During her more than 45 years in Durham, MaryAnn spent 10 in the psychology department at Duke University as a clinical social worker, 20 in private practice and 12 as a Durham County Commissioner. She’s now back at Duke as the associate VP of its health system, where she has been since 2002. A mother to two sons – James Christopher Black (deceased) and Jonathan Cedric Black – and grandmother to Jordan Christopher Black, she lives in south Durham.
“My work at Duke brings me joy,” says MaryAnn, who is proud to help head up the largest employer in Durham, Duke University Health System. “Along with our great health care system, we also partner with many government and local nonprofits to provide financial support for their work in the community. I help to manage this process.”
In addition to her work at Duke, MaryAnn connects to the community through her Ladies Literary Tea Book Club, her place of worship, the Covenant Presbyterian Church, and in her support of the arts: She has been a ticket holder at the Durham Performing Arts Center since it opened in 2008.
“It brings me joy and peace when I watch the shows and meet other people who come to Durham for an evening of entertainment,” MaryAnn says. “It gives me an opportunity to brag about the city.”
One of the most memorable moments of her career came in the early 1990s when she was able to unify the Durham County Commissioners and Durham community over the way school board members were elected in the newly created school system.
“After months of conflict and discussions,” MaryAnn says, “I was able to guide the board to a vote that unified it with the community and bridged racially related issues.”
“Durham is a wonderful place to live,” she says in reflection. “It is my hope that, as Durham grows and many of us prosper, we will include opportunities for others to advance by giving a helping hand.”
Photo by Briana Brough.