Duke University was created in 1924 when James B. Duke, through his Indenture of Trust, designated a gift that transformed Trinity College into a comprehensive research university. In 2024, Duke University will celebrate its centennial—an opportunity to celebrate our remarkable success and reflect on the challenges of our history, articulate the mission of our present, and turn with purpose toward an even more extraordinary future.

In the fall of 2020, President Price organized a task force of trustees, administrators, students, and faculty to provide strategic insight for the initial planning phases of the commemoration. The task force released a report in May of 2021, outlining the strategic recommendations below.

In July 2022, after a national search, Jill Boy was appointed Executive Director for the Centennial Celebration. At President Price’s direction, she has begun the process of organizing a steering committee and work groups to advance planning for the celebration.

This website will be updated regularly with more information.

Centennial Task Force Recommendations

  • The Centennial is an enormous opportunity for Duke to articulate its remarkable trajectory—unparalleled in the history of higher education in America. A joyful celebration will deepen understanding of Duke’s history, inspire pride in Duke’s astonishing first century, and lift up Duke’s unique identity and characteristics.
  • At the same time, the celebration should be balanced with a forthright acknowledgment of challenges in Duke’s history and periods of discrimination and exclusion. This is an opportunity for candid reflection and meaningful reckoning.
  • The focus should be on the people who have built the Duke community—including the famous as well as previously overlooked or under-examined legacies.
  • There should be an effort to communicate Duke’s impact, discoveries, and leadership across the university—in research, teaching, clinical care, the arts, athletics, innovation, service, global connections, and more.
  • Events should project and reflect Duke’s academic excellence and institutional aspirations to serve society and address local and global challenges.
  • The approach to the Centennial must be creative and incorporate multimedia technology.
  • The Centennial should acknowledge Duke University’s deep historic connection to The Duke Endowment and its enduring and transformational support of the university’s strategic priorities.
  • Duke and Durham: Duke’s history is intertwined with Durham’s. We should emphasize that the people of Durham built Duke, highlight Duke’s investments in downtown Durham and imagine how Duke will engage in the Durham of the future.
  • The Centennial should extend a compelling avenue for alumni, parents, and friends to engage more deeply with Duke.
  • To create momentum for Duke’s next campaign, Duke will use its centennial as a pivotal moment to celebrate the accomplishments in its first century and paint a bold and inspiring vision for Duke’s impact on the world in its second century.