1838: Brantley York (1805-1891) becomes principal of Brown's Schoolhouse, a private subscription school in Randolph County.
1839: Brown's Schoolhouse is formally organized by the Union Institute Society, a group of Methodists and Quakers under the leadership of Reverend York. Constitution of the Union Institute Society
1841: The State of North Carolina issues a charter for Union Institute Academy.
1842: Braxton Craven (1822-1882) becomes the head of the institution.
1851: The school is re-chartered by the Legislature of North Carolina as Normal College, and its graduates are licensed to teach in the public schools of the state. The following year, the state authorizes Normal College to grant degrees, and the first are awarded in 1853.
1858: The Alumni Association is organized with 41 alumni of record.
1859: The institution's name is changed to Trinity College upon affiliation with the Methodist Church. The motto "Eruditio et Religio," meaning "Knowledge and Religion," is adopted.
1871: Chi Phi is organized with assistance of the Alumni Association as the first student social organization. Alpha Tau Omega follows in 1872 and Kappa Sigma in 1873.
1878: Mary, Persis, and Theresa Giles become the first women to receive degrees.
1881: Yao-ju ("Charlie") Soong from Weichau, China enrolls, becoming the school's first international student.
1887: John Franklin Crowell (1857-1931), economist and football fan, is elected president. The Trinity Archive, now the oldest collegiate literary magazine in the South, is first issued in November of this year.
1888: Thanksgiving Day. Trinity defeats the University of North Carolina 16 to 0 in one of the first modern football games played in the South.
1889: A college cheer, beginning "Rah! Rah! Rah! For the deep dark blue!" is printed in April's Trinity Archive. This is the earliest evidence of the adoption of a school color. Oral tradition suggests that the color chosen was Yale Blue in honor of President Crowell, a Yale graduate. However, Yale did not adopt blue as its official color until 1894.
1891: A new charter for Trinity College is adopted, requiring that one-third of the members of the Board of Trustees be alumni.
1892: Trinity College relocates to Durham after Washington Duke and Julian S. Carr persuade the Board of Trustees to move the college to their progressive "New South" city. Duke contributes $85,000 for buildings and endowment and Carr donates the site, which is now East Campus.
1894: John C. Kilgo (1861-1922) is elected president of Trinity College.
1896: Washington Duke contributes $100,000 for endowment, supplementing it by the same amount in 1899 and 1900. Booker T. Washington, renowned African-American leader, speaks on campus. As noted in his autobiography, Trinity College was the first white institution of higher education in the South to invite him to speak. Joseph S. Maytubby of Indian Territory (now Oklahoma) becomes Trinity's first Native American graduate.
1903: Trinity College and Professor John Spencer Bassett became forever associated with the history of academic freedom as a result of the "Bassett Affair." In a visit to Durham on October 19, 1905, President Theodore Roosevelt praises Trinity's stand for free inquiry in a speech on campus.
1904: After intermittent periods of law instruction in the 19th century, a School of Law is established.
1905: Volume 1, number 1 of the student newspaper, the Chronicle, is issued on December 19.
1910: William Preston Few (1867-1940) is inaugurated president of Trinity.
1912: The Trinity College Alumnae Association is organized. The Chanticleer, a yearbook, is first issued.
1917: Charles R. Bagley, Class of 1914, is selected as the college's first Rhodes Scholar. (Charles R. Bagley's scrapbook on Flickr)
1919: Trinity's Phi Beta Kappa Chapter, the Beta of North Carolina, is chartered. The first installation of new members takes place the following year.
1922: Chronicle editors begin using the nickname "Blue Devils" for the athletic teams. "Les Diables Bleus" was the nom de guerre of a regiment of French alpine troops widely known for their exploits in World War I.
1924: Duke University is founded, named in honor of Washington Duke and his family. On December 11, James B. Duke signs the indenture of trust establishing The Duke Endowment, a family philanthropic foundation that supports education, religion, and health care in the Carolinas. Each fall, Founders' Day commemorates the event. Trinity College would become the new university's undergraduate college for men.
1925-27: Original campus is rebuilt with the addition of eleven red brick Georgian-style buildings. James B. Duke dies on October 25, 1925.
1926: The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Religion (now the Divinity School) are founded.
1927-30: A Gothic campus of native Hillsborough stone is built one mile west of the original campus to house the undergraduate college for men (Trinity College) and the professional schools.
1928: Duke awards its first Ph.D. degrees. The following year, Rose M. Davis becomes the first woman to receive a Duke Ph.D. (She earned her doctorate in chemistry.)
1930: The Woman's College opens on East Campus, and Trinity College and the School of Medicine and Hospital open on West Campus.
1931: The Duke University Alumnae Association organized the first continuing education program. The School of Nursing is founded.
1932: The Chapel is first used for commencement although it would not be completely finished and consecrated until 1935.
1938: The School of Forestry opens.
1939: Sarah P. Duke Gardens is dedicated. The College of Engineering is organized out of the long-standing engineering curriculum.
1941: Robert Lee Flowers (1870-1951) is elected president of Duke.
1942: Duke University and Durham host the only Rose Bowl game not played in Pasadena.
1947: The Duke University Loyalty Fund (annual giving) is established by the Duke Alumni office. Today it is called the Annual Fund, with more than 37,000 participating alumni.
1949: A. Hollis Edens (1901-1968) becomes president of Duke.
1952: Formal faculty participation in university governance begins with the establishment of the University Council, a high-level advisory committee.
1953: The James B. Duke professorships are inaugurated with the announcement of thirteen initial appointments funded by Duke's daughter, Doris.
1954: The newly-completed administration building is named for George G. Allen.
1955: The renovated and renamed Flowers Building (formerly the adminstration building) is dedicated for use by the Student Union, a student-led organization that planned and carried out campus-wide cultural activities.
1957: The term "Duke University Medical Center" is first used to designate the combined facilities for medical and nursing instruction, treatment, and research.
1960: J. Deryl Hart (1894-1980) is elected president of Duke.
1961: The admissions policy is amended to affirm equality of opportunity regardless of race, creed, or national origin. This was accomplished in a two-step process with graduate and professional schools first and the undergraduate colleges following in 1962.
1962: The Academic Council, Duke's faculty legislature, is formed.
1964: On November 13, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gives a speech in Page Auditorium on the progress of the civil rights movement. The event is standing room only, and the overflow crowd hears the speech on loudspeakers placed outside the auditorium.
1963: Douglas M. Knight (1921-2005) is elected president of Duke.
1969: Terry Sanford (1917-1998), former governor of North Carolina, is elected president of Duke. The Art Museum is dedicated on East Campus. The School of Business Administration, the last of the schools requested by James B. Duke, is established. A major library addition opens, permitting the doubling of every library service and creating a five-fold increase in space for the collection. The library is named in honor of William R. Perkins. The A. Hollis Edens Residence Halls and Paul M. Gross Chemical Laboratory are named.
1971: The Institute of Policy Sciences and Public Affairs is established.
1972: The position of Young Trustee is established, enabling a student or recent graduate to serve the University as a member of the Board of Trustees. The merger of the Woman's College and Trinity College forms the Trinity College of Arts and Sciences.
1974: The Mary Duke Biddle Music Building is dedicated.
1980: The Alumni Office organizes first Conference on Career Choices.
1981: Duke Hospital North is dedicated.
1982: Joseph M. and Kathleen Price Bryan University Center is dedicated.
1983: Women's Studies Program established. Mary Lou Williams Center for Black Culture dedicated.
1984: Alum Nancy Hogshead wins one silver and three gold medals in the Olympics. The Nello L. Teer Engineering Library is dedicated. Duke Magazine replaces the Alumni Register.
1985: H. Keith H. Brodie (1939- ) is inaugurated as Duke's president.
1986: The men's soccer team wins Duke's first NCAA championship.
1989: The Schaefer House dorms are dedicated.
1991: The men's basketball team, after advancing to the NCAA Final Four for the eighth time, wins its first national championship.
1992: The men's basketball team wins its second NCAA championship, becoming the first team in 19 years to repeat.
1993: Nannerl O. Keohane (1940- ) is inaugurated as Duke's eighth president and the institution's thirteenth leader.
1994: A three-member team takes first place in the prestigious William Lowell Putman Mathematical Competition, earning recognition as the best collegiate undergraduate math team in the United States and Canada. The Levine Science Research Center, largest building in the university's history, opens for interdisciplinary research, and the Terry Sanford Institute of Public Policy moves into its new building. The first new dorms built in thirty years open on East Campus. Duke Alumni Association membership reaches 99,000.
1995: The first major residential changes in 20 years go into effect. The freshman class is housed on East Campus. Living groups in the new dorms are named Randolph (in honor of Trinity's birthplace, Randolph County) and Blackwell (after Blackwell Park, the old Durham fairground that Julian S. Carr donated as the site for the college's new home. The School of the Environment is renamed the Nicholas School of the Environment in recognition of a $20 million gift by Peter M. Nicholas, Class of 1964. This gift, the largest exclusively for endowment in our history, supports a school with an emphasis on interdisciplinary teaching and research. The School had its origins in the former School of Forestry and the Duke Marine Lab. An addition to the Law School is dedicated. The University receives $10 million for research from the estate of Doris Duke, the only child of founder James B. Duke.
1996: The University begins a major project to upgrade recreational facilities; the Keith and Brenda Brodie Recreational Center is opened on East Campus, and planning begins for a similar center on West. Robert Coleman, Ph.D., '66, wins the Nobel Prize in Physics.
1997: The Nicholas School of the Environment receives $2.1 million in grants from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. Former President Jimmy Carter delivers the commencement address.
1998: A fund-raising effort, the five-year $1.5 billion Campaign for Duke, begins its public phase, having received over $750 million in pledges during the private phase. Former president George Bush delivers the commencement address. Terry Sanford, Duke's president from 1970 to 1985, dies in April.
1999: The University celebrates its 75th anniversary and also that of the Duke Endowment. Founders' Weekend in October sees the dedications of the Wilson Recreation Center on West Campus and a statue of Ben Duke on East. Edmund T. Pratt, Class of 1947, endows the School of Engineering with a $35 million donation. In the Spring, both the men's and women's basketball programs win ACC regular season titles, with the men's team compiles a 16-0 record in conference play. Both teams compete for national titles. The men's soccer team compiles an undefeated record in the ACC.
2000: The Board of Trustees approves a master plan for the development of the campus, and construction of a new dormitory complex to link Edens Quad with the main West Campus residence halls. This is the first step in a long-range plan to renovate the dormitories and improve residential life for our students. The departments of Botany and Zoology merge to form the Department of Biology. The site for the Nasher Museum of Art is selected. Elizabeth Dole (Woman's College, Class of 1958) gives the Commencement Address.
2000-2001: year in review.duke.edu from the Office of Public Affairs
2001-2002: year in review.duke.edu from the Office of Public Affairs
2003: Richard H. Brodhead is selected as President of the University. He takes office on July 1, 2004.
With our thanks to The Office of University Development
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