Duke University

Duke University
Duke University
Motto Eruditio et Religio (Latin)[1]
Motto in English Knowledge and Faith[2]
Established 1838
Type Private
Religious affiliation The United Methodist Church[3][4][5][6]
  • $5.7 billion[7]
President Richard H. Brodhead
Academic staff 3,138[8]
Admin. staff
  • 8,057 Campus Employees
  • 32,848 Total including Duke University Health System[8]
Students 14,248[8]
Undergraduates 6,504[8]
Postgraduates 7,744[8]
Location Durham, North Carolina, United States
36°0′4″N 78°56′20″W / 36.00111°N 78.93889°W / 36.00111; -78.93889Coordinates: 36°0′4″N 78°56′20″W / 36.00111°N 78.93889°W / 36.00111; -78.93889
  • Urban
  • 8,610 acres (34.8 km2)
Former names
  • Brown School (1838–1841)
  • Union Institute (1841–1851)
  • Normal College (1851–1859)
  • Trinity College (1859–1924)
Athletics NCAA Division I FBS; ACC
26 varsity teams
Nickname Blue Devils
Website duke.edu
Logo of Duke University

Duke University is a private research university located in Durham, North Carolina, United States. Founded by Methodists and Quakers in the present day town of Trinity in 1838, the school moved to Durham in 1892.[10] In 1924, tobacco industrialist James B. Duke established The Duke Endowment, at which time the institution changed its name to honor his deceased father, Washington Duke.

The university has an "historical, formal, on-going, and symbolic" affiliation with The United Methodist Church, but is considered a non-sectarian institution.[6][3][4][5] Organized into two undergraduate and ten graduate and professional schools, Duke's research expenditures topped $657 million in 2009, placing it amongst the largest ten in the nation.[11] In its 2012 edition, U.S. News & World Report ranked the university's undergraduate program 10th among national universities,[12] while ranking the medical, law, public affairs, nursing, and business graduate programs among the top 12 in the United States.[13] In the 2011 QS World University Rankings, Duke ranked 19th worldwide.[14] Competing in the Atlantic Coast Conference, Duke's athletic teams—known as the Blue Devils—have captured twelve national championships, including four by its high profile men's basketball team.

The university's campus spans over 8,600 acres (35 km2) on three contiguous campuses in Durham as well as a marine lab in Beaufort. Duke's main campus—designed largely by the prominent African American architect Julian Abele—incorporates Gothic architecture with the 210-foot (64 m) Duke Chapel at the campus' epicenter and highest point of elevation. The forest environs surrounding parts of the campus belie the University's proximity to downtown Durham. Construction projects have updated both the freshmen-populated Georgian-style East Campus and the main Gothic-style West Campus, as well as the adjacent Medical Center over the past five years.




Early 20th century black-and-white photo of three-story building
One of the first buildings on the original Durham campus (East Campus), the Washington Duke Building ("Old Main"), was destroyed by a fire in 1911.

Duke started in 1838 as Brown's Schoolhouse, a private subscription school founded in Randolph County in the present-day town of Trinity.[15] Organized by the Union Institute Society, a group of Methodists and Quakers, Brown's Schoolhouse became the Union Institute Academy in 1841 when North Carolina issued a charter. The academy was renamed Normal College in 1851 and then Trinity College in 1859 because of support from the Methodist Church.[15] In 1892 Trinity moved to Durham, largely due to generosity from Julian S. Carr and Washington Duke, powerful and respected Methodists who had grown wealthy through the tobacco and electrical industries.[10] Carr donated land in 1892 for the original Durham campus, which is now known as East Campus. At the same time, Washington Duke gave the school $85,000 for an initial endowment and construction costs—later augmenting his generosity with three separate $100,000 contributions in 1896, 1899, and 1900—with the stipulation that the college "open its doors to women, placing them on an equal footing with men."[16]

In 1924 Washington Duke's son, James B. Duke, established The Duke Endowment with a $40 million trust fund. Income from the fund was to be distributed to hospitals, orphanages, the Methodist Church, and four colleges (including Trinity College). William Preston Few, the president of Trinity at the time, insisted that the institution be renamed Duke University to honor the family's generosity and to distinguish it from the myriad of other colleges and universities carrying the "Trinity" name. At first, James B. Duke thought the name change would come off as self-serving, but eventually he accepted Few's proposal as a memorial to his father.[10] Money from the endowment allowed the University to grow quickly. Duke's original campus, East Campus, was rebuilt from 1925 to 1927 with Georgian-style buildings. By 1930, the majority of the Collegiate Gothic-style buildings on the campus one mile (1.6 km) west were completed, and construction on West Campus culminated with the completion of Duke Chapel in 1935.[17]

Statue of James B. Duke in foreground with Duke Chapel behind
James B. Duke established the Duke Endowment, which provides funds to numerous institutions, including Duke University.

Expansion and growth

Engineering, which had been taught since 1903, became a separate school in 1939. In athletics, Duke hosted and competed in the only Rose Bowl ever played outside California in Wallace Wade Stadium in 1942.[18] During World War II, Duke was one of 131 colleges and universities nationally that took part in the V-12 Navy College Training Program which offered students a path to a Navy commission.[19] In 1963 the Board of Trustees officially desegregated the undergraduate college.[20] Increased activism on campus during the 1960s prompted Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to speak at the University in November 1964 on the progress of the civil rights movement. Terry Sanford, the former governor of North Carolina, was elected president of the university in 1969, propelling the Fuqua School of Business's opening, the William R. Perkins library completion, and the founding of the Institute of Policy Sciences and Public Affairs (now the Sanford School of Public Policy). The separate Woman's College merged back with Trinity as the liberal arts college for both men and women in 1972. Beginning in the 1970s, Duke administrators began a long-term effort to strengthen Duke's reputation both nationally and internationally. Interdisciplinary work was emphasized, as was recruiting minority faculty and students.[21][22][23] Duke University Hospital was finished in 1980 and the student union building was fully constructed two years later. In 1986 the men's soccer team captured Duke's first National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) championship, and the men's basketball team followed shortly thereafter with championships in 1991 and 1992.[15]

Recent history

Photo of Levine Science Research Center on campus of Duke University
The Levine Science Research Center is the largest single-site interdisciplinary research facility of any American university.[24]

Duke's growth and academic focus have contributed to continuing the university's reputation as an academic and research powerhouse.[25] The school has regularly sent three-member teams to the William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition, earning the title of the best collegiate undergraduate math team in the United States and Canada in 1993, 1996, and 2000. From 1996 to 2007, Duke's team finished in the top five 10 times, trailing only Harvard's 11 in that time period.[26]

Construction continued on campus in the 1990s, with the 314,000-square-foot (29,200 m2) Levine Science Research Center (LSRC) opening in 1994 to house interdisciplinary research. Similar projects have updated both the freshmen-housed East Campus and the main West Campus, as well as the adjacent Medical Center, in the past two decades.

In 1998 President Nan Keohane initiated a five-year $1.5 billion "Campaign for Duke" fundraising effort. Edmund T. Pratt, Jr. ('47) endowed the Pratt School of Engineering with a $35 million gift in 1999. The Campaign for Duke ended in 2003 with $2.36 billion raised, making it the fifth largest campaign in the history of American higher education.[27] Three students were named Rhodes Scholars in both 2002 and 2006, a number surpassed only by Harvard in 2002 and the United States Military Academy in 2006.[28][29] Overall, Duke has produced 42 Rhodes Scholars through 2011, including 21 in the 21-year period between 1990 to 2011.[30][31]

In August 2005, Duke established a partnership with the National University of Singapore to develop a joint medical program, which had its first entering class in 2007.[32] The first working demonstration of an invisibility cloak was unveiled by Duke researchers in October 2006.[33] Figures from the 2008 fiscal year show research expenditures surpassed the $766 million mark.[34] Another notable event in 2006 occurred when three lacrosse team members were falsely accused of rape. Charges against the players were later dropped and the accused were declared innocent by the state's attorney general. The incident garnered significant media attention.[35]


Complete photo of Duke Chapel on a sunny day
Duke Chapel, a frequent icon for the university, can seat nearly 1,600 people and contains a 5,200-pipe organ.

Duke University owns 220 buildings on 8,610 acres (34.8 km2) of land, which includes the 7,200 acres (29 km2) Duke Forest.[8] The campus is divided into four main areas: West, East, and Central campuses and the Medical Center, which are all connected via a free bus service. On the Atlantic coast in Beaufort, Duke owns 15 acres (61,000 m2) as part of its marine lab. One of the major public attractions on the main campus is the 55-acre (220,000 m2) Sarah P. Duke Gardens, established in the 1930s.[8]

Duke students often refer to the campus as "the Gothic Wonderland," a nickname referring to the Collegiate Gothic architecture of West Campus.[36][37] Much of the campus was designed by Julian Abele, one of the first prominent African-American architects and the chief designer in the offices of architect Horace Trumbauer.[38] The residential quadrangles are of an early and somewhat unadorned design, while the buildings in the academic quadrangles show influences of the more elaborate late French and Italian styles. The freshmen campus (East Campus) is composed of buildings in the Georgian architecture style.[8]

The stone used for West Campus has seven primary colors and seventeen shades of color.[39] The university supervisor of planning and construction wrote that the stone has "an older, more attractive antique effect" and a "warmer and softer coloring than the Princeton stone" that gave the university an "artistic look."[39] James B. Duke initially suggested the use of stone from a quarry in Princeton, New Jersey, but later amended the plans to purchase a local quarry in Hillsborough to reduce costs.[39] Duke Chapel stands at the center of West Campus on the highest ridge. Constructed from 1930 to 1935, the chapel seats 1,600 people and, at 210 feet (64 m) is one of the tallest buildings in Durham County.[40]

From February 2001 to November 2005, Duke spent $835 million on 34 major construction projects as part of a five-year strategic plan, "Building on Excellence."[41] Completed projects since 2002 include major additions to the business, law, nursing, and divinity schools, a new library, an art museum, a football training facility, two residential buildings, an engineering complex, a public policy building, an eye institute, two genetic research buildings, a student plaza, the French Family Science Center, and two new medical-research buildings.[42]

A building's Gothic-style exterior and grass lawn in foreground
The Gothic Reading Room of Perkins Library

Libraries and museums

With more than six million volumes, the Duke University Library System is one of the ten largest private research university library systems in the U.S. and is 22nd largest among members of the Association of Research Libraries.[43] In addition to millions of books, there are 17.7 million manuscripts, 1.2 million public documents, and tens of thousands of films and videos.[44]

The William R. Perkins Library system comprises the Perkins Library complex (Perkins Library, Bostock Library, Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library and University Archives), Lilly Library (which houses materials on fine arts, philosophy, film and video, and performing arts), the Music Library, and the Pearse Memorial Library (located at the Marine Lab).[45] Besides the main William R. Perkins Library complex, the university library system also includes the separately-administered Ford (business), Divinity School, Goodson Law, and Medical Center libraries.[46]

Duke's art collections are housed at the Nasher Museum of Art on Central Campus. The museum was designed by Rafael Viñoly and is named for Duke alumnus and art collector Raymond Nasher. The museum opened in 2005 at a cost of over $23 million and contains over 13,000 works of art, including works by Andy Warhol, Barkley L. Hendricks, Christian Marclay, Dario Robleto, and Kara Walker.[47]

West, East, and Central Campuses

West Campus, considered the main campus of the University, houses all the sophomores, along with some juniors and seniors.[48] Most of the academic and administrative centers are located there. Main West Campus, with Duke Chapel at its center, contains the majority of residential quads to the south, while the main academic quad, library, and Medical Center are to the north. The campus, spanning 720 acres (2.9 km2), includes Science Drive, which is the location of science and engineering buildings. Most of the campus eateries and sports facilities—including the historic basketball stadium, Cameron Indoor Stadium—are on West Campus.[8][49]

Panoramic photo of a row of three-story Gothic style building exteriors
The main West Campus is dominated by Neo-Gothic architecture. Shown here are typical residence halls.

East Campus, the original location of Duke after it moved to Durham,[50] functions as a freshman campus as well as the home of several academic departments. Since the 1995–96 academic year, all freshmen—and only freshmen, except for upperclassmen serving as Resident Assistants—have lived on East Campus, to build class unity. The campus encompasses 97 acres (390,000 m2) and is 1.5 miles (2.4 km) from West Campus.[8] The Art History, History, Literature, Music, Philosophy, and Women's Studies Departments are housed on East.[50] Programs such as dance, drama, education, film, and the University Writing Program reside on East. The self-sufficient East Campus contains the freshman residence halls, a dining hall, coffee shop, post office, Lilly Library, Baldwin Auditorium, a theater, Brodie Gym, tennis courts, and several academic buildings.[50] Separated from downtown by a short walk, the area was the site of the Women's College from 1930 to 1972.[50]

Panoramic photo of Georgian style buildings lining a grass lawn with a domed auditorium in the background
East Campus, home to all Duke freshmen, features Georgian style architecture. Baldwin Auditorium can be seen on the right side.

Central Campus, consisting of 122 acres (0.49 km2) between East and West campuses, houses around 850 juniors and seniors and 200 professional students in apartments.[51] It is home to the Nasher Museum of Art, the Freeman Center for Jewish Life, the Duke Police Department, the Duke Office of Disability Management, a Ronald McDonald House, and administrative departments such as Duke Residence Life and Housing Services. Central Campus has several recreation and social facilities such as basketball courts, tennis courts, a sand volleyball court, barbecue grills and picnic shelters, a general gathering building called Devil's Den, the Mill Village, and a convenience store.[51]

Since 2005, there has been a long-term plan in place to restructure Central Campus over the subsequent 20 to 50 years.[52] The idea is to develop an "academic village" as a key center for the Duke community.[53] This academic village will provide living arrangements for undergraduate, graduate, and professional students and some faculty, plus dining, recreation, and academic support spaces while serving as a living laboratory for sustainability.[52][54]

Key places

A Lilly pond and stoned walkway with various trees in the background
The Sarah P. Duke Gardens attract more than 300,000 visitors each year.

Duke Forest, established in 1931, consists of 7,200 acres (29 km2) in six divisions, just west of West Campus.[14] The largest private research forest in North Carolina and one of the largest in the nation,[55] the Duke Forest demonstrates a variety of forest stand types and silvicultural treatments. Duke Forest is used extensively for research, and includes the Aquatic Research Facility, Forest Carbon Transfer and Storage (FACTS-I) research facility, two permanent towers suitable for micrometerological studies, and other areas designated for animal behavior and ecosystem study.[56] More than 30 miles (48 km) of trails are open to the public for hiking, cycling, and horseback riding.[57]

The Duke Lemur Center, located inside the Duke Forest, is the world's largest sanctuary for rare and endangered prosimian primates.[58] Founded in 1966, the Duke Lemur Center spans 85 acres (34 ha) and contains nearly 300 animals of 25 different species of lemurs, galagos and lorises.[59]

Gothic-style four story exterior of a building with castle-like turrets
Entrance to the Medical Center from West Campus

The Sarah P. Duke Gardens, established in the early 1930s, is situated between West Campus and the apartments of Central Campus. The gardens occupy 55 acres (22 ha), divided into four major sections:[60] the original Terraces and their surroundings; the H.L. Blomquist Garden of Native Plants, devoted to flora of the Southeastern United States; the W.L. Culberson Asiatic Arboretum, housing plants of Eastern Asia, as well as disjunct species found in Eastern Asia and Eastern North America; and the Doris Duke Center Gardens. There are five miles (8 km) of allées and paths throughout the gardens.[60]

Duke University Medical Center, bordering Duke's West Campus northern boundary, combines one of the top-rated hospitals[61] and one of the top-ranked medical schools[62] in the U.S. Founded in 1930, the Medical Center occupies 8 million square feet (700,000 m²) in 99 buildings on 210 acres (85 ha).[63]

Duke University Marine Lab, located in the town of Beaufort, North Carolina, is also technically part of Duke's campus. The marine lab is situated on Pivers Island on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, 150 yards (140 m) across the channel from Beaufort. Duke's interest in the area began in the early 1930s and the first buildings were erected in 1938.[64] The resident faculty represent the disciplines of oceanography, marine biology, marine biomedicine, marine biotechnology, and coastal marine policy, and management. The Marine Laboratory is a member of the National Association of Marine Laboratories.[64]


Four-story tower on left beset by arched walkway in center and pedestrian bridge connecting tower to three-story Gothic building
Entrance to Bostock Library, which opened in the fall of 2005

Duke's student body consists of 6,504 undergraduates and 7,744 graduate and professional students (as of fall 2010).[8] The university has "historic and symbolic ties to the Methodist Church but it always has been independent in its governance."[4][5][6] For the undergraduate class of 2015, Duke received 29,689 applications, and accepted approximately 11% of them.[65] According to The Huffington Post, Duke ranks among the ten toughest universities to get into based on admissions data.[66] The yield rate (the percentage of accepted students who choose to attend the university) is approximately 45%.[67] For the class of 2014, 96% of admitted students ranked in the top 10% of their high school classes. The middle 50% range of SAT scores for first-year students is 1380–1560 (old scale) or 2070–2340 (new scale), while the ACT range is 31–34.[68][69][70][71]

Demographics of student body Fall 2010[72][73]
Undergraduate Graduate U.S. Census[74]
African American 10% 5% 12.1%
Asian American 22% 9% 4.3%
White American
47% 54% 68%
Hispanic American 7% 4% 14.5%
14% 28% N/A

Duke University has two schools for undergraduates: Trinity College of Arts and Sciences and Pratt School of Engineering.[75]

From 2001 to 2011, Duke has had the sixth highest number of Fulbright, Rhodes, Truman, and Goldwater scholarships in the nation among private universities.[76][77][78][79] The University practices need-blind admissions and meets 100% of admitted students' demonstrated need. About 50 percent of all Duke students receive some form of financial aid, which includes need-based aid, athletic aid, and merit aid. The average need-based grant for the 2010–2011 academic year was nearly $36,000.[80][81] Roughly 60 merit-based scholarships are also offered, including the Angier B. Duke Memorial Scholarship, awarded for academic excellence. Other scholarships are geared toward students in North Carolina, African-American students, and high-achieving students requiring financial aid.[80]

Duke's endowment had a market value of $5.7 billion in the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2011.[8] The University's special academic facilities include an art museum, several language labs, the Duke Forest, the Duke Herbarium, a lemur center, a phytotron, a free electron laser, a nuclear magnetic resonance machine, a nuclear lab, and a marine lab. Duke is a leading participant in the National Lambda Rail Network and runs a program for gifted children known as the Talent Identification Program.[82][83]

Cathedral-sized arched and intricate windows on chapel are displayed prominently in foreground with larger soaring chapel peaking out at the top
Part of the Divinity School addition, Goodson Chapel

Graduate profile

In 2009, the School of Medicine received 5,166 applications[84] and accepted approximately 4% of them,[85] while the average GPA and MCAT scores for accepted students from 2002 through 2009 were 3.74 and 34, respectively.[86][87] The School of Law accepted approximately 13% of its applicants for the Class of 2014, while enrolling students had a median GPA of 3.75 and median LSAT of 170.[88]

The University's graduate and professional schools include the Graduate School, the Pratt School of Engineering, the Nicholas School of the Environment, the School of Medicine, the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School, the School of Nursing, the Fuqua School of Business, the School of Law, the Divinity School, and the Sanford School of Public Policy.[89]

Undergraduate curriculum

Gray stone building with large Doric columns and grassy foreground, framed by trees
The West Duke Building on East Campus replaced the destroyed Washington Duke Building.

Duke offers 36 arts and sciences majors, four engineering majors, and 46 additional majors that have been approved under Program II, which allows students to design their own interdisciplinary major.[90] Sixteen certificate programs also are available. Students may pursue a combination of a total of up to three majors, minors, and certificates. Eighty percent of undergraduates enroll in the Trinity College of Arts and Sciences, while the rest are in the Pratt School of Engineering.[91]

Trinity's curriculum operates under the revised version of "Curriculum 2000."[92] It ensures that students are exposed to a variety of "areas of knowledge" and "modes of inquiry." The curriculum aims to help students develop critical faculties and judgment by learning how to access, synthesize, and communicate knowledge effectively. The intent is to assist students in acquiring perspective on current and historical events, conducting research and solving problems, and developing tenacity and a capacity for hard and sustained work.[92]Freshmen can elect to participate in the FOCUS Program, which allows students to engage in an interdisciplinary exploration of a specific topic in a small group setting.[93]

Pratt's curriculum is narrower in scope, but still accommodates double majors in a variety of disciplines. The school emphasizes undergraduate research—opportunities for hands-on experiences arise through internships, fellowship programs, and the structured curriculum. For the class of 2010, about 31% of Pratt undergraduates studied abroad,[94] small compared to the percentage for Trinity undergraduates (47%), but much larger than the national average for engineering students (3.2%).[95][96]


A four-story brick and stone building alongside pedestrian path
The Fitzpatrick Center is home to many of Duke's engineering programs.

In the 2009 fiscal year, research expenditures surpassed $657 million, mostly in health care and life sciences.[11] In the 2005 fiscal year, Duke University Medical Center received the sixth-largest amount of funding from the National Institute of Health, netting $391.2 million.[97][98] Duke's funding increased 14.8% from 2004, representing the largest growth of any top-20 recipient.[98] In the 2008 fiscal year, Duke University School of Nursing was 18th nationally in the rankings of the National Institute of Health funding for nursing schools, netting more than $2.34 million, up 54 percent from 2007, when it ranked 30th nationally.[99]

Throughout the school's history, Duke researchers have made breakthroughs, including the biomedical engineering department's development of the world's first real-time, three-dimensional ultrasound diagnostic system and the first engineered blood vessels.[100] In the mechanical engineering department, Adrian Bejan developed the constructal theory, which explains the shapes that arise in nature. Duke has pioneered studies involving nonlinear dynamics, chaos, and complex systems in physics. In May 2006 Duke researchers mapped the final human chromosome, which made world news as the Human Genome Project was finally complete.[101] Reports of Duke researchers' involvement in new AIDS vaccine research surfaced in June 2006.[102] The biology department combines two historically strong programs in botany and zoology, while one of the divinity school's leading theologians is Stanley Hauerwas, whom Time named "America's Best Theologian" in 2001.[103] The graduate program in literature boasts several internationally renowned figures, including Fredric Jameson,[104] and Michael Hardt,[105] while philosophers Robert Brandon and Lakatos Award-winner Alexander Rosenberg contribute to Duke's ranking as the nation's best program in philosophy of biology, according to the Philosophical Gourmet Report.[106]


University rankings (overall)
U.S. News & World Report[107] 10
QS[108] 19
Times[109] 22
A four-story Gothic building with three entrance archways and historic balconies with evergreen trees at base and stairwells leading to each entrance
Built in 1932, Old Chemistry has scientific symbols carved above the main doorway.

In the 2012 U.S. News & World Report ranking of undergraduate programs at doctoral granting institutions, Duke ranked 10th.[110] In the past twenty years, U.S. News & World Report has placed Duke as high as 3rd and as low as 10th.[111] In 2011 Duke was ranked 19th in the world in the QS World University Rankings and 22nd in the world in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings.[112][113] Duke was ranked the 14th-best university in the world by Newsweek[114] and 35th best globally by Shanghai Jiao Tong University in 2010, focusing on quality of scientific research and the number of Nobel Prizes.[115] The Wall Street Journal ranked Duke sixth (fifth among universities) in its "feeder" rankings in 2006, analyzing the percentage of undergraduates that enroll in what it considers the top five medical, law, and business schools.[116] The 2010 report by the Center for Measuring University Performance puts Duke at 6th in the nation.[25] In 2005 Duke enrolled 117 National Merit Scholars, the 6th university in rank by number.[117] Duke ranks 5th among national universities to have produced Rhodes, Marshall, Truman, Goldwater, and Udall Scholars.[118] According to the 2010–2011 PayScale's statistical study on "How Much a College Degree is Worth" through graduation rate, total cost to graduate, and university's return on investment (ROI), Duke is ranked 9th nationally.[119] According to the 2011 Princeton Review's survey on "Top Dream Colleges" among parents, Duke ranked as the 6th dream university.[120] Kiplinger's 50 Best Values in Private Universities 2010–11 ranks Duke at 5th best overall after taking financial aid into consideration.[121] According to a study by Forbes, Duke ranks 11th among universities that have produced billionaires and 1st among universities in the South.[122][123] A survey by the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education in 2002 ranked Duke as the #1 university in the country in regard to the integration of African American students and faculty.[124]

In U.S. News & World Report's "America's Best Graduate Schools 2012," Duke's medical school ranked 5th for research.[125] The hospital was ranked 10th in the nation by the 2010–2011 U.S. News & World Report Health Rankings of Best Hospitals in America.[126] The School of Law was ranked 11th in 2011 by the same publication, while law recruiters ranked the program 8th in the country.[125][127][128][129] Duke's nursing school ranked 7th in U.S. News & World Report's 2012 rankings,[125] while the Sanford School of Public Policy tied for 10th in 2010 for national public affairs programs,[130][131] Among business schools in the United States, the Fuqua School of Business was ranked 4th for its Executive M.B.A. program, 3rd for marketing, 9th for management, and 12th overall by U.S. News & World Report in 2011, while BusinessWeek ranked its full-time MBA program 6th in the nation in 2010.[132][133] The graduate program for the Pratt School of Engineering was ranked 31st while the biomedical engineering program was ranked 4th by U.S. News & World Report.[134] Taking the U.S. News & World Report Professional School Rankings in 2008 based on Mean Reputation Score, Duke ranks 7th among national universities.[135] Times Higher Education ranked the mathematics department tenth in the world in 2011.[136] Duke's graduate level specialties that are ranked among the top ten in the nation include areas in the following departments: biological sciences, medicine, nursing, engineering, law, business, English, history, physics, statistics, public affairs, physician assistant, clinical psychology, political science, and sociology.[137]

Student life

Residential life

A large Georgian-style building exterior with six Ionic Columns and red brick with large arched windows
East Campus' Union building, home to the freshman dining hall

Duke requires its students to live on campus for the first three years of undergraduate life, except for a small percentage of second semester juniors who are exempted by a lottery system.[48] This requirement is justified by the administration as an effort to help students connect more closely with one another and sustain a sense of belonging within the Duke community.[138] Thus, 85% of undergraduates live on campus.[139] All freshmen are housed in one of 14 residences on East Campus. These buildings range in occupancy size from 50 (Epworth—the oldest residence hall, built in 1892 as "the Inn") to 190 residents (Gilbert-Addoms).[140][141] Most of these are in the Georgian style typical of the East Campus architecture. Although the newer residence halls differ in style, they still relate to East’s Georgian heritage. Learning communities connect the residential component of East Campus with students of similar academic and social interests.[142] Similarly, students in FOCUS, a first-year program that features courses clustered around a specific theme, live together in the same residence hall as other students in their cluster.[143]

The majority of sophomores reside on West Campus, but they may also elect to live on Central Campus.[144] Juniors and seniors can choose to reside on either of the two campuses, although the majority of undergraduate seniors choose to live off campus.[144][145] West Campus contains six quadrangles—the four along "Main" West were built in 1930s, while two newer ones have since been added. Central Campus provides housing for over 1,000 students in several apartment buildings.[146] Various learning communities are allocated sections of the quadrangles, thereby living close to one another, but still within the context of a larger community.[147] Twenty-seven "selective living groups" are housed within sections on West, including 15 fraternities.[148] Most of the non-fraternity selective living groups are coeducational.[149]

Greek and social life

A large group of individuals gather in a parking lot alongside a tent campground with lightposts
Cameron Crazies gathering in K-ville

About 30% of undergraduate men and about 40% of undergraduate women at Duke are members of fraternities and sororities.[139] Most of the 15 Interfraternity Council recognized fraternity chapters live in sections within the residence halls, while the nine Panhellenic Association sorority chapters feature no such living arrangements, although students can elect to "block" in groups to live near one another.[148] Eight National Pan-Hellenic Council (historically African American) fraternities and sororities also hold chapters at Duke.[150] In addition, there are seven other fraternities and sororities that are a part of the Inter-Greek Council, the multicultural Greek umbrella organization.[151] Duke also has 11 Selective Living Groups, or SLGs, on campus for students wanting self-selected living arrangements. SLGs are residential groups similar to fraternities or sororities, except they are generally co-ed and unaffiliated with any national organizations.[152] Fraternity chapters frequently host social events in their residential sections, which are often open to non-members.[153]

In the late-1990s, a new keg policy was put into effect that requires all student groups to purchase kegs through Duke Dining Services. According to administrators, the rule change was intended as a way to ensure compliance with alcohol consumption laws as well as to increase on-campus safety.[154] Some students saw the administration's increasingly strict policies as an attempt to alter social life at Duke.[155] As a result, off-campus parties at rented houses became more frequent in subsequent years as a way to avoid Duke policies. Many of these houses were situated in the midst of family neighborhoods, prompting residents to complain about excessive noise and other violations. Police have responded by breaking up parties at several houses, handing out citations, and occasionally arresting party-goers.[156] In the mid to late 2000s, the administration made a concerted effort to help students re-establish a robust, on-campus social life and has worked with numerous student groups, especially the Duke University Union, to feature a wide array of events and activities. In March 2006, the university purchased 15 houses in the Trinity Park area that Duke students had typically rented and subsequently sold them to individual families in an effort to encourage renovations to the properties and to reduce off-campus partying in the midst of residential neighborhoods.[157][158]

Duke athletics, particularly men's basketball, traditionally serves as a significant component of student life. Duke's students have been recognized as some of the most creative and original fans in all of collegiate athletics.[159] Students, often referred to as Cameron Crazies, show their support of the men's basketball team by "tenting" for home games against key Atlantic Coast Conference rivals, especially University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC).[160] Because tickets to all varsity sports are free to students, they line up for hours before each game, often spending the night on the sidewalk. For a mid-February game against UNC, some of the most eager students might even begin tenting before spring classes begin.[161] The total number of participating tents is capped at 100 (each tent can have up to 12 occupants), though interest is such that it could exceed that number if space permitted.[162] Tenting involves setting up and inhabiting a tent on the grass near Cameron Indoor Stadium, an area known as Krzyzewskiville, or K-ville for short. There are different categories of tenting based on the length of time and number of people who must be in the tent.[162] At night, K-ville often turns into the scene of a party or occasional concert. The men's basketball coach, Mike Krzyzewski, occasionally buys pizza for the inhabitants of the tent village.[163]


Student organizations

A Gothic-style exterior showcases Cathedral-like windows with intricate framework and dark, colorful stone, with bushes and grass in the foreground
Duke's West Campus Union building has restaurants, offices, and some administrative departments. The Chronicle's administrative office, the Mary Lou Williams Center for Black Culture, and the Center for LGBT Life are all located in the Union.

More than 400 student clubs and organizations operate on Duke's campus.[164] These include numerous student government, special interest, and service organizations.[165] Duke Student Government (DSG) charters and provides most of the funding for other student groups and represents students' interests when dealing with the administration.[166] The Duke University Union (DUU) is the school's primary programming organization, serving a center of social, cultural, intellectual and recreational life.[167] Cultural groups are provided funding directly from the university via the Multicultural Center as well as other institutional funding sources. One of the most popular activities on campus is competing in sports. Duke has 38 sports clubs, and 8 intramural teams that are officially recognized.[168] Performance groups such as Hoof 'n' Horn, the country's second oldest student-run musical theater organization, a cappella groups, student bands, and theater organizations are also prominent on campus.[169] The Duke University Student Dining Advisory Committee provides guidance to the administration on issues regarding student dining, life, and restaurant choices.

Cultural groups on campus include the Asian Students Association, Blue Devils United (the student lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender group), Black Student Alliance, Diya (South Asian Association), Jewish Life at Duke, Mi Gente (Latino Student Association), International Association/International Council, Muslim Student Association, Native American Student Coalition, Newman Catholic Student Center, Languages Dorm, and Students of the Caribbean.[164][170]

Civic engagement

A glass building with a metal blue devil on top and arched details in the interior
The von der Heyden Pavilion is a popular place among students for gathering and studying.

According to The Princeton Review, Duke is one of 81 institutions in the country with outstanding community service programs.[171] In 2008 Duke received the Community Engagement Classification from Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.[172] In February 2007, Duke launched DukeEngage, a $30 million civic engagement program that allows undergraduates to participate in an in-depth service opportunity over the course of a summer or semester.[173] The program's scope has been called "unprecedented in U.S. higher education."[174] Duke students have created more than 30 service organizations in Durham and the surrounding area. Examples include a weeklong camp for children of cancer patients (Camp Kesem) and a group that promotes awareness about sexual health, rape prevention, alcohol and drug use, and eating disorders (Healthy Devils). The Duke-Durham Neighborhood Partnership, started by the Office of Community Affairs in 1996, attempts to address major concerns of local residents and schools by leveraging university resources.[175] Another community project, "Scholarship with a Civic Mission," is a joint program between the Hart Leadership Program and the Kenan Institute for Ethics.[176] Other programs include Project CHILD, a tutoring program involving 80 first-year volunteers; an after-school program for at-risk students in Durham that was started with $2.25 million grant from the Kellogg Foundation in 2002; and Project BUILD, a freshman volunteering group that dedicates 3,300 hours of service to a variety of projects such as schools, Habitat for Humanity, food banks, substance rehabilitation centers, and homeless shelters.[177] Some courses at Duke incorporate service as part of the curriculum to augment material learned in class such as in psychology or education courses (known as service learning courses).[178]

Student media

The Chronicle, Duke's independent undergraduate daily newspaper, has been continually published since 1905 and now, along with its website, has a readership of about 70,000.[179] Its editors are responsible for selecting the term "Blue Devil". The newspaper won Best in Show in the tabloid division at the 2005 Associated Collegiate Press National College Media Convention.[180] Cable 13, established in 1976, is Duke's student-run television station. It is a popular activity for students interested in film production and media.[181] WXDU-FM, licensed in 1983, is the University's nationally recognized, noncommercial FM radio station, operated by student and community volunteers.[182][183]


Duke Blue Devils mascot leans against sign with tents in background
Duke Blue Devils mascot. This is an older design; an updated mascot was introduced in 2008.

Duke's 26 varsity sports teams, known as the Blue Devils, are members of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)'s Division I Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC).[184] Duke's teams have won twelve NCAA team national championships—the women's golf team has won five (1999, 2002, 2005, 2006, and 2007), the men's basketball team has won four (1991, 1992, 2001, and 2010), and the men's soccer (1986), women's tennis (2009), and men's lacrosse (2010) teams have won one each.[185]

In the past ten years, Duke has finished in the top 30 in the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) Directors' Cup, an overall measure of an institution's athletic success. In 2011 Duke finished fifth in all of Division I and placed the best in the ACC,[186] while the athletic program finished tenth in 2010.[187] Duke has won 118 ACC Championships, 47 of which have come since 1999–2000 (through 2010–11), which is the second most in the ACC.[188] Duke teams that have been ranked in the top ten nationally in the first decade of the 21st century include men's and women's basketball, men's and women's tennis, men's and women's soccer, men's and women's fencing, men's and women's cross country running, men's and women's lacrosse, women's field hockey, and men's and women's golf. Ten of these teams were ranked in the top ten in the country during the 2010–11 school year, while 17 were in the top 25.[189] The men's lacrosse program has proven successful, reaching the NCAA tournament semifinals in six consecutive participating seasons from 2005 to 2011,[190][191][192][193][194] including winning the national championship in 2010.

The Blue Devil mascot's origins are rooted in an elite French alpine fighting unit that garnered accolades and much global attention during World War I and its aftermath for its flowing blue capes and blue berets.[195] Duke's mascot origin is considered to be military and patriotic rather than anti-religious.[195] Historically, Duke's major rival has been the Tar Heels of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, especially in basketball. The rivalry has led the fanbases to identify the two differing shades of blue in relation to their respective university—calling the lighter powder blue "Carolina blue" and the darker blue "Duke blue".[196]

On the academic front, according to a 2006 evaluation conducted by the NCAA, Duke's student-athletes have the highest graduation rate of any institution in the nation.[197] From 2005 to 2010, Duke has placed in the top three every year (and finished first in 2005 through 2007) among Division I schools in the National Collegiate Scouting Association Power Rankings—a combination of the institution's Director's Cup standing, its athletic graduation rate, and its academic rank in U.S. News & World Report.[198][199][200][201][202][203] Duke led the ACC in Honor Roll inductees 23 out of the last 24 years through the 2010–2011 academic year.[204]

Men's basketball

Interior of basketball stadium showcasing court, rafters, and empty stands
Duke's famous Cameron Indoor Stadium

Duke's men's basketball team is one of the nation's most successful basketball programs.[205][206] The team has captured four National Championships (fifth place all time), while attending 15 Final Fours (third place overall) and 10 Championship games (tied for second).[207] Duke has the most Atlantic Coast Conference championships, with 18, and has the most National Players of the Year in the nation, with 11.[208] Seventy-two players have been selected in the NBA Draft, while 32 players have been honored as All-Americans.[209] Duke's program is one of only two to have been to at least one Final Four and one National Championship game in each of the past five decades.[210] The program's home facility is historic Cameron Indoor Stadium, considered one of the top venues in the nation.[211]

The team's success has been particularly outstanding over the past 30 years under coach Mike Krzyzewski (often simply called "Coach K"), who also has coached the USA men's national basketball team since 2006 and led the team to Olympic gold in 2008 and to World Championship gold in 2010. Their successes include becoming the only team to win four national championships since the NCAA Tournament field was expanded to 64 teams in 1985, 11 Final Fours in the past 25 years, and eight of nine ACC tournament championships from 1999 to 2006.[212]

Football stadium with two teams on the field and stands full on sunny day
Wallace Wade Stadium


The Blue Devils have won seven ACC Football Championships, have had ten players honored as ACC Player of the Year (the most in the ACC),[184] and have had three Pro Football Hall of Famers come through the program (second in the ACC to only Miami's four). The Blue Devils have produced 11 College Football Hall of Famers, which is tied for the 2nd most in the ACC. Duke has also won 18 total conference championships (7 ACC, 9 Southern Conference, and 1 Big Five Conference). That total is the highest in the ACC.[213]

The most famous Duke football season came in 1938,[214] when Wallace Wade coached the "Iron Dukes" that shut out all regular season opponents; only three teams in history can claim such a feat.[215] That same year, Duke made their first Rose Bowl appearance, where they lost 7–3 when USC scored a touchdown in the final minute of the game.[214] Wade's Blue Devils lost another Rose Bowl to Oregon State in 1942, this one held at Duke's home stadium due to the attack on Pearl Harbor, which resulted in the fear that a large gathering on the West Coast might be in range of Japanese aircraft carriers.[216] The football program proved successful in the 1950s and 1960s, winning six of the first ten ACC football championships from 1953 to 1962 under coach Bill Murray; the Blue Devils would not win the ACC championship again until 1989 under coach Steve Spurrier.[217]

Duke has not had a winning football season since 1994.[218] David Cutcliffe was brought in prior to the 2008 season, and amassed more wins in his first season than the previous three years combined. The 2009 team won 5 of 12 games, and was eliminated from bowl contention in the next-to-last game of the season.[218] Mike MacIntyre, the defensive coordinator, was named 2009 Assistant Coach of the Year by the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA).[219]

While the football team has struggled at times on the field, the graduation rate of its players is consistently among the highest among Division I-A schools. Duke's high graduation rates have earned it more AFCA Academic Achievement Awards than any other institution.[220]


Duke's active alumni base of more than 130,000 devote themselves to the university through organizations and events such as the annual Reunion Weekend and Homecoming.[221] There are 75 Duke clubs in the U.S. and 38 such international clubs.[222] For the 2008–09 fiscal year, Duke tied for third in alumni giving rate among U.S. colleges and universities according to U.S. News & World Report.[223] Based on statistics compiled by PayScale in 2011, Duke alumni rank seventh in mid-career median salary among all U.S. colleges and universities.[224] A number of alumni have made significant contributions in the fields of government, law, science, academia, business, arts, journalism, and athletics, among others.

Richard Nixon, 37th President of the United States graduated with a law degree in 1937.[225] Former U.S. Senator and Secretary of Transportation Elizabeth Dole,[226] 33rd President of Chile Ricardo Lagos,[227] former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Juanita M. Kreps,[228] congressman and three-time presidential candidate Ron Paul,[229] U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs and former Chief of Staff of the United States Army Eric Shinseki,[230] and the first United States Chief Performance Officer Jeffrey Zients[231] are among the most notable alumni with involvement in politics.

In the research realm, Duke graduates who have won the Nobel Prize in Physics include Hans Dehmelt for his development of the ion trap technique,[232] Robert Richardson for his discovery of superfluidity in helium-3,[233] and Charles Townes for his work on quantum electronics.[234] Other alumni in research and academia include Turing Award winners Fred Brooks[235] and John Cocke,[236] Templeton Prize winning physicist and religion scholar Ian Barbour,[237] MacArthur Award recipient Paul Farmer,[238] and former Dean of the Graduate School at Princeton Theodore Ziolkowski.[239]

Prominent journalists include talk show host Charlie Rose,[240] The Washington Post sports writer John Feinstein,[241] Chief Washington Correspondent for CNBC and The Wall Street Journal writer John Harwood,[242] CBS News President Sean McManus,[243] chief legal correspondent for Good Morning America Dan Abrams,[244][245] and CNN anchor and senior correspondent for The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer Judy Woodruff.[246] Basketball analysts and commentators include Jay Bilas,[247][248] Mike Gminski,[249] Jim Spanarkel,[250] and Jay Williams.[251] Magazine editors include Rik Kirkland of Fortune[252] and Clay Felker of New York.[253]

In the area of literature, William C. Styron won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1968 for his novel The Confessions of Nat Turner and is well known for his 1979 novel Sophie's Choice.[254] Anne Tyler also received the Pulitzer Prize for her 1988 novel Breathing Lessons.[255] In the arts realm, Annabeth Gish[256] (actress in the X-Files and The West Wing), Ken Jeong[257] (actor in The Hangover and Community), Randall Wallace[258] (screenwriter, producer, and director, Braveheart, Pearl Harbor, We Were Soldiers), Mike Posner[259] (singer, songwriter, and producer, Cooler Than Me, Please Don't Go) and David Hudgins[260] (television writer and producer, Everwood, Friday Night Lights) headline the list.

On the business front, the current or recent President, CEO, or Chairman of each of the following Fortune 500 companies is a Duke alumnus: Apple (Tim Cook),[261] BB&T (John A. Allison IV),[262] Boston Scientific Corporation (Peter Nicholas),[263] Chesapeake Energy (Aubrey McClendon),[264] Cisco System (John Chambers),[265] General Motors (Rick Wagoner),[266] JPMorgan Chase (Steven Black),[267] Medtronic (William A. Hawkins),[268] Morgan Stanley (John J. Mack),[269] Norfolk Southern (David R. Goode),[270] Northwest Airlines (Gary L. Wilson),[271] PepsiCo (Karl von der Heyden),[272] Pfizer (Edmund T. Pratt, Jr.),[273] The Bank of New York Mellon (Gerald Hassell),[274] and Wachovia (Robert K. Steel).[275] Kevin Martin was Chairman of the FCC,[276] and Rex Adams serves as the Chairman of PBS.[277] Another alumna, Melinda Gates,[278] is the co-founder of the $31.9 billion Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the nation's wealthiest charitable foundation.[279][280]

Management and ownership of professional athletic franchises include John Angelos[281] (Executive Vice President of the Baltimore Orioles), Aubrey McClendon[282] (partial owner of the Oklahoma City Thunder), John Canning, Jr.[283] (co-owner of Milwaukee Brewers), Danny Ferry[284] (former general manager of the Cleveland Cavaliers), Stephen Pagliuca[285] (co-owner of Boston Celtics), and Jeffrey Vinik[286] (owner of the Tampa Bay Lightning). Finally, several athletes have become stars at the professional level, especially in basketball's NBA. Shane Battier, Corey Maggette, Elton Brand, Carlos Boozer, Christian Laettner, Bobby Hurley, Grant Hill, and J.J. Redick are among the most famous.[287]


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