Duke to Award More Than 5,500 Degrees at Sunday's Commencement

Former WNBA President Lisa Borders to give commencement address

Students celebrate during commencement 2018 in Wallace Wade Stadium.
Students celebrate during commencement 2018 in Wallace Wade Stadium.

DURHAM, N.C. -- Duke University will award more than 5,500 undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees during its annual commencement ceremony Sunday, May 12.

Duke President Vincent E. Price will preside over the 9 a.m. ceremony at Wallace Wade Stadium, and former WNBA President Lisa Borders will deliver the commencement address.

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 #Duke2019.

Borders earned a bachelor’s degree from Duke in 1979 and serves on the university’s Board of Trustees. She has roughly 30 years of experience in public, private and nonprofit sectors. As president of the WNBA from 2016-18, she is credited with accelerating the league’s growth, including its highest regular-season attendance in six years in 2017, and creating new ways for fans to engage with the league. 

Most recently, Borders served as the first president and CEO of the women’s advocacy group TIME’S UP, where she led the organization’s work to create safe, fair and dignified workplaces for women.

Leah Rosen of Aurora, Colorado, will deliver the student commencement address. Rosen is a pre-med student who designed her own major in illness and identity. During her time at Duke, she volunteered at the Duke Cancer Center, served as president of Duke Global Medical Brigades and Duke HAND (Helping those with Alzheimer’s and Other Neurological Diseases) and was in the inaugural class of the Reimagining Medicine program.

Duke will also award four honorary degrees at commencement. This year’s recipients are Elizabeth Alexander, president of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; Kwame Anthony Appiah, a professor of philosophy and law at New York University; Stanford University professor Brian Kobilka, a former Duke medical fellow who shared the 2012 Nobel Prize in chemistry with Duke professor Robert Lefkowitz; and Caroline Series, professor emerita of mathematics at the University of Warwick and president of the London Mathematical Society.

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 Parking Garage IV. 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.

For the main ceremony Sunday, May 12, park-and-ride shuttles will be available from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. More information is available here.

Other ceremonies include:

-- At 5 p.m. Friday, Katie Bayne, president of Bayne Advisors, will address graduates of The Fuqua School of Business’ Master of Management Studies: Foundations of Business class of 2019, and Master of Quantitative Management: Business Analytics class of 2019, 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, the School of Medicine’s Hippocratic Oath Ceremony will be held in Duke Chapel. Dr. Robert M. Califf, vice chancellor for health data science, director of Duke Forge, and Dr. Donald F. Fortin, professor of cardiology in the Duke University School of Medicine, will speak. The event is not open to the public, but will be livestreamed on the Duke Chapel website.

-- At 9 a.m. Saturday, Tim Ryan, U.S. chairman and senior partner of PwC, will address graduates of The Fuqua School of Business’ Cross Continent MBA Class of 2018, Global Executive MBA Class of 2018 and Weekend Executive MBA Class of 2018, 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, Alexis Kingham Fuge, sustainability business development manager at Amazon Web Services, will address graduates of the Nicholas School of Environment’s Master of Environmental Management, Master of Forestry and doctoral programs in a private ceremony at the Chemistry Lot on Duke’s West Campus. The event is not open to the public.

-- At 1 p.m. Saturday, Tim Ryan, U.S. chairman and senior partner of PwC, will address graduates of The Fuqua School of Business’ Daytime MBA class of 2019 and Ph.D. class of 2019, in Cameron Indoor Stadium. The event is not open to the public, but will be livestreamed on Fuqua’s YouTube channel.

-- At 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Jane De Hart, professor emerita at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and author of a 2018 biography of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, will address Ph.D. graduates at the Ph.D. Hooding Ceremony at the Durham Convention Center. The event is not open to the public, but will be livestreamed on The Graduate School’s YouTube channel.

-- At 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Judge Allyson K. Duncan L’75 of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit will address graduates of Duke Law School’s Juris Doctor and Master of Laws programs in Cameron Indoor Stadium.  Duncan is a trustee of Duke University and a member of the Law School’s Board of Visitors. The event is not open to the public, but video will be available on Duke Law’s YouTube channel.   

-- At 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Charles Campbell, Ph.D., D.Min., professor of homiletics at Duke Divinity School, will preach at the school’s baccalaureate service in Duke Chapel. The event, which includes a service of investiture in which graduating students receive their academic hoods, is open to the public. It will be livestreamed on the Duke Chapel YouTube page.

-- At 5 p.m. Sunday, Brittany Keene, a doctor of nursing practice student, will address graduates of Duke University School of Nursing and their friends and families at Duke Chapel. Seating for graduation is limited to graduates and their guests. The ceremony will be livestreamed online.

-- At 5 p.m. Friday, May 17, Jeffrey Li, managing partner of Tencent Investment, will address graduates of The Fuqua School of Business’ Master of Management Studies: Duke Kunshan University class of 2019 on campus in Kunshan. The event is not open to the public.

Degrees to be conferred:

Duke will award degrees to about 1,869 undergraduates and 3,655 graduate and professional students who finished their course work in September or December 2018 or this spring.

Among undergraduates receiving their degrees Sunday, 350 are from North Carolina.

The estimated degree breakdowns for the graduates are as follows:

Undergraduate degrees:

  • Trinity College of Arts & Sciences -- B.A. 721; B.S. 701.
  • Pratt School of Engineering -- B.S.E. 301.
  • Nursing -- B.S.N. 146.

Graduate and professional degrees:

  • Duke Divinity School -- M.Div. 105; Th.M. 11; M.T.S. 41; M.A.C.S. 1; M.A.C.P. 4; Th.D. 5; D.Min. 27.
  • Fuqua School of Business -- MBA 712; MSQM 137; M.M.S. -- 185; (Includes Duke Kunshan campus)
  • Graduate School -- M.A. 226; M.S. 347; M.F.A. 9; M.A.T. 18; Ph.D. 375.
  • School of Law -- J.D. 221; LL.M. 90; S.J.D. 2; MLIC 1; MLLE 2.
  • Nicholas School of the Environment -- M.E.M. 170; M.F. 5.
  • Pratt School of Engineering -- M.Eng.M. 161; M.Eng. 53.
  • Sanford School of Public Policy -- M.I.D.P. 49; M.P.P. 77; DKU-MEP 9.
  • School of Medicine -- M.D. 119; M.H.S. 1; M.H.S.-CR 26; D.P.T. 76; MBS 29; MMCI 27; MSBS 42.
  • School of Nursing -- M.S.N. 231; D.N.P. 61.

For more information on Duke's commencement weekend, go to https://commencement.duke.edu/.