Duke Announces Plans for Centennial Celebration
More than a year of activities and events will highlight Duke’s past and propel university into its second century
“This is a moment of transformation for Duke, when we can see more clearly than ever before how we might lead in the century to come,” Duke University President Vincent E. Price said. “It’s also a moment of extraordinary continuity, as the seeds of our current and future excellence that were planted and cultivated throughout our university’s first hundred years come into bloom.
“Our commemoration of the centennial in 2024 should serve two purposes. We will, first, look back at Duke history with clear eyes and celebrate the work that has brought us to this moment. At the same time, this celebration should sharpen our focus on the work still to come and renew our commitment to meet the needs of a changing world.”
Planning for Duke’s centennial celebration began in 2020, when Price and the Duke University Board of Trustees formed a strategic task force, led by Trustee Lisa Borders, that spent a year developing a report to guide planning for the celebration. The task force included students, faculty, administrators, and alumni, in addition to trustees. Members of the task force conducted dozens of interviews to inform their recommendations.
In August 2022, President Price named an executive director, Jill Boy, to oversee planning for the Centennial. In the fall of 2022, a Centennial Steering Committee was convened to provide guidance “on the development of a celebration that will meaningfully engage constituents, deepen the understanding of Duke’s history, inspire pride in Duke’s first century, and launch Duke into a second century of excellence.”
Teams that include faculty, staff, students and alumni and represent units, offices and schools across campus have been established to help plan activities and programs. In all, more than 100 ideas for Centennial events were submitted – from concerts and exhibits to panel discussions. A comprehensive Centennial calendar is in development with events and activities that will take place throughout 2024.
The entire Duke community is invited to the Centennial Celebration Kickoff at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2024, in Cameron Indoor Stadium. (Astute observers will note that the date, 1.9.24., echoes the date of Duke’s founding, 1924.) The event will feature musical performances, special guests, multimedia elements, and more.
The Centennial Celebration will culminate in May 2025 with commencement marking the 100th anniversary of the first Duke University graduating class.
More information is available on the Centennial website.