Number 4: The Brodhead Era

"Do I, Richard, take you, Duke, to be my chosen life?” Richard Brodhead asked himself when he became Duke's ninth University President in the summer of 2004. "I do."

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The former dean of Yale College and English professor was chosen after a months-long, nationwide search to succeed popular former president Nan Keohane in December 2003. At Yale, where Brodhead spent forty years as a student, professor and administrator, the 19th century literature scholar built a legacy on "having a finger on the pulse of the undergraduate student body" and his approach to academics.

During his five years at Duke, Brodhead has prioritized fundraising for financial aid ($300 million to be exact) and integrating civic engagement and service into the academic experience, both with the University's most recent $1.3 billion strategic plan "Making a Difference" and the launch of DukeEngage.

Brodhead's tenure at Duke, however, has been anything but smooth sailing. From the beginning, the President has had to confront a series of crises, difficult for even the seasoned veteran of academia to navigate. In 2004, head basketball coach Mike Kryzewski almost left the University to take over as head coach for the Lakers. Just months later, Brodhead and the University drew fire for allowing the Palestinian Solidarity Movement to host its annual conference on Duke's campus. Then of course, there was lacrosse and the new financial reality created by the recession (but again, we'll save the best for last).

The Brodhead Era is number 4 on our stories of the decade list. These are the issues and events that made headlines for weeks at a time over the last ten years, those that sparked the most debate on campus and beyond, and the ones that we believe will continue to shape our coverage in the years to come.


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