The Duke Endowment Gift: Building Experiential Learning

Working at the campus farm during experiential orientation; students filming the death of a glacier in Iceland; and students in the Xprize competition

The Duke Endowment Award

$100 million gift is largest in university history

Duke students regularly report that experiential learning provides some of the most memorable moments of their Duke education, whether it’s bridge building in a foreign country or doing heat mapping in Durham.

“I tell my friends, ‘Your educational journey is not one size fits all.’ Experiential learning underlines that in a positive way,” said Isaiah Hamilton, president of Duke Student Government, who this past summer did study abroad in Costa Rica. He spoke at the recent ceremony announcing The Duke Endowment gift.

Hamilton said much of his intellectual development while at Duke “has taken place outside of the classroom.”

“These opportunities provide a safe space for students to be their authentic selves and dive into what excites them,” he said.

The value of experiential learning is such that Duke’s orientation program is now centered around learning activities to help them connect with other students, learn about their new Durham community and take a first dip into developing their academic interests.

Read six stories about the positive impact experiential learning had on Duke students.