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Richard H. Brodhead Named Ninth President of Duke
Note to editors: Several related stories, including reaction to the announcement, as well as video from the news conference can be found at a special Web site, http://www.duke.edu/newpresident.
DURHAM, N.C. -- Richard H. Brodhead, dean of Yale College and the A. Bartlett Giamatti Professor of English at Yale University, has been elected Duke University's ninth president, Peter M. Nicholas, chair of the University's trustees, announced Friday.
The 56-year-old Brodhead was selected by Duke's Board of Trustees Thursday evening. He will succeed Nannerl O. Keohane on July 1, 2004. Keohane announced last February that she planned to step down after 11 years in the presidency to return to teaching and research.
Nicholas called Brodhead "the ideal person" to lead Duke into the next stage of its history.
"Dick is a scholar with a deep commitment to undergraduate and graduate education, a proven and effective administrator and fundraiser who understands how research universities work and an eloquent spokesman about the central role of higher education in American life," Nicholas said. "As one of his faculty colleagues at Yale put it, 'His performance is brilliant. Students love him, the faculty trust him, the alumni are in awe of him.' Duke's trustees are confident that the qualities that have led Dick Brodhead to be so revered in New Haven will also serve him well as our next president."
Brodhead noted that Duke was a "special place" whose brightest days lie ahead.
"I am tremendously excited to join a university that has already established itself in the top rank of institutions, yet is still so up-and-coming," Brodhead said. "Duke is a school with a taste for excellence, the energy and optimism to aspire to it, the dynamism and lightness of foot to actually make required changes, and the ability to avoid complacency in the face of accomplishment.
"Duke's core values are quite close to my own and I will represent them with real dedication. I also feel the institution would welcome change in the places where I see room for growth. If I can be a part of making a very good university even better, it will be a great satisfaction," Brodhead said.
"I have had other tempting invitations in the past to consider leaving Yale but I have always declined. Duke is a special place, however, and its allure in the end was overwhelming. I know I'm facing an immense amount of new learning and challenge, but I expect that to be a pleasure as well. I am looking forward to becoming both a Blue Devil and a part of the vibrant Durham community."
Robert K. Steel, vice chairman of the board of trustees who led the 19-member search committee of trustees, faculty, students, staff and alumni, said Brodhead was the committee's unanimous choice after an intensive review of some 200 candidates.
"It was striking to us how closely Dick's background and interests match the values and aspirations of Duke University," Steel said. "The responsibilities of his deanship at Yale are unusually broad. He is a first-rate scholar whose studies range from the classics of nineteenth century American literature to the works of African American and Southern writers. At Yale he has helped lead important advances in the sciences and engineering and environmental studies, and he recently chaired Yale's first undergraduate curriculum review in three decades.
"He also sees exciting opportunities for synergy between our world-class medical center and other programs across Duke. We heard from many people who know Dick and saw first-hand during our conversations with him that he is remarkably eloquent and well versed in the key issues affecting higher education, a careful listener, a thoughtful strategist, an intellectual of great breadth, a leader and a consensus builder of the first rank. And he has a wonderful sense of humor, which is a prerequisite for a university president."
Brodhead was introduced to the Duke community Friday morning at a press conference in the Rare Book Room of the Perkins Library, on Duke's West Campus. He was accompanied by his wife, Cynthia, and their son Daniel.
Brodhead has been dean of Yale College since 1993, serving as the college's faculty chair and chief administrator. He shares oversight of the faculty appointments process with the dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and plays a central role in all tenure appointments and decisions in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. As dean, he also has leadership responsibility for undergraduate education, housing and social life, student services, undergraduate admissions and financial aid.
"We expect Dick to be an eloquent spokesman for research, scholarship and teaching not only at Duke, but on the national stage," said Sara Sun Beale, Charles L. B. Lowndes Professor of Law, who served as the search committee's vice chair. "He has won the respect of the faculty, students and staff at Yale, leading efforts to revitalize the curriculum, reach out to international students, enhance financial aid, strengthen the arts and much more. He is a truly gifted academic leader who is known for developing and nurturing a vibrant intellectual and social community, and supporting true excellence in every endeavor. He is also known for taking a keen interest in students, and being energized by them. These qualities combine to make him a superb leader for Duke."
Brodhead was the first Yale graduate in more than two decades to be named to the deanship, which he has held longer than all but two others in Yale's 302-year history. Brodhead earned three degrees from the university. He received his bachelor's degree summa cum laude with exceptional distinction in English in 1968, followed two years later by a master's degree and then, in 1972, by a Ph.D. in English.
Brodhead joined Yale's faculty as an assistant professor of English the same year. In 1979 he received Yale's prestigious William Clyde DeVane Medal for Outstanding Scholarship and Teaching from the Yale Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa. He was appointed Professor of English in 1985 and in 1990 was named the Bird White Housum Professor of English. He has been the A. Bartlett Giamatti Professor of English since 1995. Giamatti, a colleague and close friend of Brodhead, was a former Yale president who went on to become the commissioner of Major League Baseball. Brodhead served as chair of the English department for five years immediately before his selection as dean of Yale College.
Brodhead was a visiting professor at the â°Â£ole Normale Supeeure in Paris in 1989 and 1991. He has served on the faculty of the Yale-New Haven Teachers' Institute, and taught high school teachers from around the country for eight summers at the Bread Loaf School of English at Middlebury College. In 1998, Middlebury awarded Brodhead its Bicentennial Medal.
Brodhead has some familiarity with Duke, having chaired the external review committee of the university's English Department in 1991.
He is the author or editor of more than a dozen books on Hawthorne, Melville, Faulkner and other American authors. In 1993, Duke University Press published two books Brodhead edited on Charles W. Chesnutt, a leading African-American author of the post-Civil War generation. Brodhead's pioneering edition of Chestnutt's diaries led him to do substantial work on the history of North Carolina in the post-emancipation period. His many essays and lectures examine subjects ranging from multiculturalism to the role of education in a democratic society to the globalization of comparative literature. In addition, Brodhead has served on the editorial boards of several publications in the humanities, among them "American Literary History" and "Proceedings of the Modern Language Association."
Brodhead has taught or lectured widely in both the United States and throughout the world. At Yale, he played a major role in extending undergraduate admissions and need-based financial aid to students from other countries.
Brodhead has won several scholarly honors and fellowships, including Guggenheim, Woodrow Wilson, Danforth and Morse fellowships. His most recent honor is a presidential appointment in 2002 to the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board.
When he is not working, reading, spending time with family or friends, or watching intercollegiate athletics, Brodhead enjoys traveling and the outdoors. He characterizes himself as an "avid college sports fan, which I clearly will have an opportunity to experience at Duke."
Brodhead and his wife, Cynthia, an attorney, have been married for 33 years. Daniel Brodhead, a 2001 graduate of Yale, lives and works in New York City.
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