The Centennial celebration has begun.
Echoing the date of Duke University’s founding in 1924, Duke launched more than a year of events on January 9 – 1.9.24.
The celebration of this centennial brings about a historic opportunity to recognize Duke’s extraordinary past, highlight the impact of the present and look toward the potential of Duke’s future.
“Our Centennial is a gift to us: our chance to pause and contemplate our past, to appreciate the present, and to plan for our future.”
– President Vincent E. Price
A Celebration Distinctly Duke
The stage came alive with more than 100 student performers from multicultural campus groups including On Tap, Nakisai, Dhamaka, Street Med, Duke Chinese Dance and Devils en Pointe. The focus shifted between each group’s individual performances before they all returned to the stage in a joyous union of singing, dancing and clapping.
“We’re happy to do this so that we can show our culture.”
– Naomi Patel, ’24
One Hundred Years of History
One of Duke’s most famous alumni, actor Ken Jeong, joked that when he got the invitation, he thought it was the “Ken-tennial” celebration, but used his time on stage to connect the audience to Duke’s story.
“Duke is us, the people; those of us here now; everyone who will help take Duke into the future; and those who laid the foundation of who we are today.”
– Ken Jeong ’90
The Impact of Duke, Today
The story of Duke is one of its people. Duke alumna and trustee Lisa Borders shared five stories of students, faculty, staff and alumni who have done amazing things that are only possible at Duke.
“If you’re at Duke, … you will make an impact. You just
have to decide when, where and how.”
– Lisa Borders ’79, Duke University Trustee
Duke Student Government President Isaiah Hamilton and Graduate and Professional Student Government President Keanu Valibia described Duke as a place to grow, explore and make an impact on the world around them.
Duke pediatric cardiac surgeon Joseph Turek performed the first combination heart transplant-thymus procedure surgery using a method pioneered decades earlier at Duke by physician-scientist Mary Louise Markert.
Recipient Easton Sinnamon and his family joined the celebration, a thriving example of the immediate and local difference Duke’s people are making.
The Duke of Tomorrow
The Centennial celebration then looked to the future as Duke President Vincent E. Price and Hall of Fame basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski spoke of where Duke is going.
“Today, more than ever before, Duke University is in position to lead in the 21st century. The question is ‘how will we lead? How will we seize the opportunity?‘ … That’s the responsibility we share.”
– President Vincent E. Price
“No one knew that we were gonna be as good as we are. The thing is, they have no clue about how much better we’re gonna be.”
– Coach K
Let’s Go Duke
Ken Jeong joined Coach K to bring the crowd to its feet chanting “Let’s Go Duke” and as has become tradition for celebrations in Cameron, dancing to “Every Time We Touch”.
Experience the Event
Watch the live stream. The full video of the Centennial Celebration Kickoff event is available below.
A Winter Chill
As the Centennial Celebration Kickoff program came to a close, the party moved next door to the Winter Chill, an event celebrating the return to campus following winter break with some special centennial flair.
A Campus Transformation
The preparation for the Centennial started years earlier, but started coming into view during the quiet days of December 2023.