To the Duke Community:
I am very pleased to announce the formation of the Commission on Memory and History at Duke University.
The members of the commission are students, faculty, trustees, alumni, administrators and local residents who reflect a range of perspectives and the rich diversity of our university. I am deeply grateful to the 16 distinguished and thoughtful members of our community who have agreed to serve.
The commission will be charged with developing principles to apply when issues arise related to the names of university facilities and monuments on campus, recommending next steps for the entrance of Duke Chapel, and providing guidance to me, and to the Board of Trustees, as we engage in a broader campus conversation about history and inclusion. I have asked that the commission complete its work this fall.
Every member of the Duke community deserves a voice in this vitally important conversation, and the students, alumni, faculty and staff with whom I have spoken in the past few days hold a diversity of views about the best way forward for the university. At Duke, we have the courage and integrity to engage productively around our disagreements without resorting to incivility or vandalism, instead finding collective strength in open-minded participation and mutual respect.
I hope you will offer your input to the commission, which among other means can be done directly through its website https://memoryhistory.duke.edu. I am confident that the Duke community will emerge from this important deliberative work with our shared values affirmed and our commitment to the university’s bright future renewed.
Commission on Memory and History at Duke University:
- Frank E. Emory, Jr. ’82, chair, partner, Hunton and Williams, and Duke University trustee emeritus
- Gráinne Fitzsimons, vice chair, professor, Fuqua School of Business, and Psychology and Neuroscience
- William R. Ferris, Joel R. Williamson Eminent Professor of History and senior associate director, Center for the Study of the American South, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (also former chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities)
- W. Barker French ’63, Durham civic leader and former president of the Duke Alumni Association
- Michael Ivory, Jr. ’18, Duke University undergraduate student
- Elizabeth Kiss, president of Agnes Scott College and Duke University trustee
- Adriane D. Lentz-Smith, professor of history, Duke University
- David F. Levi, Dean, Duke University School of Law
- Robert R. Penn ’74, president, Penn Resources, Inc., and Duke University trustee
- Thomas Pfau, Alice Mary Baldwin Professor of English at Duke University, with secondary appointments in Germanic Languages & Literature and in the Duke Divinity School
- The Rev. Dr. Luke A. Powery, dean of Duke Chapel
- Wilhelmina M. Reuben-Cooke ’67, professor, David A. Clarke School of Law, University of the District of Columbia, and Duke University trustee emerita
- Sally D. Robinson ’55, Duke University trustee emerita
- Jacqueline Robinson-Hamm, Ph.D. candidate in biomedical engineering at Duke University
- Michael J. Schoenfeld ’84, Duke vice president for public affairs and government relations
- The Rev. Dr. Charles M. Smith ’62, Duke University trustee emeritus