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Duke University
Pres Office-General Admin

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C-Level & Executive Directors
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Institutional & Business Affairs, Community & Government Relations
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Full Time
Institution Type
Four-Year Institution
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Job Details


The Executive Director of Duke’s Centennial Celebration will serve as the institutional lead in planning, coordinating and executing Duke’s multi-year Centennial Celebration. The position will be highly visible, working closely with multiple constituencies including faculty, deans, senior administrators, students, alumni, The Duke Endowment, and the local community to commemorate Duke’s Centennial. The Executive Director, Duke’s Centennial Celebration will be a senior member of the Office of Special Events and University Ceremonies/Office of the President staff with primary reporting to the Chief of Staff and secondary (dotted line) reporting to the Vice Presidents for Alumni Engagement and Development and Public Affairs and Government Relations. This is a limited-term position, to be effective for a three year period beginning July 1, 2022 through June 30, 2025.


The Centennial is an enormous opportunity for Duke to articulate its remarkable trajectory - unparalleled in the history of higher education in America. The celebration should:

  • deepen understanding of Duke’s history
  • inspire pride in Duke’s astonishing first century
  • lift up Duke’s unique identity and characteristics
  • acknowledge challenges in Duke’s history and periods of discrimination and exclusion
  • provide 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 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. It should also illustrate Duke’s intertwined history with Durham, emphasizing that the people of Durham built Duke, highlighting Duke’s investments in downtown Durham and imagining 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.

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. The Centennial should have a distinctive visual identity and should use multimedia strategies to connect with and inspire the Duke community.

Work To Be Performed:

  • Centrally drive the planning of initiatives and projects celebrating the Centennial, and coordinate with individual units to ensure alignment. Engage a broad range of constituents and stakeholders across the university in the planning process.
  • Serve as a leading resource for Duke’s Centennial Celebration by providing updates and recommendations on key initiatives/projects to the Executive Leadership Group (or some other group TBD)
  • Conceptualize, implement, direct and manage Centennial planning, working closely with university leadership and other stakeholders in establishing the priorities and goals for highlighting Duke’s history, accomplishments and greatest aspirations.
  • Work with Alumni Engagement and Development and University Communications to develop Centennial branding and communications including website and other media.
  • Interface and coordinate with The Duke Endowment around its parallel centennial commemoration.
  • Foster and maintain productive relationships with university-wide colleagues; conduct regular meetings and information sharing with academic and leadership stakeholders.
  • Oversee the central budget for the Centennial Celebration.


  • A minimum of ten years progressively responsible experience in higher education required; Bachelor’s degree required;
  • Must have historical knowledge of Duke University and champion its mission.
  • Exceptional ability to organize, establish objectives and priorities, and achieve goals within an established timeline.
  • Ability to plan and implement a university-wide programs/events.
  • Effectively convene and engage multiple stakeholders in the planning process and celebration. Experience working with volunteers and volunteer groups.
  • Demonstrated ability to handle multiple, complex activities simultaneously.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills.
  • High level of creativity, collegiality, initiative, and motivation.
  • Team orientation and willingness to set an example as a partner and collaborator.
  • Willingness to travel and work evenings and weekends, on occasion.

The competencies required to perform and excel in this position include:

  • Leadership: Ability to effectively manage and guide group efforts. Inspire teams to succeed. Develop the vision and direction of the team. Generate broad internal and external support for the mission, vision, and goals of the Centennial.
  • Organizational awareness: the ability to understand and learn organizational relationships and dynamics and use them to achieve objectives. Demonstrate organizational savvy by enrolling key opinion leaders to support or sponsor one’s objectives.
  • Integrity and ethics: Act in an honest and trustworthy manner. Behave in an honest, fair, and ethical manner. Demonstrate accountability for actions. Serve as a role model of ethical behavior by conforming to the highest ethical standards and practices. Champion organizational values.

Collaborating with others: the willingness and ability to work with others to achieve shared success. Forge consensus to reach goals. Foster a cooperative team environment. Establish partnerships with other departments and major stakeholders.

Duke is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer committed to providing employment opportunity without regard to an individual's age, color, disability, gender, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status.

Duke aspires to create a community built on collaboration, innovation, creativity, and belonging. Our collective success depends on the robust exchange of ideas—an exchange that is best when the rich diversity of our perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences flourishes. To achieve this exchange, it is essential that all members of the community feel secure and welcome, that the contributions of all individuals are respected, and that all voices are heard. All members of our community have a responsibility to uphold these values.

Essential Physical Job Functions: Certain jobs at Duke University and Duke University Health System may include essentialjob functions that require specific physical and/or mental abilities. Additional information and provision for requests for reasonable accommodation will be provided by each hiring department.


Read our Diversity Profile History

Duke University was created in 1924 by James Buchanan Duke as a memorial to his father, Washington Duke. The Dukes, a Durham family that built a worldwide financial empire in the manufacture of tobacco products and developed electricity production in the Carolinas, long had been interested in Trinity College. Trinity traced its roots to 1838 in nearby Randolph County when local Methodist and Quaker communities opened Union Institute. The school, then named Trinity College, moved to Durham in 1892, where Benjamin Newton Duke served as a primary benefactor and link with the Duke family until his death in 1929. In December 1924, the provisions of indenture by Benjamin’s brother, James B. Duke, created the family philanthropic foundation, The Duke Endowment, which provided for the expansion of Trinity College into Duke University.Duke Campus

As a result of the Duke gift, Trinity underwent both physical and academic expansion. The original Durham campus became known as East Campus when it was rebuilt in stately Georgian architecture. West Campus, Gothic in style and dominated by the soaring 210-foot tower of Duke Chapel, opened in 1930. East Campus served as home of the Woman's College of Duke University until 1972, when the men's and women's undergraduate colleges merged. Both men and women undergraduates now enroll in either the Trinity College of Arts & Sciences or the Pratt School of Engineering. In 1995, East Campus became the home for all first-year students.

Duke maintains a historic affiliation with the United Methodist Church.

Home of the Blue Devils, Duke University has about 13,000 undergraduate and graduate students and a world-class faculty helping to expand the frontiers of knowledge. The university has a strong commitment to applying knowledge in service to society, both near its North Carolina campus and around the world.

Mission Statement

Duke Science"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.Duke Meeting

 “By pursuing these objectives with vision and integrity, Duke University seeks to engage the mind, elevate the spirit, and stimulate the best effort of all who are associated with the University; to contribute in diverse ways to the local community, the state, the nation and the world; and to attain and maintain a place of real leadership in all that we do.”

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