Remember Yesteryear: When Duke University relocated to Durham, North Carolina

January 17, 2016


When Duke University relocated to Durham, North Carolina

We are sharing these newspaper articles looking back on when Duke University (once known as Trinity College) moved to Durham, North Carolina.

A schoolhouse in Randolph County, North Carolina opened in 1838 and launched an educational institution that grew to become today’s Duke University, one of the top research universities in the world.

Trinity College Relocation 1891 -01Trinity College Relocation 1891 -02

Duke University - 1892

Trinity College 1896
Video: Duke University


In 1838, Brantley York becomes principal of Brown’s Schoolhouse, a private subscription school in Randolph County.

Brown’s Schoolhouse is formally organized by the Union Institute Society, a group of Methodists and Quakers under the leadership of Reverend York.
Duke University - Randolph County

January 12, 1841
North Carolina charters the Union Institute Academy.

January 28, 1851
The Union Institute becomes Normal College.

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.

June 1, 1853
Normal College awards its first B.A. degrees.

February 18, 1859
Normal College becomes Trinity College.
The institution’s name is changed to Trinity College upon affiliation with the Methodist Church.

April 1, 1865 — January 1, 1866
Trinity closes due to war.
For the only time in its history, the Board of Trustees votes to suspend all activities. They took this extraordinary action due to the Civil War and resulting decreasing enrollment.

A new charter demands that one-third of the Board of Trustees be alumni.

Duke University - Randolph County

January 21, 1891
The state re-charters Trinity in order to allow its relocation to Durham.
By this time, there was a major effort to move the college to a larger city in North Carolina in the interest of attracting more students and faculty.

Trinity College moves to Durham.
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.

Washington Duke donates $100,000 to Trinity’s endowment.
He supplements this initial donation by the same amount in 1899 and 1900. As a condition of giving, Duke asked that women be admitted and treated equally at Trinity. A women-only dormitory was promptly built.

June 1, 1896
Trinity’s first Native American graduate receives his degree.
The graduate, Joseph S. Maytubby, was originally from Indian Territory (now Oklahoma).

February 28, 1903
Trinity receives a new charter and bylaws.
Much of the charter and bylaws still remain intact. When Duke University was created in 1924, the only change that was made was to replace “Trinity College” with “Duke University.” The first article in the 1903 bylaws, “The Aims of Trinity [later Duke] University,” is reproduced on the plaque in the middle of the main quad on West.

December 11, 1924
Trinity college becomes Duke University.
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 name of the new university’s undergraduate college for men.

October 25, 1925
James B. Duke dies.
James B. Duke, the founder of the Duke Endowment, died on October 25, 1925. His establishment of the Duke Endowment transformed Trinity College into Duke University, a world-class university in Durham.

1927 — 1930
Construction on West Campus gets underway.
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.

Duke awards its first Ph.D. degrees

The Woman’s College opens on East Campus.

October 22, 1930
The Duke Chapel cornerstone is set.

Richard Nixon graduates.
Perhaps Duke’s most famous alumnus, President Richard Nixon received his juris doctorate.

November 1, 1938
Duke admitted to the Association of American Universities.
Its admission into this prestigious organization of research universities helped to cement Duke’s place among the top tier of America’s research universities.

January 1, 1942
The Rose Bowl is moved to Duke Stadium, the only time it has been played outside of Pasadena.
Due to wartime fears, the Rose Bowl game is at first canceled, but then is rescheduled and played in Duke Stadium on New Year’s Day. Durham is the only city other than Pasadena to have hosted the Rose Bowl.

March 8, 1961
Duke desegregates.
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.

September 1, 1963
The first five African-American undergraduates enroll.
Wilhelmina Reuben-Cooke, Mary Mitchell Harris, Cassandra Smith Rush, Gene Kendall and Nathaniel White Jr. formally desegregated Duke’s undergraduate classes.

The Woman’s College and Trinity College merge.
The merger of the Woman’s College and Trinity College forms the Duke University – Trinity College of Arts and Sciences.

Freshmen move to East Campus.
This was the first major residential change to go into effect in 20 years. Living groups in the 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.

April 6, 2015
Duke Men’s Basketball team wins National Championship.
The team has 5 championship wins: 1991, 1992, 2001, 2010, and 2015.

Source: Duke University

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