Buildings and Grounds Magazine Articles

September 9, 2022


Scott Huler

Start with Scrooge McDuck, swimming in gold coins. That’s the first image you get when you hear that the Duke University endowment, having recovered from the collapse of the investment market during the beginning of the COVID pandemic, reached a high mark north of $12 billion. Twelve billion dollars, as a pile of wealth, is more wealth than entire countries have (Fiji is estimated to have about $9 billion; Liberia, $11 billion).

November 25, 2021


Sterly Wilder

Each fall, the university community gathers to celebrate the founding of Duke—members of the Duke family and the giants on whose shoulders we have stood, those men and women who helped make our university the extraordinary place it is today. Many of these names are on buildings, quads, classrooms, and iconic spaces.

June 28, 2021


Janine Latus

The gates to the Sarah P. Duke Gardens had once more swung open, and assistant professor of pathology Will Jeck was among the first ones through. He visited the first morning he was allowed and sat on a bench overlooking the Terraces, soaking in the beauty and serenity and reflecting on a year that had him performing not just his normal work as a pathologist, but also autopsies on COVID patients.

Scrim of Crazies at COVID Duke game

March 19, 2021


Scott Huler

It was going to be a strange season anyhow. A roster full of freshman talent that wasn’t instantly finding its way; some surprising early losses; and the sudden midseason decision by freshman Jalen Johnson to opt out of the remainder of his Duke basketball career and prepare for the NBA draft.

Tallman Trask sitting in Baldwin Auditorium on Duke's campus

December 8, 2020

When, back in 1995, Tallman Trask III was emerging as the likely choice as Duke’s executive vice president, law professor James Cox was chairing the search committee. He did what search-committee chairs typically do: He called an administrator at the University of Washington, where Trask was then working, to check him out.

February 26, 2020

We are now approaching the 100th anniversary of the founding of Duke University in 1924. As we celebrate this milestone, it’s worth reflecting on how we came to have our two distinctive and beautiful campuses—and how different they could have looked.

February 26, 2020


Corbie Hill

PALE SMOKE seeps from holes in the roof of 1915 Yearby Avenue. Minuscule flames lick the eaves tentatively, cautiously, like swimmers dipping their toes in cold seawater. Firefighters from the Durham Fire Department stand by their trucks. They’re waiting for the fire to grow before they go in.

Image of Central Campus construction, 1973

November 19, 2019

In May, students moved out of their Central Campus apartments for the last time. The buildings are now being razed, and the future of Central Campus is uncertain. Over its nearly forty-five-year lifespan as part of our university, the Central Campus apartments remained the same, but the vision for what they could be changed as the years passed.

July 18, 2014

The willow oak has written in it
an ink of time-underlayment.
I say the word emeritus
and the wind-rubbed coppery surface
touches my eyes like a worn rug.
Corded by limbs to a base in soil
it recovers those years of toil
that layered other leaves in another place.
The library’s vellum and coffee still drug
my memory, like Gothic walls and trees above.
There I and my gnarled masters strove,

July 18, 2014

At some point or another, most of us have been afflicted by homesickness—that pang of nostalgia and longing for familiar people and places. To understand the origin and purpose of homesickness, we asked Mark Leary, professor of psychology and neuroscience and the director of Duke’s social psychology program, to give us some insight into this common human experience.

How would you define homesickness?

July 18, 2014

Each April, as the azaleas come into bloom, thousands of Duke alumni return to campus for Reunions Weekend, and I greet them with the words, “Welcome home.” But why do we think of college as a home? In many countries this is not the case: There, people feel a lifelong allegiance to their secondary schools and strike a more pragmatic, businesslike relationship with their universities.

April 29, 2014

More than 2,000 students have participated in DukeEngage since it began in 2007. The program, in which students serve a domestic or international community in need, has become a Duke hallmark. So, it might surprise you to know that forty years before DukeEngage launched, Duke had developed an immersive community- service program based in Durham.

April 28, 2014

Is Duke good at risk-taking?

I think we’re pretty good; compared to most of our peers, we’re pretty risk-accepting. Schools like ours have not only an opportunity but almost an obligation to take risks, to experiment in our academic work.

Any university has to manage the power balance between central administration and the various units. How does that balance feel here?

February 27, 2014

Nearly 5,900 natural-gas leaks have been found under the streets of Washington by a research team from Duke, Boston University, and Gas Safety Inc. Some of the leaks could have posed explosion risks, according to the team.

“Repairing these leaks will improve air quality, increase consumer health and safety, and save money,” says Robert B. Jackson, a professor of environmental sciences, who led the study.

February 25, 2014

Photos by Karen Webbink (top) and Robert Ayers.

Recreation & Physical Education (Rec&PE) Department logo

November 19, 2013


Bridget Booher

As a high-school athlete, Parker Poliakoff ’14 played football, lacrosse, and golf, rowed crew, and was a nationally ranked wrestler who hoped for a walk-on position with the Blue Devils. But when back and knee injuries put a damper on his varsity aspirations, Poliakoff was forced to regroup.

November 12, 2013

Intolerance, Mahatma Gandhi once said, is a form of violence and an obstacle to a true democratic spirit. Although those words weren’t repeated at the late-September opening of the new Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity, it seemed a sentiment with which attendees would concur.

Duke Kunshan

November 12, 2013

More than 800 students from China enrolled at Duke last year, a clear indication of the university’s popularity in the nation. Now, after gaining the approval of the Ministry of Education, Duke will have a formal home in the country.

Centennial year 1938 ceremony

September 19, 2013

Duke has the luxury of celebrating many anniversaries. Originally founded as Brown’s Schoolhouse in 1838, it formed a constitution as Union Institute in 1839, was chartered as Normal College in 1851, then as Trinity College in 1959, and finally as Duke University in 1924. Nearly any year can be celebrated as a milestone.

Photo of Steven and Rebecca Jensen Scott

May 14, 2013

Sports medicine at Duke—a division of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery—will get a boost through a $20 million gift from Steven and Rebecca Jensen Scott. The gift will expand clinical and research program development, faculty recruitment and retention, and support for sports-medicine training, as well as providing support from the medical school. This is among several significant gifts for Duke Forward, the $3.25 billion fundraising campaign launched last September.

Image of the Plaza at the new Bryan Center

May 14, 2013

Renovations to the Bryan Center began during the 2012 winter break and are expected to be completed by fall 2013. The changes are designed to create more appealing and flexible spaces for students and staff members. This is the first major renovation since its construction more than thirty years ago. Here are a few changes to look forward to: