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Junior year: 2017-2018

Junior year witnessed new aspects of campus life—from the welcoming of a new University president to the softball team playing its inaugural season—and a number of high-profile guests visiting campus. 

President Vincent Price took office in July as Duke's 10th president and soon faced a controversial decision about the vandalism of the Robert E. Lee statue outside the Chapel. He ordered the statue's removal and launched a Commission on Memory and History in September to recommend a replacement for it. The Commission delivered its report in November, and he accepted the recommendation of leaving open the spot in the Chapel's entrance.

Price was formally inaugurated as Duke's president in October at a ceremony on Abele Quadrangle, followed by a reception in the Brodhead Center. The night before the inauguration, a carnival named PricePalooza took place on East Campus, which provided a ferris wheel, inflatables and food.

In addition, Jack Bovender, Trinity '67 and Graduate School '69, became the new chair of the Board of Trustees. He took the helm from David Rubenstein, Trinity '70, who stepped away after serving as chair since 2013.

In early September, a Duke LifeFlight helicopter crashed in eastern North Carolina. A memorial service took place Sept. 20 in the Chapel for the four people who died in the crash.

Housing became a topic of serious discussion after Larry Moneta, vice president for student affairs, announced in late September that 2018-2019 will be the last year undergraduate students live on Central Campus.

Steve Schewel, Trinity ‘73 and a professor at the Sanford School of Public Policy, became the mayor of Durham after winning the November election. He appointed Jillian Johnson, Trinity '03 and his former student, as his mayor pro tempore.

In response to President Donald Trump's plans to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, students established a new organization called Define American for students on DACA and their allies. Some of the students traveled to Washington, D.C., later in November to lobby members of Congress to support protections for individuals affected by the law.

In late November, the men's basketball team jumpstarted their season with a come-from-behind victory against Florida to win the PK80 Invitational’s Motion Bracket in Portland, Ore. They eked out the victory by three points, beating the Gators 87-84. Duke would make it to the Elite Eight of March Madness before bowing out to Kansas in an overtime loss.

Coach Mike Krzyzewski also notched his 1,000th win at Duke in a November win over Utah Valley. 

The team split the regular season rivalry with the Tar Heels before falling to them in the ACC tournament semifinals. Grayson Allen closed out his career in Cameron with a win over the rivals on senior night, but the walk-up line for the game got a bit out of hand. Krzyzewskiville also ran into some issues this year, including an indefinite shutdown being called due to the flu and the line monitors being sued in the Duke Student Government Judiciary.

Over winter break, Duke's football team routed Northern Illinois in the Quick Lane Bowl to take its second bowl win in three years. Duke, which finished the season 7-6, closed the season on a three-game winning streak—the first time since 1962.

Duke gained a new varsity sport during junior year as well, with softball officially becoming the University's 27th varsity sport. The Blue Devils finished the regular season ranked seventh in the ACC and gained their first All-ACC honoree as sophomore pitcher Raine Wilson was named to the conference's first team. First-years Rachel Abboud and Peyton St. George were also named to the conference's All-Freshman team.

This year also saw the opening of the Rubenstein Arts Center, a new arts facility on campus. Rubenstein funded the creation of the new arts center with $25 million. The opening party in February drew a crowd of 3,000. The building is home to WXDU and the von der Heyden Studio Theater, a theater that has already hosted a production of Chicago. The American Dance Festival will also be in residence at the Rubenstein over the summer, hosting workshops and performances.

Several high profile public figures also visited campus.

Reince Priebus, former White House chief of staff to Trump, discussed the 2016 election and his service in Trump's White House when he spoke on campus in December. Tom Perez, chair of the Democratic National Convention, talked about the evolution of the party when he visited in April, and Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rev. William Barber II packed the Chapel for their re-scheduled April talk on a moral economy. 

Nikki Haley, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, visited campus in April to talk about Russian relations and the U.S. embassy in Israel. Condoleezza Rice, the former secretary of state, stopped by in May to discuss political risk. 

During alumni weekend in April, approximately 25 students took the stage as President Vincent Price stood at the podium. The students, affiliated under the People's State of the University, presented a dozen demands for the University. The Office of Student Conduct originally sent notices to these students about possible disciplinary action but eventually chose to informally resolve the cases.

The end of the year was also marked by racial incidents. A student was exposed on the Duke Memes for Gothicc Teens Facebook page for using a racial slur in a Snapchat. A student resident of the 300 Swift apartment complex had a racial epithet written across her door, and a pair of anti-Semitic posters were also found along the East Campus wall and sidewalk. 

In May, it was reported that two baristas at Joe Van Gogh had been fired due to a rap song that was playing when Larry Moneta, vice president for student affairs, entered the store to buy a muffin. 

Internationally, Duke Kunshan University welcomed its first cohort of faculty for the undergraduate program in preparation for the inaugural undergraduate class arriving in the fall.

Duke undergraduates elected junior Kristina Smith as their next Duke Student Government president to replace outgoing President Riyanka Ganguly, a senior, and chose senior Amy Kramer as their Young Trustee. 

The Class of 2018 lost a member of their class in December, when senior Alex McIlvaine died at age 22. McIlvaine was remembered in a memorial service at the Chapel in January.


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