Rubenstein-Bing Student-Athlete Civic Engagement Program (ACE) launched in early 2015 thanks to the generous support and vision of David Rubenstein and Peter and Helen Bing.

A Baltimore native, 1970 graduate of Duke and the current chair of the university’s Board of Trustees, David Rubenstein is co-founder and managing director of The Carlyle Group, a global alternative asset manager. He is also an active civic leader and serves on numerous boards, including those of the Smithsonian Institution, Johns Hopkins University, the University of Chicago, the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, the Kennedy Center, and the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Rubenstein and his wife, Alice Rogoff Rubenstein, have three children.

Peter Bing, a 1955 graduate of Stanford, has a long record of service to the university, including more than 30 years as a Stanford trustee. He and his wife, Helen, are also among the university’s most loyal and generous supporters.

Thanks to the gifts of David Rubenstein and the Bing family, the program will expand the civic reach of Duke and Stanford and enable a cohort of student-athletes to serve in communities around the world.