Richard Brodhead Returns to Duke with a “Whitman Sampler”


WHEN: Thursday, April 25, 4:00 – 6:00 p.m.
(Reception at 4:00, with program starting at 4:30 p.m.)

WHERE: Korman Assembly Room (Perkins Library Room 217), Perkins Library 2nd Floor, Duke West Campus (Click for map)


Walt Whitman, who was born 200 years ago this spring, once wrote:

Shut not your doors to me, proud libraries,
For that which was lacking among you all, yet needed most, I bring.

He was probably not talking about chocolate. But that won’t stop this proud library from bringing some to his birthday party!

Join us on April 25 as we celebrate Whitman’s bicentennial, with readings and remarks by Richard H. Brodhead, Duke’s ninth president, on why he loves the “Good Gray Poet” and you should, too. If you’ve ever wanted to know more about America’s most famous bard, now is your chance to take a short course (with no grades or quizzes!) from one of the foremost experts on the subject.

Guests will also be invited to view original Whitman manuscripts and materials from the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, which holds one of the largest and most important Whitman collections in the world, right here at Duke.

Free and open to the public. And yes, there will be chocolate.


About Richard H. Brodhead

Richard H. Brodhead served as President of Duke University from 2004 to 2017. As President, he advanced an integrative, engaged model of undergraduate education and strengthened Duke’s commitment to access and opportunity, raising nearly $1 billion for financial aid endowment.  Under his leadership, Duke established many of its best-known international programs, including the Duke Global Health Institute, DukeEngage, and Duke Kunshan University. Closer to home, Duke completed major renovations to its historic campus and played a crucial role in the revitalization of downtown Durham.

Brodhead received his B.A. and Ph.D. from Yale University, where he had a 32-year career as a faculty member before coming to Duke, including eleven years as Dean of Yale College. A scholar of American literature and culture, he has written and edited more than a dozen books, including on Hawthorne, Melville, and Whitman.  He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2004, and he was named the Co-Chair of its Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences and co-authored its 2013 report, “The Heart of the Matter.” He has been a trustee of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation since 2013.

Brodhead’s writings about higher education have been collected in two books, The Good of this Place (2004) and Speaking of Duke (2017). For his national role in higher education, Brodhead was given the Academic Leadership Award by the Carnegie Corporation of New York. He is currently the William Preston Few Professor of English at Duke.

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