Dear Colleagues and Friends,

Each fall, our academic community celebrates Founders Day, marking the generosity of the Duke family in supporting Trinity College’s transformation into Duke University. This year, things will look a bit different since we cannot mark this day together, in person. We will have to forgo our usual events, and we have decided to take a one-year pause from awarding the University Medal, Duke’s highest honor. We look forward to resuming both of these traditions in future years.

This Founders Day offers us the opportunity to not only celebrate the extraordinary contribution of the Duke family, which has laid the foundation for everything that has come since. We will also seek to recognize those members of the university community whose contributions have received less recognition, or have come perhaps against greater odds.

Over the coming week, we will be highlighting the story of one of these university founders each day in the Duke Daily. I also encourage you to follow along at I hope that this will provide us a meaningful opportunity to celebrate the leadership of those who came before us and to renew our commitment to the work of building a better Duke.