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Finding Hidden Treasures

Finding Hidden Treasures

Chris Roby is a thrift store and auction house aficionado

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Editor's Note: The Blue Devil of the Week highlights a different Duke employee each week. Email us to nominate a coworker.

Chris Roby poses with an illustration of an eyeball by world-renowned artist Alex Grey. Roby found the art at a thrift store. Photo courtesy of Chris Roby.

Name: Chris Roby
Position: Executive director, University Center Activities and Events
Years at Duke: 6

What I do at Duke: My office oversees a variety of departments and groups within Student Affairs like Leadership Development and Social Action, event management, student activities and student organizations, theater operations, facility operations for the Bryan Center, West Union and more.

If I had $5 million, I would: I'd give a portion to my church and make sure my family was set financially. I'd probably take all of my close relatives and friends on a vacation somewhere to have some fun. Maybe somewhere warm, like an all-inclusive resort in the Caribbean.

My first ever job: I worked in a C & C Manufacturing shop running an automated lathe to create parts for various equipment and appliances. My dad owned the shop in Merrimac, Mass., so I started when I was 14. You can imagine being the "bosses kid" on the shop floor - never a dull moment.

My dream job: I'd want to be one of the people on American Pickers, the TV show on the History Channel. It'd be a lot of fun to go around looking for treasures and antiques in people's homes. I love treasure hunting for art and vintage furniture.

If someone wanted to start a conversation with me they should ask me about: Boston sports. I lived in Massachusetts until I left for college. My dad had season tickets to the Bruins when I was young. I got to see Phil Esposito and Bobby Orr play, then Ray Bourque and Terry O'Reilly. I loved the action of the games.

The best advice I ever received: Don't fall in love with something that doesn't love you back. The dean of students at Eckerd College told me that. Sometimes you can get so enamored with one possibility, you lose the ability to see other opportunities.

What I love about Duke: The students. I love having conversations with them about everything from sports to politics to weekend activities to what they want to be when they grow up.

When I'm not at work, I like to: Go to auctions. I love going to Leland Little Auction in Hillsborough because they have really high-quality merchandise and opportunities to pick up some beautiful items. I also like Village Square Auctions because it's more of a country auction where it's a lot of fun. I also like thrift stores - I found a medical illustration of an eyeball by the world-renowned artist Alex Grey once.

Something most people don't know about me: I have always had to manage a lot of learning disabilities like dyslexia, but I've found ways to work around it.

An interesting/memorable day at work for me: When I first started working at Duke, we had a big grand opening for the Plaza by the Bryan Center. I remember we didn't know if it would be a cool hangout spot, but it's great to see how it's used by people all the time now.

A movie I like is: Braveheart. I like the leadership qualities William Wallace had and how he was able to take a group of individuals and bring them together. He showed that you can motivate people to believe they can accomplish anything. Also, the great action scenes and it is funny as heck.

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