Duke began life as Brown’s Schoolhouse, on a site in what is now the town of Trinity in Randolph County, North Carolina, a little over 70 miles west of its current location in the city of Durham.
The small school experienced rapid growth in the years leading up to the Civil War, and underwent a succession of name changes: to Union Institute Academy (1841), Normal College (1851), and Trinity College (1859). In its cultural roots, the Methodist and Quaker faiths both loom large.
Finally, in 1892 the still-growing college was gifted with a major endowment from the wealthy tobacco entrepreneur, philanthropist, and devout Methodist, Washington Duke. It was at this time that its location was transferred to Durham.
A little later, Washington Duke’s son, James B. Duke, substantially increased the university’s endowment, to a total sum of about $40 million (around $580 million in today’s dollars). In honor of the contributions of the Duke family, in 1924the school changed its name one last time.
Washington Duke’s educational vision was to transform the modest teacher and minister training college into a major research university on the German model that would be capable of intellectually rivalling its Northern peers. In this, he succeeded beyond all expectation. Today, Duke is one of the premier private research universities in the South, and among the top tier of private schools in the country—effectively, the equivalent of an Ivy League school.
In addition to the influence flowing from the German research university model, Duke’s direction was also strongly shaped by its Methodist and Quaker roots, which toward the turn of the new century gave the school a decidedly progressive social impetus.
For example, Trinity College’s 1892 charter stipulated that the university’s doors be open to women on an equal basis with men. Also, in 1900, Duke became the first university in the country to host the renowned African American educator Booker T. Washington as an invited speaker. Native Americans also began to be included among its graduates around this same time.
There are some 15 Nobel laureates with Duke connections, including the:
Among other notable, Duke-associated scientists, we may mention the physicist and evolutionary theorist, Adrian Bejan. Duke can also boast of three Turing Award–winners:
Among the many other famous people who have been connected to Duke, the following are very notable:
Duke also administers two international sister colleges: a medical school in Singapore and Kunshan University in China.
What does this school look for?
Median SAT Score
Median ACT Score
How much does it cost to attend?
|Income||Average Net Cost|
Averages for 10 years after enrolling
What's it like to attend this school?
Full time on-campus stats
Where will you be attending?
103 Allen Bldg,
On Campus Crime Rates
29 per 100k
1 per 100k
Our answer to this is to show you the disciplines in which a school's faculty and alumni have had the highest historical influence. A school may be influential in a discipline even if they do not offer degrees in that area. We've organized two lists to show where they are influential and offer corresponding degrees, and where they are influential through scholarship although they don't offer degrees in the disciplines.
Who are Duke University's Most influential alumni?
Duke University's most influential alumni faculty include professors and professionals in the fields of Nursing, Political Science, and Religious Studies. Duke University’s most academically influential people include David G. Bromley, Charlie Rose, and John W. Campbell.
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