James B. Duke’s founding Indenture of Duke University directed the members of the University to “provide real leadership in the educational world” by choosing individuals of “outstanding character, ability and vision” to serve as its officers, trustees and faculty; by carefully selecting students of “character, determination and application;” and by pursuing those areas of teaching and scholarship that would “most help to develop our resources, increase our wisdom, and promote human happiness.” To these ends, the mission of Duke University is to provide a superior liberal education to undergraduate students, attending not only to their intellectual growth but also to their development as adults committed to high ethical standards and full participation as leaders in their communities; to prepare future members of the learned professions for lives of skilled and ethical service by providing excellent graduate and professional education; to advance the frontiers of knowledge and contribute boldly to the international community of scholarship; to promote an intellectual environment built on a commitment to free and open inquiry; to help those who suffer, cure disease, and promote health, through sophisticated medical research and thoughtful patient care; to provide wide ranging educational opportunities, on and beyond our campuses, for traditional students, active professionals and life-long learners using the power of information technologies; and to promote a deep appreciation for the range of human difference and potential, a sense of the obligations and rewards of citizenship, and a commitment to learning, freedom and truth. Visit the Duke University visistors' website.
Voted as one of the Best Places to Live in the South by Money magazine, Durham offers newcomers as well as longtime residents a lifestyle where a premium is placed on quality of life. With a rich history and progressive future that combines high technology, medicine and education, Durham has exhibited vibrant economic performance with a low unemployment rate and an outstanding economic performance among all of the North Carolina counties. Now known as the “City of Medicine,” Durham is proud to be home to the world-renowned Research Triangle Park, Duke University and Duke University Medical Center, and the North Carolina Central University. Durham is also rich in the arts and cultural events. Each year, the International Festival, Bimbe, the Blues Festival, and numerous other activities sponsored by the City of Durham draws thousands of residents and visitors to experience our cultural diversity. Visit the Durham Convention and Visitors' Bureau website.
The Gothic Reading Room of Perkins Library serves as a portrait gallery of prominent figures in Duke University's history. Between 1930 and 1932, when the portraits were completed and hung, this space was known as the General Library's “reference room.” In 1966 construction began on an addition to the General Library, which was renamed after William R. Perkins, friend and legal counsel to James B. Duke. In 1969, at the completion of the renovation, reference services were moved and the old reference room became a study area known as the Gothic Reading Room. Located on the second floor, this elegant room is a favorite of students and faculty for work and formal meetings.