Profile of Duke
It established itself as a pioneering and independent thinking institution, a
The roots of Duke university stretch as far back as 1838, when a group of local families established a small school called Union Institute in Randolph County, just south of Greensboro. The school grew in size and became Trinity College in 1859, after making formal ties with the Methodist Church. Under this organization the school continued to grow despite the troubles of the Civil War and Reconstruction. Two other changes came in the late 1880s, a new president of the school, John Crowell, educated at Yale, revised the curriculum to focus on research and began to seek an urban setting for the institution. The second change was the relocation of the school to Durham primarily due to tobacco magnate and respected Methodist Washington Duke, whose gift of funds helped establish the school there. Continuing to recruit ambitious and progressive faculty, Trinity College soared, becoming one of the foremost liberal arts colleges in the South. Early on it accepted female students and took a lead in questions of race. It established itself as a pioneering and independent thinking institution a reputation it works hard to maintain today.The hope of growing the college into a university, an institution with a collection of colleges dedicated to a variety of studies, became a reality when in 1924 James B. Duke created the Duke Endowment to fund various institutions in the Carolinas. Since Trinity was not an uncommon name for schools, the title Duke University was chosen to memorialize the family's contribution. In the ensuing years, the university built a brand new campus which more than doubled its size, and opened graduate schools in religion, medicine, nursing, forestry, and a bit later in business. The rapid and extraordinary transformation of the school into one of the US's premiere institutions is a testament not only to the giving of the Duke family but really to the hard work, inquisitive and forward thinking, as well as dedication to learning that marks the university today. From this grand tradition comes a list of noteworthy graduates such as former President Richard Nixon, a law school grad; philanthropist Melinda Gates, writers Reynolds Price and William Styron, journalist and news anchor Judy Woodruff, Apple CEO Tim Cook, U.S. Secretary of Veteran Affairs Eric Shinseki, professional basketball player Grant Hill, musician Mike Posner and many others in everything from leaders in business and athletics to medicine, science, and fine arts. For more helpful and excellent information for your college and university search, check us out at About.com.