Inauguration Events


Richard H. Brodhead will officially become Duke's ninth president on Saturday, September 18. The inauguration will be the culmination of a weeklong celebration, with activities ranging from cultural and community events to discussions of global issues.

Brodhead assumed Duke's presidency on July 1, succeeding Nannerl O. Keohane, who stepped down after eleven years to return to teaching and research. A scholar of nineteenth-century American literature, Brodhead previously was the dean of Yale College and the A. Bartlett Giamatti Professor of English at Yale University.

His inaugural ceremony, to begin at 3:00 p.m., will be held outdoors in the Duke Chapel Quadrangle. The public is invited to join the Duke community and invited guests for the event, which is expected to attract several thousand students and faculty and staff members, as well as guests from government, other colleges and universities, neighboring institutions, and others. The ceremony will be moved into Duke Chapel in case of rain.

Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka is among those featured in a series of free inaugural events open to the public. Soyinka, a Nigerian author and playwright who was the first African to win the Nobel Prize for Literature, will deliver the inaugural lecture at 3:30 p.m., Friday, September 17, in the Griffith Film Theater in the Bryan Center. That evening, Nigerian playwright Ola Rotimi's play The Gods Are Not to Blame will be presented in the Reynolds Theater in the Bryan Center. The play is open to the public; tickets may be purchased beginning August 23 by calling (919) 684-4444 or ordering online at

Also open to the public are panel discussions on Friday and Saturday. At 1:45 p.m., September 17, the first two discussions will take place in Von Canon rooms A and B in the Bryan Center. Victor J. Dzau, the new chancellor for health affairs and president and chief operating officer of the Duke University Health System, will lead the session "Global Health." Anne Allison, chair and associate professor of cultural anthropology, will moderate another session, "Globalization of Culture."

The second set of discussions will take place at 9:30 and 11:00 a.m. Saturday, September 18, in Von Canon rooms A and C. Bruce Jentleson, director of the Terry Sanford Institute of Public Policy, will moderate a session, "Global Challenges." Author Reynolds Price '55, James B. Duke Professor of English, will moderate "Duke University: Past, Present, and Future."

The public is also invited to a free performance by the Duke Chorale/Wind Symphony in Baldwin Auditorium at 8:00 p.m., September 14.

The final public event will be a Sunday worship service in Duke Chapel at 11:00 a.m. The preacher will be Richard Lischer, the James T. and Alice Mead Cleland Professor of Preaching at the Duke Divinity School.

In addition to the public events, the university is organizing a weeklong series of activities that begins at 11:00 a.m. Saturday, September 11, with "Into the City," a day of community service in Durham involving Duke students. Brodhead and his wife, Cynthia Brodhead, will greet the students and visit some of the projects.

Other activities in which Brodhead will participate include:

  • September 13, a Durham community celebration at the Lyon Park Clinic at the Community Family Life Center and the West End community in Durham
  • September 14, a meeting with first-year student leaders
  • September 15, a luncheon for employees of Durham Regional Hospital
  • September 15, a reception for graduate-and professional-school students at the Fox Student Center at the Fuqua School of Business
  • September 16, a lunchtime gathering with Duke employees
  • September 16, a meeting with Duke Hospital employees.

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