wide photo of the centennial celebration in Cameron

A Spirited Kickoff to the Duke Centennial Celebration

More coverage to come from event that included student performances and demonstrations of Duke impact

Duke alumnus and actor/comedian Ken Jeong and Duke President Vincent Price address the audience in Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Several student dance groups brought the audience to their feet during the event.

Price spoke near the end of an inspiring hour emceed by comedian Ken Jeong – Duke class of 1990 – and highlighted by a toddler from Asheboro named Easton Sinnamon.

In 2021, Easton became the first person to receive a heart transplant coupled with a thymus tissue transplantation engineered to create an immune system where the little boy previously had none.

The successful procedures were conducted at Duke University Hospital, marrying the heart transplant performed by pediatric cardiac surgeon Joseph Turek with a thymus implantation method pioneered decades earlier at Duke by physician-scientist Mary Louise Markert. 

“This is why I’m so proud to be from Duke,” Jeong said as the Sinnamon family was introduced to the crowd. “Truly inspirational on so many levels.”

President Price and former men’s basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski greet the Sinnamon family, including young Easton Sinnamon, middle, who received the world’s first combination heart transplant/thymus implant in the world at Duke.

Other faculty and staff were also highlighted throughout the event, which teemed with music and dance from Duke students. It was capped by an appearance from Coach K, who reminded the crowd that they don’t just study, teach or work at Duke.

“You are Duke,” he said. 

The event will be available to rewatch here.

Ken Jeong warms up the audience.
A spectactular end to the dance performance at the Centennial Kickoff.