Duke University was created in 1924 by James Buchanan Duke as a memorial to his father, Washington Duke. The Dukes, a Durham family that built a worldwide financial empire in the manufacture of tobacco products and developed electricity production in the Carolinas, long had been interested in Trinity College. Trinity traced its roots to 1838 in nearby Randolph County when local Methodist and Quaker communities opened Union Institute. The school, then named Trinity College, moved to Durham in 1892, where Benjamin Newton Duke served as a primary benefactor and link with the Duke family until his death in 1929. In December 1924, the provisions of indenture by Benjamin’s brother, James B. Duke, created the family philanthropic foundation, The Duke Endowment, which provided for the expansion of Trinity College into Duke University.
The university offers two undergraduate academic paths: liberal arts and engineering. The Duke University Graduate School offers master’s and doctoral degrees in more than 80 departments and programs of study, as well as certificate programs and dual and joint degrees and graduate programs at Duke Kunshan. Graduate students have the opportunity to work closely with faculty across Duke’s nine other schools and to conduct research in connection with numerous campus research institutes and centers.
Duke Athletics teams compete in the 15-member Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and field teams in 27 NCAA Division I varsity sports. Duke has won national championships in women’s golf, men’s basketball, men’s soccer, men’s lacrosse and women’s tennis.
Bryan Center is the hub of student activity. It serves as an expanded student union and is home to student organizations and the University Union, which oversees student-run cultural and social activities. The center contains theaters, restaurants, a coffeehouse, book and merchandise stores, an information desk, post office, ATM machines and more.
Duke Libraries is one of the nation’s top 10 private research library systems that includes the Perkins, Bostock and Rubenstein Libraries on West Campus, the Lilly and Music Libraries on East Campus, the Pearse Memorial Library at the Duke Marine Lab, and the separately administered libraries serving the schools of business, divinity, law and medicine.
The university’s home campus spans three contiguous campuses on nearly 9,000 acres in Durham as well a Marine Lab in Beaufort, N.C. Duke's main campus, designed largely by the African American architect Julian Abele, incorporates Gothic architecture with the Duke Chapel at the campus' epicenter. Recent construction projects have updated both East Campus, West Campus and the adjacent Medical Center.
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