School of Medicine Unveils Portrait of Dr. Brenda Armstrong

Chancellor for Health Affairs Dr. Eugene Washington and School of Medicine Dean Mary Klotman present the portrait of Dr. Brenda Armstrong. Photo by Chris Hildreth
Chancellor for Health Affairs Dr. Eugene Washington and School of Medicine Dean Mary Klotman present the portrait of Dr. Brenda Armstrong. Photo by Chris Hildreth

“Brenda Armstrong was a passionate advocate for social justice and her life exemplified that commitment.  She was passionate about people, especially young people, and she committed her life to helping ensure every person was valued, treated with respect, and offered opportunities to learn and prosper.”

With those words, Dr. Eugene Washington, chancellor of the health system, and Dr. Mary Klotman, dean of the School of Medicine, unveiled a portrait of Dr. Brenda Armstrong, a Duke pioneer who was among the first African-American undergraduates at Duke and who went on to help be one of the most influential contributors in expanding the diversity of the American physician workforce. Armstrong died in 2018.

A professor of pediatrics, Armstrong was associate dean for admissions and senior associate dean for student diversity, recruitment and retention in the Duke School of Medicine for more than two decades. In September, she was posthumously awarded the University Medal, Duke's highest honor.

“Brenda was a brilliant physician, educator, researcher, and mentor, and her many significant contributions improved the lives of countless people,” Klotman said.

The portrait will be soon placed in the Trent-Semans Center for Health Education. Read more about Armstrong’s life here.