Duke To Award More Than 5,300 Degrees Sunday

Part of the Commencement Stories, 2017 Series
Commencement 2017
The 2017 Commencement ceremony will be the 13th and last for departing President Richard H. Brodhead.

Duke University will award more than 5,300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees during its annual commencement ceremony Sunday, May 14.

Duke President Richard H. Brodhead will preside over the 9 a.m. ceremony at Wallace Wade Stadium, and philanthropist and Duke trustee David Rubenstein will deliver the commencement address.

The ceremony will be Brodhead’s 13th -- and final -- as president, as he’s stepping down from the post at the end of June.

Commencement is open to the public and Duke will stream the event live on the university’s YouTube channel.

Twitter users can follow commencement and contribute to the conversation using the hashtag #Duke2017.

Rubenstein, the current chair of Duke’s Board of Trustees, is a 1970 magna cum laude graduate of Duke. He is co-founder and co-CEO of The Carlyle Group, one of the world’s largest private equity firms.

Rubenstein has become one of the nation’s leading and most innovative philanthropists. His gifts in his home city of Washington, D.C., have helped to restore Mount Vernon, the Kennedy Center and the Lincoln Memorial, and repair the Washington Monument after a 2011 earthquake.

He has also been a generous donor to Duke as well as co-chair of the $3.25 billion Duke Forward campaign. His recent $20 million gift endowed a scholarship program for first-generation, low-income college students. 

The student speaker at commencement is Elena Elliott, a senior from Dallas, Texas, majoring in public policy with a minor in economics. (A series of other stories about graduating seniors is available here)

Duke will award seven honorary degrees during the commencement ceremony. The recipients are: Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen; scientist George Church; Deborah Lee James, former secretary of the Air Force; former U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch; documentarian Stanley Nelson; novelist and essayist Marilynne Robinson; and Luis von Ahn, a computer scientist and entrepreneur.

In addition to Sunday’s ceremony, Duke’s graduation weekend is filled with special events held by individual schools, departments and programs. About 13,000 guests are expected to attend the main commencement exercise, according to Duke’s Office of Special Events and University Ceremonies, which oversees graduation weekend planning.

There is ample general parking close to Wallace Wade Stadium. The Blue Zone lots are best for those traveling to campus via Duke University Road. Attendees coming from Highway 751 will find easiest parking in the Science Drive Garage, and those coming to campus via Towerview Road will want to park in PGIV. A parking map is available here.

Shuttle buses will run from the Marriott Residence Inn, Hilton Garden Inn, Washington Duke Inn and the Millennium Hotel. More information is available here.

Other ceremonies include:



-- At 6 p.m. Friday, Rick Leaman, vice chairman of Moelis & Company, will address graduates of The Fuqua School of Business’ Master’s of Management Studies: Foundations of Business Class of 2017 in Cameron Indoor Stadium. The event is not open to the public, but will be livestreamed on Fuqua’s YouTube channel.

-- At 7 p.m. Friday, School of Medicine Dean Nancy Andrews will speak and graduates will repeat the Hippocratic Oath, be hooded as MDs and receive their diplomas at Duke Chapel. It is not open to the public, but will be livestreamed on the Duke Chapel website.

-- At 9 a.m. Saturday, Deloitte CEO Cathy Engelbert will address graduates of the Cross Continent and Weekend Executive MBA classes of 2017 in Cameron Indoor Stadium. The event is not open to the public, but will be livestreamed on Fuqua’s YouTube channel.

 -- At 9 a.m. Saturday, Pablo Arenas, director general of the Mexican National Fisheries Institute, will give the address at the Nicholas School of the Environment’s recognition ceremony, at the Chemistry Lot at the corner of Circuit Drive and Towerview Road. The ceremony is not open to the public, but a video of Arenas’ talk will be posted at http://nicholas.duke.edu/graduation.  

 -- At 5:30 p.m. Saturday, social psychologist Kenneth Gergen, best known for his contributions to social constructionist theory, technology and cultural change, will address doctoral graduates at the Graduate School’s Ph.D. hooding ceremony at the Durham Convention Center. The ceremony is not open to the public.

-- At 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Loretta Lynch, 83rd attorney general of the United States, will speak at the Duke University School of Law hooding ceremony in Cameron Indoor Stadium. The ceremony is not open to the public. A video of the speech will be available on the Duke Law YouTube channel.

-- At 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, J. Kameron Carter, M.Th., Ph.D., associate professor of Theology, English, and African American Studies at Duke Divinity School, will preach at the school’s 91st Baccalaureate Service in Duke Chapel.  The 90-minute worship service, which includes a service of investiture in which graduating students receive their academic hoods, is open to the public. It will be webcast live on the Duke Chapel website and also on Duke Chapel’s YouTube channel.

-- At 4 p.m. Sunday, School of Nursing DNP graduate Cmdr. Nichole D. Benson will address graduates of the accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Master of Science in Nursing, Post-Master’s Certificate, Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing and Doctor of Nursing Practice programs, at Duke Chapel. The ceremony is not open to the public.

-- At 5 p.m. Friday, May 19, Yi Shi, managing partner of Lilly Asia Ventures, will address 2017 graduates of Duke Kunshan University’s Master’s in Management Studies program.

Degrees to be conferred:

Duke will award degrees to about 1,550 undergraduates and 2,546 graduate and professional students who are graduating this spring. An additional 1,249 students who graduated in September or December 2016 have been invited to participate in Sunday's commencement exercises.

The estimated degree breakdowns for the May graduates are as follows:

Undergraduate degrees:

Trinity College of Arts & Sciences -- B.A. 614; B.S. 633.

Pratt School of Engineering -- B.S.E. 303.

Nursing -- B.S.N. 70.

Graduate and professional degrees:

Duke Divinity School -- M.Div. 128; Th.M. 3; M.T.S. 29; M.A.C.S. 16; Th.D. 3; D.Min. 4.

Fuqua School of Business -- MBA 447; M.M.S. – Durham campus 116; M.M.S. – Duke Kunshan campus 49.


Graduate School -- M.A. 177; M.S. 157; M.A.T. 3; M.F.A. 12; Ph.D. 218.

School of Law -- J.D. 223; LL.M. 101; S.J.D. 2.

Nicholas School of the Environment -- M.E.M. 160; M.F. 3.

Pratt School of Engineering -- M.Eng.M. 67; M.Eng. 13.

Sanford School of Public Policy -- M.I.D.P. 27; M.P.P. 67.

School of Medicine -- M.D. 108; M.H.S. 95; M.H.S.-CR 17; D.P.T. 74; M.B.S.T. 31.

School of Nursing -- M.S.N. 37; D.N.P. 33.

For more information on Duke's commencement weekend, visit http://commencement.duke.edu/