Thanks to a generous gift from Stuart W’64 and Bill L’64 Buice, the Duke Libraries have established the Robert F. Durden Prize to recognize excellent undergraduate research projects that have required the use of resources from the Libraries’ general collections. Stuart Buice chose to name the prize for Durden, whose classes she took as an undergraduate, as a tribute to him and his work. Durden, professor emeritus of history, is the author of a dozen books, including The Dukes of Durham, The Launching of Duke University, 1924-1927, and Legacy to the Carolinas: The Duke Endowment, 1924-1994.
The Durden Prize will be awarded annually in three categories: one for first- and second-year students, one for third- and fourth-year students, and one for fourth-year students submitting honors theses. The prize gives visibility to the Libraries’ commitment to supporting undergraduate research and enhancing undergraduates’ information literacy skills as well as increasing awareness of the Libraries’ services and collections. Awarding the Durden Prize is also in line with University initiatives to increase undergraduate research, especially by fourth-year students.
Students competing for the prize will submit a paper or digital project along with a faculty letter of support and an essay of 500-750 words in which they describe their research strategies and use of library tools and resources. Papers and projects will be judged by a committee of two faculty members and three librarians who will assess the students’ effective use of library resources and research procedures.
The Durden Prize complements the Middlesworth Award, which the Special Collections Library has presented for more than fifteen years. The Middlesworth Award encourages and recognizes students for their use of primary and rare materials held by the Special Collections Library. The award is funded by Chester P. Middlesworth T’49 of Statesville, NC. Winners of the Durden Prize and the Middlesworth Award will be honored at a Parents’ and Family Weekend reception where they will also receive their checks for $1,000.