From President Price to Peaches: Duke’s biggest stars you need to know

<p>Even in a pandemic, Keith Upchurch, Trinity ‘72, and Nugget, his 10-year-old golden retriever, have kept coming to campus to see students.&nbsp;</p>

Even in a pandemic, Keith Upchurch, Trinity ‘72, and Nugget, his 10-year-old golden retriever, have kept coming to campus to see students. 

Whether it’s your first year or your last, there’s always somebody at Duke that you might not know. The Chronicle is here to help. Here are some of the University’s biggest stars to be on the lookout for—on campus, over Zoom, or in your inbox. 

Portions of this story were adapted from “From administrators to animals, here's who you need to know at Duke.”

Vincent Price

President Vincent Price is entering his fifth academic year at Duke’s helm. Price’s tenure has seen the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee at the entrance of the Duke Chapel and an increase of the University minimum wage to $15 per hour. In the last year, his decisions have included closing campus at the start of the pandemic, bringing students back in fall 2020 and promising new anti-racism initiatives

In the past, Price has been spotted strolling across campus with his dogs Scout, a golden doodle and Cricket, a labradoodle.

Coach K

Coach Mike Krzyzewski has been the head coach of the men’s basketball team since 1980, leading the Blue Devils to five NCAA championships and 12 Final Fours. In June, Coach K announced that he will be retiring after the 2021-22 season. 

K-Ville is the area outside Cameron Indoor Stadium where undergraduate students camp out for games, including tenting for weeks for a spot in the highly anticipated game against the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

Jon Scheyer

Jon Scheyer is the associate head coach of the men’s basketball team and will be Coach K’s successor. Scheyer was a Blue Devil point guard from 2007-10 and returned to Duke in 2013, rapidly rising from special assistant to his current title by 2018.  

Gary Bennett 

Gary Bennett is vice provost for undergraduate education and a professor in the department of psychology and neuroscience. He’s been involved in important decisions during the pandemic, including those about grading policies and Duke’s pandemic response.

Mary Pat McMahon

Mary Pat McMahon is vice provost and vice president of student affairs. Alongside Bennett, McMahon has been a key player in crucial conversations during the pandemic, including those about housing, COVID-19 restrictions and mental health

John Blackshear

John Blackshear is the dean of students and associate vice president of student affairs. In the past, he has served as senior associate dean for academic planning, clinical director of the Academic Resource Center, student ombudsman and a psychologist for Counseling and Psychological Services. He may be most beloved, however, for his role as the faculty-in-residence in Trinity Dorm on East Campus. 

Valerie Ashby

Valerie Ashby is dean of Trinity College of Arts and Sciences, a title she has held since 2015. In recent years, Ashby has championed a reform of Trinity’s introductory undergraduate curriculum. 

Jeff Glass

Jeff Glass is the interim Vinik Dean of the Pratt School of Engineering, taking over after former dean Ravi Bellamkonda left for Emory University in June. Glass is a professor of electrical and computer engineering and was previously Pratt’s senior associate dean for education and learning innovation. 

Christina Wang 

Senior Christina Wang serves as this year’s president of Duke Student Government and hopes to make Duke more equitable, accessible and student-centered.

During her time on DSG, Wang worked to increase the financial aid offered to pre-orientation participants, pioneered the S/U grading policy during the pandemic and helped establish the Blue Devil Buddies mentorship program. 

Ysanne Spence

Senior Ysanne Spence serves as this year’s president of Duke University Union and aims to strengthen DUU’s connection with the Duke student body and build its internal community.

DUU, Duke’s largest student-run arts, media and programming body, hosts events on campus for students, including LDOC and Heatwave. 

Duke Mutual Aid

Founded in spring 2020 by Duke students, Duke Mutual Aid provides emergency assistance funds to any student, campus worker or Durham resident in need. In addition to filling over 400 aid requests and raising over $65,000, DMA has taken on a partnership with Durham Congregations in Actions and looks to continue partnering with the Durham community to further the goal of mutual aid in BIPOC and LGBTQ+ communities. 

Nugget & Keith Upchurch

A golden retriever who makes appearances all over Duke’s campuses, Nugget provides stressed students with a respite from their hectic schedules. Never far from her owner, Keith Upchurch, Trinity ‘72, the two have been iconic figures on campus since 2012. Many Duke students who come to see Nugget have also become close with Upchurch. 

Even amid the pandemic, the two have maintained their routine and can be found in their regular spots like the benches outside Marketplace or the Brodhead Center. 

Peaches and Mamabean

Peaches, a calico cat with her own Facebook and Instagram group of fans, lives in a heated home near Keohane Quad on West Campus. Mamabean, another calico cat—may appear to be Peaches, but don’t be deceived.

Milla Surjadi profile
Milla Surjadi | Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator

Milla Surjadi is a Trinity junior and a diversity, equity and inclusion coordinator of The Chronicle's 119th volume. She was previously editor-in-chief for Volume 118.


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