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Freshman spotlight: Pegram

Meet Varun Turk Jain, an incoming Pegram Dorm resident from Chantilly, Virginia. This interview is part of a summer blog series profiling one Class of 2018 member from each of the 13 East Campus dorms. Look out for the rest of the blogs on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays leading up to Orientation Week.

Major: Undecided, but probably biology

Pre-orientation program: None

Summer plans: Working at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, working on a machine that divides fruit flies by gender.

Favorite type of weather: "Probably warm and sunny, but not humid."

Favorite book or literary work: "The Namesake" by Jhumpa Lahiri.

Spirit animal: A brown bear, because they are loving and cuddly.

Guilty pleasure: Binge watching “Gossip Girl.” “Junior year was pretty bad, so to get over it late at night I would watch ‘Gossip Girl.’”

Favorite “Gossip Girl” character: “Probably Chuck Bass… he spoke to me.”

Impression from first trip to Duke: “Probably how happy everyone was... Read more

"The Duke" versus Duke

In a lawsuit filed last week, it's "The Duke" versus Duke.

The family of deceased film star John Wayne—who went by the nickname "The Duke" for much of his career—is suing the University for use of the name Duke to market bourbon and other alcoholic beverages.

The suit was filed July 3 in Orange County, where Wayne lived for years before passing away in 1979. It notes that the University has blocked John Wayne Enterprises' attempts to register the Duke name since 2005.

“While we admire and respect John Wayne’s contributions to American culture, we are also committed to protecting the integrity of Duke University’s trademarks," Michael Schoenfeld, vice president for government relations and public affairs, wrote in an email Wednesday. "As Mr. Wayne himself said, 'Words are what men live by… words they say and mean.’”

In their complaint, lawyers for John Wayne Enterprises suggest that the services offered by the University are significantly different from the alcoholic products that would be produced by the company. The two uses of "Duke" would not be confused, they argue... Read more

Summer in review—the biggest headlines on campus

Summer may mean fewer people on campus, but it does not mean less news. Take a look at some of the biggest headlines from May and June.

Aycock renamed

President Richard Brodhead recently announced that freshman dormitory Aycock will be renamed East Residence Hall in a letter to student leaders. The renaming, agreed on by the Board of Trustees’ executive committee, comes months after the Duke Student Government senate adopted a resolution in support of renaming Aycock, even though numerous calls for change have been voiced by students in the past... Read more

Alumni round-up: Shinseki resigns from VA, Steel takes C.E.O. position

The last week in May saw two prominent Duke alumni in the news for significant—albeit very different—career moves.

Eric Shinseki, Graduate School '76 and Secretary of Veterans Affairs, resigned Friday amid a growing scandal regarding veterans' treatment at VA hospitals. Meanwhile, Robert Steel—Trinity '73 and former chair of the Board of Trustees—announced that he will become C.E.O. of boutique investment bank Perella Weinberg Partners.

Calls for Shinseki's resignation came from across the political spectrum in recent weeks. Issues with waiting time and delayed appointments at VA hospitals were first uncovered last winter and were confirmed by investigations throughout the spring.

Veterans groups began asking for Shinseki to resign in early May. On May 6, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney Read more

All-clear called for tornado warning after 20 minutes

For the second time in three weeks, Duke's campus was put on alert for a tornado warning.

At 6:13 p.m. Thursday, a DukeAlert was issued for a tornado warning that was in effect for Durham County. The campus sirens were activated, and members of the community were encouraged to seek shelter immediately. An all-clear was called at 6:33 p.m.

Vice President for Administration Kyle Cavanaugh said the University's severe weather group had been put on alert earlier in the day and was monitoring the situation prior to the National Weather Service's warning for the county. Rather than progressing from a tornado watch to a tornado warning, the call went straight to a warning, Cavanaugh noted.

"The communication system worked very, very well," Cavanaugh said. "It was up literally in minutes, before anything was really at risk."

Cavanaugh added that the current construction on campus requires particular attention during severe weather situations such as this... Read more

Thank you to Duke Moms

The Chronicle and Duke Student Broadcasting gave students a chance to say Happy Mother's Day to their moms—and this is what they said. Thanks to all the moms who are sharing Mother's Day with Duke Commencement this Sunday, May 11.

Rumor false—Grace's Café to stay

Contrary to rumors, Grace's Café is remaining on campus next year.

A post on Duke's Fix My Campus Facebook page that stated the café would close quickly garnered dozens of comments from concerned students Friday afternoon. Both Duke Dining Services and Grace's management, however, said that the claim was false.

Grace's owner Jack Chao confirmed that the restaurant is staying on campus in its Trent Hall location, without any changes in management.

"I've been with Grace's Café for 16 years," Chao said. "I have no intention to change any management."

Director of Duke Dining Services Robert Coffey verified that the restaurant would remain on campus in an email Friday afternoon.

With more than 2,200 members, the Fix My Campus page—run by Duke Student Government's Fix My Campus committee—operates as a forum for students to voice concerns about campus life. A number of recent posts have focused on dining culture, particularly the departure of the Law Refectory Café.

Breaking Out gallery opens third annual display of sexual assault victims' portraits

The Breaking Out project gallery will open in the Bryan Center this Wednesday, displaying its yearly artistic outlet for victims of sexual assault.

In its third year of operation, the Breaking Out project presents photos of students who have experienced sexual violence holding posters displaying quotes from their assailants, friends or families. The photographs serve as both the fulfillment of an artistic vision and a therapeutic process for participants, said senior Hanna Metaferia, the director of the project.

“We see it as an opportunity for students who have experienced sexual violence across the spectrum to speak out against the culture of silence,” Metaferia said.

Each participant in the photographs is positioned in a way that captures his or her personal story, she said... Read more

Duke Med tries Broadway take on admissions recruiting

The Duke School of Medicine is using a new tool to appeal to prospective applicants this year: a musical.

DukeMed debuted a 16-minute montage of Broadway song parodies on YouTube last week.


Nine songs are used in the video. Here are some highlights from the altered lyrics:
  • "I Dreamed a Dream" from Les Miserables — "Then I was young and unafraid, AMCAs were seen as an adventure, one application was displayed, no field unfilled no role unlisted."
  • "Anything You Can Do" from Annie Get Your Gun — "Anything you can score I can score higher, I can score MCATs higher than you."
  • "Getting to Know You" from The King and I — "Getting to know Duke, getting to try the great food scene... Read more

DashBoks: The New Stress-buster for Parents?


The first time a parent lets their teenager take the car on their own, they may be smiling on the outside, but inside they are having a panic attack. Will they drive safe? Will they break any speed limits, run a red light, or drive the wrong way down a one-way street? Will they go where they say they are going, and avoid dangerous neighborhoods?

Until their teen pulls back into the driveway, parents are at a state of unrest. Not that they don’t trust the teen. It’s just a natural reaction when they have no clue what may be happening out on the road. It’s a problem we all face: Fear of the Unknown... Read more