Category Archives: Spring 2024

Endnote: Our Duke, Your Duke

Multicolored index cards pinned to a corkboard with handwritten messages on them.

One of the more fascinating finds in our special Duke Centennial exhibit, Our Duke: Constructing a Century, isn’t in a display case. It’s a wall of index cards telling us what the exhibit leaves out.

“What’s a Duke moment or memory you would like to share that you didn’t see?” reads the sign, inviting visitors to write in their own historical milestones. Some are facetious. Some are sweet. Many are sports-related, as you could probably guess.

It’s a reminder that there’s the story of Duke we all know. The one-room schoolhouse that grew into a Gothic Wonderland, home to world-renowned researchers and Cameron Crazies. Then there are all the individual stories of everyone who’s ever been a student here. Each one had their own Duke experience, which was just a chapter in their larger life story.

Want to share your own Duke moment with us? Even if you can’t come to campus, visit the exhibit website and fill out the “Your Duke” form online. Responses may be preserved in the University Archives—for our bicentennial exhibit down the line.

And the Envelope, Please

The Academy has the Oscars. Cannes has the Palme d’Or. Here in the Duke University Libraries, we have the DULies!

Every spring, we roll out the industrial gray carpet and gather for our annual staff awards ceremony, recognizing extraordinary job performance that far exceeds individual goals or expectations. Pictured here are this year’s distinguished awardees.

Congratulations to them all!

Man in suit and wearing glasses standing next to woman in striped shirt and wearing glasses.

Xiaoyan Song, Electronic Resources Acquisitions and Licensing Librarian, is this year’s winner of the Great Idea Award, presented to a staff member whose idea or suggestion led to a creative solution, innovation, or improvement that allowed the Libraries to function better or enhanced service for our patrons.

Man in suit and wearing glasses standing next to woman wearing glasses.Hannah Rozear, Librarian for Biological Sciences and Global Health, won the Mentoring Award, awarded to a staff member who excels at mentoring others in achieving career objectives through moral, social, and intellectual support.

Man in suit and wearing glasses standing next to woman in dark shirt holding up certificate.Giao Luong Baker, Digital Production Services Manager, winner of the Sara Seten Berghausen Equity and Inclusion Award, recognizing a staff member who models or helps to create a welcoming and inclusive environment in the workplace.

Man in suit and wearing glasses standing next to man in red sweatshirt wearing yellow hat.Daniel Walker, Building Manager, was presented with the Florence Blakely Collaboration Award, acknowledging excellence in working with others and across departments or teams.

BONUS: Daniel Walker, winner of the Florence Blakeley Collaboration Award, was recently featured in a Working@Duke video about his job as the Libraries’ Building Manager. Watch the video below.


Around the Libraries

Skeletal figure holding guitar underneath the words "Studies in the Grateful Dead"Two Events Launch New Book Series on the Grateful Dead

To celebrate the launch of a new book series from Duke University Press, Studies in the Grateful Dead, the Libraries hosted two author talks this semester exploring the iconic rock band’s lasting impact on American culture and the “long strange trip” their music is still taking today.

Edited by Nicholas G. Merriweather, Executive Director of the Grateful Dead Studies Association and former Grateful Dead Archivist at the University of California–Santa Cruz, the new book series explores the musical and cultural significance, impact, and achievement of the Grateful Dead while reinventing the academic and popular discourse devoted to the band.

In February, author Michael Kaler (University of Toronto Mississauga) visited campus to discuss his book Get Shown the Light: Improvisation and Transcendence in the Music of the Grateful Dead. A second author talk in April featured independent scholar John Brackett discussing Live Dead: The Grateful Dead, Live Recordings, and the Ideology of Liveness.

Duke has several notable connections with the Grateful Dead, who performed at the university five times over the years. The jam band’s 1978 concert at Cameron Indoor Stadium is widely regarded as one of their best shows of the decade, according to Eric Mlyn of Duke’s Sanford School of Public Policy, who also teaches a popular first-year seminar about the Dead.

Highlighting Black Lives in the Archives

Woman examining rare book in the libraryEvery April, the John Hope Franklin Research Center in the Rubenstein Library hosts an open house inviting the public to get a hands-on feel for Black history. From rare first-edition books, to published works exploring Black history in Durham, to publications by Black students at Duke, visitors are encouraged to browse, touch, and explore the richness of Black culture preserved in the archives.

Highlights from this year’s Black Lives in Archives Open House included an 1853 first edition of the Narrative of Sojourner Truth, rare pamphlets by journalist and activist Ida B. Wells, and early twentieth-century photographs by Michael Francis Blake, one of the first Black studio photographers in Charleston, South Carolina.

“The difference between an archive and a museum is that we want you to touch our things,” said John Gartrell, who directs the Franklin Center and organizes the annual event. “Here, we encourage you to hold them and get to know what’s within.”

Photojournalist Wins Rubenstein Library Digital Storytelling Award

Photojournalist and documentarian Roderico “Rode” Yool Díaz is the winner of this year’s Digital Storytelling Award presented by the Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Duke University.

Yool Díaz received the award for his digital project documenting the 2012-2015 genocide trials against former Guatemalan dictator Efraín Ríos Montt. The project includes photos, video, and audio recordings of the trial proceedings, the reading of the verdict, and Ríos-Montt and his legal team reacting to the verdict.

Former Guatemalan dictator Efraín Ríos Montt pictured at his trial for genocide.
Former Guatemalan dictator Efraín Ríos Montt in 2013 on trial for genocide.

“Trials are such an important and integral element of the human rights movement going back to Nuremberg,” said Patrick Stawski, Human Rights Archivist at the Rubenstein Library. “The Human Rights Archive has extensive documentation on trials from around the world, but Rode’s project reminds us that trials are not just procedural. His images capture an insurgent, emotional, historical event, one that is simultaneously public yet intimate and affectively human through and through.”

The Rubenstein Library Digital Storytelling Award is co-sponsored by the Human Rights Archive and the Archive of Documentary Arts at the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library. The award seeks to support outstanding documentary artists/activists exploring human rights and social justice, while expanding the digital documentary holdings in the archive and ensuring long-term preservation and access to their work. Winners receive $2,500 and are invited to present their work at Duke.

Civil Rights History Lessons with Duke in D.C.

Civic engagement and grassroots movements have fundamentally shaped our nation’s history. That was the theme of a sold-out Duke alumni event hosted by the Libraries this April at the Cosmos Club in Washington, D.C. The event highlighted the work of the Movement History Initiative (MHI), a collaboration between the SNCC Legacy Project and Duke University that brings together activists, academics, and archivists based in the Rubenstein Library’s John Hope Franklin Research Center.

Crowd of people in chairs in an elegant ballroom listening to a speaker at a podium in front.
Attendees hear about the Movement History Initiative at a sold-out Duke alumni event at the Cosmos Club in Washington, DC, April 2024. (Photo by Megan Crain)

The MHI partnership was formed in 2013 to present a different narrative of the Civil Rights Movement, one that tells that story from the ground up and the inside out. The goals are threefold: to document and preserve the legacy of Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) as part of the Black freedom struggle of the 1960s; to pass on the informational wealth of veteran civil rights activists to the next generation of grassroots organizations; and to engage today’s activists in the preservation of their own history.

Among the distinguished speakers at the Cosmos Club were several Duke alumni, including trustee Lisa Borders T’79, historians Wesley Hogan G’95 ’00 and Hasan Kwame Jeffries G’97 ‘02, David M. Rubenstein T’70, as well as SNCC veterans Jennifer Lawson, Courtland Cox, and others. The conversation offered insights about SNCC’s history and accomplishments, and about how ordinary people can take action to make their own lives and communities more just today.

Fun fact: Duke’s own Dr. John Hope Franklin, for whom the Franklin Research Center was named, was the first African American to be elected a member of the prestigious Cosmos Club, in 1962.

Exploring the Crystal Coast at Duke’s Marine Lab

A group of people stand around a sign for the Duke Marine Lab in Beaufort, NC.

Spring break is a popular beach week for Duke undergraduates. But not all beaches are the same. Jodi Psoter, Librarian for Marine Science and Head of the Pearse Memorial Library (kneeling, center), led a team of Duke undergrads and graduate students on a “Spring Breakthrough” that week, learning about the history, science, and people of Beaufort, North Carolina, and its surrounding communities. Spring Breakthrough is a unique Duke experience offering undergraduates the chance to explore new ideas and interests in a fun and grade-free way, led by members of the Duke community. While on their adventures, the students had several up-close animal encounters: dolphins, wild horses, crabs, sea turtles, jellyfish, sting ray, and even a pet squirrel.

50 Years of Libraries Assembly

Libraries Assembly logo, showing an abstract open book with multicolored pages.As Duke celebrates its centennial in 2024, we’ve been looking back at our own library milestones through the years.

This year we’re proud to observe a half-century of Libraries Assembly, the organization for all full- and part-time staff across Duke’s campus libraries. Libraries Assembly offers connections and partnerships with co-workers, information about Duke and its libraries for new employees, advocacy for staff in library and university affairs, and professional development opportunities such as speakers, panels, and workshops.

The organization looks a little different than it did fifty years ago, but so does our staff. To mark the occasion, Libraries Assembly hosted a panel of current and retired library staff reflecting on the history and contributions of the group, along with an exhibit at the entrance of Perkins Library. Today, Libraries Assembly’s committees and members-at-large continue to advocate for and promote the work of all the staff who keep Duke’s libraries running, year in and year out.

We Don’t Like to Eat Our Own Words…

… unless they’re cake. In February, library staff celebrated our new strategic plan with different flavored cakes for each of the plan’s main pillars. It was a good way to “internalize” our new priorities.

See the feature on our new strategic plan in this issue.

Capstone Gift Kicks Off Lilly’s Transformation

Rendering of expanded and renovated Lilly Library, showing NW corner with new loading dock area and windows.
Rendering of the renovated and expanded Lilly Library as approached from the northwest, showing the new loading dock and back terrace.

University Receives New $5 Million Grant for Renovation and Expansion

By Aaron Welborn

Duke University has received $5 million from Lilly Endowment Inc. for the renovation and expansion of Lilly Library on the university’s East Campus, capping off years of planning and fundraising to bring the university’s first library into the twenty-first century.

The grant from the Indianapolis-based private foundation is its second gift, following a lead gift of $5 million in 2018, and comes just as the renovation project is scheduled to begin. Lilly Library closed to the public after final exams on May 4, and construction is expected to last two years.

When complete, Lilly will reflect a blend of original historic charm and modern features—with a footprint that will be nearly 75 percent larger. Highlights include expanded study spaces, more technology-equipped project rooms, a writing studio, a 75-seat assembly space for public programs, a film screening room, and a café. In addition, the renovation will address urgent facility needs, including improved accessibility and environmental controls.

“We are grateful for Lilly Endowment’s continued generosity in support of this project,” said Duke President Vincent E. Price. “This gift will help enhance the Duke experience for our undergraduate students, strengthen services for faculty and graduate students, and enliven East Campus for generations to come.”

Rendering of renovated library space, showing atrium and user seating area.
Rendering of the main entrance atrium, with a new second-story balcony connecting the building’s two wings.

Situated at the heart of the university’s East Campus designed by Julian Abele and the Horace Trumbauer architectural firm, Lilly Library is Duke’s first library. When James B. Duke’s 1924 Indenture of Trust transformed Trinity College into Duke University, the original Trinity College library was torn down and replaced by the red brick and marble building now known as Lilly. The new library opened to students in 1927, before West Campus construction was completed.

Lilly Library is named for philanthropist Ruth Lilly, a great-grandchild of pharmaceutical magnate Col. Eli Lilly, whose son and grandsons established Lilly Endowment as a charitable foundation in 1937.

In 1991, Ruth Lilly made a gift to “renovate and computerize” the library where her two nieces spent time as they attended the Woman’s College at Duke. That gift renamed the building and provided its only significant update since it was built almost a century ago.

Rendering of the Booklover's Room, showing people browsing books and reading.
Rendering of the Booklover’s Room on the first floor, a relaxed and warmly furnished space for casual reading.

Since then, Lilly has served as the primary library for first-year Duke undergraduate students, as well as students and faculty in academic departments based on East Campus. It is also home to Duke’s extensive art, art history, philosophy, and film collections.

Although integral to East Campus, the building lacks most of the features of a modern-day research library. The aging building was designed to serve an early twentieth-century population of 650 students. Today, approximately 1,700 first-year students live and study on East Campus, and the library plays a key role in orienting them to college-level study and research.

“This is a truly remarkable gift,” said Joseph A. Salem Jr., the Rita DiGiallonardo Holloway University Librarian and Vice Provost for Library Affairs at Duke. “The role that Lilly Library plays in the lives of our students is especially important, and this transformation will have a profound, long-term impact. We are so grateful for Lilly Endowment’s generosity, which will enable us to create the kind of library East Campus deserves, designed with the students and scholars of today in mind.”

Members of the extended Lilly family have a long association with Duke. In 2018, Lilly Endowment’s first $5 million gift toward the renovation project was matched by a combined $5 million from William and Irene Lilly McCutchen, the Ruth Lilly Philanthropic Foundation, and Peter and Virginia Lilly Nicholas. Today, a new generation of Lilly family members include recent Duke graduates and current students, and current Duke parent Rebecca Lilly serves on the university’s Library Advisory Board.

Rendering of Lilly Library cafe, showing people talking, sitting, and passing through.
Rendering of the new cafe-like commons, a place for students and faculty to meet over coffee. The added entrance on the southwest side of the building will open onto this space.

“It is inspiring to witness the generosity of both Lilly Endowment and the multiple generations of Lilly family members. Their impact on Duke is exponential,” said Dave Kennedy, Vice President of Alumni Engagement and Development. “I am thrilled to see how our beloved and soon-to-be renovated first library will transform the Duke community—all thanks to such committed donor support.”

Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based private foundation created in 1937 by J. K. Lilly and his sons, Eli and J.K. Jr., through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company. While those gifts remain the financial bedrock of the Endowment, the Endowment is a separate entity from the company, with a distinct governing board, staff and location. In keeping with its founders’ wishes, the Endowment supports the causes of community development, education and religion. The Endowment funds programs throughout the United States, especially in the field of religion, and maintains a special commitment to its founders’ hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana.

Visit the Lilly Project website to see more renderings, FAQs, and follow our progress:

For Retiring Teacher George Grody, Giving Back Is On Brand

Man in Duke shirt wearing glasses in front of signpost art at home.
George Grody at home (Photo by Les Todd).

By Michele Lynn

When George Grody T’81 returned to Duke in 2008 as a teacher in Markets and Management Studies, he planned to stay for just two years. But passion for his students kept him teaching, sharing lessons gained from his nearly thirty-year career as a global marketing and sales executive at Proctor & Gamble, until his retirement this spring.

As a Duke teacher, Perkins Library has become Grody’s campus home. It’s where he teaches—in a classroom in the Link that he named with a gift to the Libraries—and where he meets daily with students, working as their advocate and as an ambassador for the university.

“I’ve had my best times at Duke in the library,” says Grody. “When you think of a library, you may think of a quiet, somber place, but I don’t. I’m there to have fun.” Grody finds fun in teaching, meeting with students—whether they are asking about classwork or for career advice—and staying in touch with alumni, some of whom graduated years ago.

He has also found joy in the library theme parties he helped organize over the years. Pre-pandemic, the parties were a popular Duke tradition, inspired by library collections. As the faculty advisor for Duke’s Marketing Club, Grody helped plan four of them, beginning with “Mad Men and Mad Women” (2011), based on the popular show set in the 1960s world of advertising. For that event, students decorated the library with larger-than-life vintage ads from the Rubenstein Library. The event was a smash, inspiring future library soirees around similarly fun themes, including comic books (2012), French cabaret (2014), and murder mysteries (2017).

Man sitting in white leather banquette while watching party at library.
George Grody at the “Mad Med and Mad Women” library theme party he helped organize as faculty advisor to the Duke Marketing Club, 2011.

Grody often sits outside the library’s entrance, appreciating the beauty of the quad and the energy of the campus community around him. “For me, the library is the intellectual heart of campus,” says Grody. The library is also where Grody’s literal heart failed him. “I had a cardiac arrest and died in my classroom,” he remembers. “God was looking out for me; I looked at the statistics afterwards, and there’s no way I should have survived.”

Thankfully, three Duke EMS students were studying nearby and sprang into action. With chest compressions, oxygen, and shocks from an automated external defibrillator (AED), the students saved Grody’s life.

The students in the Marketing Club later told Grody they felt helpless because they didn’t know CPR. In response, he brought together club members and Duke EMS to launch CPR training events, which have so far reached about 5,000 individuals across campus. Grody, working through the American Heart Association, also funded AEDs in public places throughout Durham.

Man in green shirt standing with three students in Duke EMT uniforms.
Grody with three of the Duke EMS student volunteers who helped save his life in Perkins Library in 2015. From left to right are Kirsten Bonawitz, Ritika Patil, and Kevin Labagnara.

Grody’s commitment to service reflects the personal brand which has shaped his life: “I’m obsessed with adding value to every person and organization I touch, both in the classroom and in the greater community.” Grody has added value to Duke not just by teaching and mentoring, but also through philanthropy. In addition to supporting Duke Athletics and Duke Children’s Hospital, Grody is a longtime donor to the Libraries.

In 2017 the Libraries launched the Grody Challenge, which encourages graduating Duke seniors to support the Libraries by having Grody match any gift seniors and recent grads make to our Annual Fund. Grody has also established a planned gift for the Libraries, which will support many future generations of Blue Devils. “One of the values in my brand is ‘leaving a legacy,’ and this is a way for me to do that,” he says. “I want to give back to the library, which is home to me, to add value and make things better for everybody who comes after me.”