Junior year saw Duke continue to grow and evolve both physically and intellectually, as construction ramped up and controversy provoked thoughtful discussion.
The number of cranes blotting the skyline increased as the University witnessed the end of some major projects and the beginning of others. Just as The Edge in Bostock Library opened in January, the entrance to the Bryan Center shut down and Wallace Wade Stadium began renovations, relocating graduation to the Durham Bulls’ Athletic Park.
Departing this year along with the Class of 2015 are administrators who have helped shape the students’ Duke experiences. Laurie Patton, dean of Trinity College of Arts and Sciences, announced her decision to become the 17th president of Middlebury College in Vermont. Duke Kunshan University also saw a significant change in leadership—with Nora Bynum, vice provost for DKU, announcing her departure to work at Chicago’s Field Museum in January and Mary Brown Bullock, executive vice chancellor since 2012, announcing her retirement in February.
Duke Forward—the fundraising campaign with the goal of raising $3.25 billion by June 30, 2017—yielded promising results in 2014-15, with the University having received $340.1 million in cash gifts and $348.5 million in new commitments as of April 1. Overall, the University has raised $2.5 billion towards its goal.
Students witnessed a growing trend—with Keizra Mecklai’s election as the new DSG president marking Duke’s fourth consecutive female student body president. Many have widely applauded Duke’s efforts in championing female leadership.
Junior year also saw a number of racial and religiously-based controversies— including Duke’s abrupt reversal of its decision to have the weekly Muslim call-to-prayer led from the Chapel bell tower, the tragic murder of three Muslim UNC students in Chapel Hill and the hanging of a noose near the Bryan Center. The Duke community came together following these incidents—with administrators leading speeches, faculty hosting forums and Duke Student Government and the Black Student Alliance collaborating to create the Social Justice Fellowship.
Duke research has also been featured prominently in national news, including the pioneering work around the use of the polio virus to treat cancer patients—which gained national attention when it was featured on CBS’ “60 Minutes.”
The University moved one step closer to putting the Anil Potti scandal behind it—settling a lawsuit involving the families of eight cancer patients who Potti treated based on falsified research.
On the court, Duke men’s basketball overcame a season filled with ups and downs to capture its fifth national title with a thrilling 68-63 victory against Wisconsin. Head coach Mike Krzyzewski also surpassed yet another milestone in January, becoming the first head coach in Division I men’s basketball history to reach 1,000 career wins with a comeback victory against St. John’s at Madison Square Garden. Freshmen Jahlil Okafor, Tyus Jones and Justise Winslow led the way and have all since joined NBA teams.
Although Duke football ended its 2014 campaign with a loss to Arizona State in the Sun Bowl in the final minutes, the program continued to make strides under the direction of head coach David Cutcliffe, posting consecutive winning seasons for the first time since 1989.
Nine football players were signed by teams in the NFL, most notably offensive guard Laken Tomlinson, who was drafted by the Detroit Lions as the 28th overall pick, and wide receiver Jamison Crowder, who was selected 105th by the Washington Redskins.
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