A Decade of Achievements

From award-winning research to national championships, the past 10 years saw numerous Blue Devil accomplishments

Part of the A Decade at Duke Series
Countdown to Craziness and Blue vs White scrimmage.  2015 Nobel Prize in chemistry recipient, Paul Modrich, honored. 2012 Nobel laureate Robert Lefkowitz also present.

Three Blue Devils Win Nobel Prizes

Countdown to Craziness and Blue vs White scrimmage.  2015 Nobel Prize in chemistry recipient, Paul Modrich, honored. 2012 Nobel laureate Robert Lefkowitz also present.

The past decade saw three Blue Devils awarded Nobel Prizes. Robert J. Lefkowitz shared the 2012 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with his former post-doctoral fellow Brian K. Kobilka for their trailblazing studies on cell receptors. Three years later, Duke Medical School biochemistry professor Paul Modrich shared the 2015 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his four decades of work on how mistakes in the DNA code are repaired. And most recently, Duke trustee and alumnus William G. Kaelin Jr., was awarded the 2019 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for his joint research on how cells sense and adapt to oxygen availability.

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Jenny Tung

Jenny Tung — associate professor of evolutionary anthropology and biology — was awarded a 2019 MacArthur Foundation fellowship for her work on the social determinants of health. The five-year, $625,000  fellowship is awarded to 20 to 30 individuals each year “to encourage people of outstanding talent to pursue their own creative, intellectual, and professional inclinations.” Tung is the third acting Duke professor — all women scientists — to win the MacArthur prize while at Duke, and the first in 30 years. She follows in the footsteps of biochemist Jane Richardson (awarded in 1985) and primatologist Patricia Wright (1989). 

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Blue Devils Win Seven NCAA Championships

2019 Duke women's golf team

Three different Blue Devil varsity teams combined to win seven NCAA Championships, starting with men's basketball and men's lacrosse both claiming 2010 crowns. Men's lacrosse would go on to add back-to-back national titles in 2013 and 2014, while men's basketball claimed the 2015 championship. in addition, women's golf added two titles of its own, securing NCAA Championship trophies in both 2014 and 2019

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Duke Student Team Wins Second Guinness World Record for Vehicle Efficiency

2019 Duke Electric Vehicles team

On July 10, 2019, Guiness confirmed a vehicle built at Duke had broken the world record for electric vehicle efficiency, traveling 797 miles per kilowatt-hour, or 27,482 MPGe. The student-run Duke Electric Vehicles (DEV) club set the record with a run at Galot Motorsports in Benson, NC. This was the second Guinness World Record for vehicle efficiency the team broke in the past year after achieving a new record for fuel efficiency with a hydrogen fuel cell car named Maxwell in July 2018.

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Coack K Reaches 1,000 Career Wins

Coach K and the men's basketball team celebrate his 1,000th career win

On January 25, 2015, Duke defeated St. John's in Madison Square Garden to give head coach Mike Krzyzewski his 1,000th career victory. Krzyzewski was the first men's coach to win 1,000 NCAA Division I basketball games and later became the first head coach to win 1,000 games with one NCAA Division I men's basketball program after the Blue Devils defeated Utah Valley on November 11, 2017.

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Cochlear Implant Pioneer Blake Wilson Receives Lasker Award

Blake Wilson

Duke Engineering alumnus and adjunct professor Blake S. Wilson — a pioneer in the development of cochlear implants who serves as a co-director of the Duke Hearing Center — received the 2013 Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award. Wilson shared the award with Graeme M. Clark of Australia and Ingeborg J. Hochmair of Austria, who also played critical roles in developing the device that restores hearing to individuals with profound deafness. 

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Duke Welcomes Home Olympic Medalists

Coach K, Abby Johnston and Nick McCrory

On successive days at the 2012 Olympics, Abby Johnston took silver and Nick McCrory bronze in synchronized diving competition. The Duke students' medals were the first for the United States since 2000, and the first ever for the country in synchronized diving. At the 2016 Olympic in Rio, Rebecca Quinn won her first career Olympic medal as her Canada Women's National Team defeated Brazil in the bronze medal match. In addition, Coach K led the U.S. men's basketball team to Olympic championships in both 2012 and 2016. Johnston, McCrory and Quinn were three of 13 Duke student-athletes turned Olympians to compete during the past decade.

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Alumni and Students Selected for Nationally Competitive Scholarships

Rhodes Scholar Gabriella “Elle” Deich is a Program II major who participated in three Bass Connections project teams that developed open source computer science curricula for secondary schools and explored genetic engineering.

On November 19, 2019, senior Gabriella "Elle" Deich became the 50th student in Duke history to receive a Rhodes Scholarship, capping a tremendous decade for Duke students and alumni applying for competitive fellowships. Eight Blue Devils in addition to Deich won Rhodes Scholarships this decade, while 12 were named Schwarzmann Scholars, 11 secured Marshall Scholarships and 11 were named Truman scholars.

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Numerous Duke Faculty Named to National Academies

Ingrid Daubechies

The past 10 years marked a prolific decade for Duke faculty named to national academies, including 15 selected to the National Academy of Arts & Sciences, 13 to the National Academy of Medicine and six to both the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Sciences.

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Duke Cited as One of Nation's Best Employers

Students walk to and from class on a crisp, Fall day outside Perkins Library, beside Duke Chapel, on West Campus.

The university has often been cited as one of the nation's top employers and the past 10 years marked no exception. Duke was not only cited among America's Best Employers but was also recognized among the Best Employers for Diversity, Best Employers for Women and Great Colleges to Work For.

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Duke Football's Bowl Successes

Football players hold the Quick Lane Bowl trophy

The Duke football team's ascension to national prominence began with 2012's Belk Bowl appearance, the Blue Devils' first bowl game in nearly two decades. A year later, Duke compiled a tremendous 2013 season with a school-record 10 wins and the program's first trip to back-to-back bowl games. The Blue Devils played in a bowl game six times over seven years, including a streak of three-straight bowl wins. The decade also saw two Blue Devils taken in the first round of the NFL Draft in Laken Tomlinson (2015) and Daniel Jones (2019).

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