Lange to Conclude Service as Provost

Political scientist is longest-serving chief academic officer in university history

Peter Lange has served as provost since 1999. Photo by Jim Wallace

Peter Lange, the longest-serving provost in Duke history and the architect of many of the university's signature academic initiatives, will step down next June at the conclusion of his third term.

"Peter Lange has made his mark on Duke University as have few others," said President Richard H. Brodhead. "He has helped launch some of Duke's most distinctive academic programs and has led the transformation of the student experience at Duke as well, with a strong commitment to access, diversity and excellence. Through it all, Peter has brought wisdom, integrity and innovation to the counsels of this university."

Lange has served as provost, the university's chief academic officer, since 1999. A political scientist, Lange will return to the faculty as the Thomas A. Langford University Professor.

"I love my job, working with my administrative and faculty colleagues, playing a leadership role in the exciting, vibrant, innovative community that is Duke. These nearly 15 years have been remarkably interesting and productive, and almost always fun," Lange said. "But it is time for me to step out and for another to step into the role. I am so thankful to Presidents Keohane and Brodhead for the opportunities they have given me and to all my Duke friends and colleagues for their support and, sometimes, critiques, which have been so enabling for what we have accomplished together." 

As provost, Lange has guided the university through two five-year strategic plans, "Making a Difference" (2006) and "Building on Excellence" (2001), which led to the creation of Duke's signature interdisciplinary institutes. He also oversaw program planning for the campus expansion that added new academic, student life, library and arts facilities. Nearly two-thirds of current faculty members were appointed during his tenure, as were all current deans.

Lange also played a key role in the Campaign for Duke, the Financial Aid Initiative and the current Duke Forward fundraising drive, which made possible significant advances in faculty recruitment and student support. More recently, he led Duke's global efforts, including the creation of DukeEngage and the launch of Duke Kunshan University, as well as a dramatic increase in faculty and student engagement in international activities and Duke's pioneering efforts in online education.

Brodhead has named a committee to search for Lange's successor.  The committee will be chaired by George Truskey, the R. Eugene and Susie E. Goodson Professor of Biomedical Engineering and senior associate dean for research in the Pratt School.

Other committee members include faculty members Ellen Davis, the Amos Ragan Kearns Professor of Bible and Practical Theology at the Divinity School; Katherine Franz, associate professor of chemistry; professor Michael Platt, director of both the Duke Institute for Brain Science and the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience; Richard Schmalbeck, the Simpson Thacher & Bartlett Professor of Law; sociology professor Lynn Smith-Lovin; and Maurice Wallace, associate professor of English and African and African American Studies.

Also on the committee are Duke senior Stefani Jones, president of the Duke Student Government, and Amol Yadav, president of the Graduate and Professional Student Council; trustees Frank Emory and Betsy Holden; and Benjamin Reese, vice president of the Office for Institutional Equity.

More information about the search will be available at