Peeking at Duke

We just peeked in at Duke University on our way out of North Carolina, and not knowing much about the campus at the time, we only visited the university’s West Campus where Duke Chapel dominates the setting.


After our visit, we learned that Duke University spreads its students (6,500 undergrads, 8,000 grad students) among three campus (East, West, and Central) and 9,000 acres in Durham, North Carolina plus a marine lab in Beaufort. All freshmen live and attend classes on the oldest of Duke’s campuses, the 97-acre East Campus known for its stately Georgian architecture. After freshman year, students move to West or Central Campus.


Just 1.5 miles away, Duke’s West Campus or main campus covers 720 acres. Here is where the majority of learning and living take place. With its tall trees and 1920s’ Gothic architecture, the campus has a fairy tale like appearance. All students are required to live on campus, and over 1,000 undergrads live on Duke’s nearly 200-acre Central Campus.

While Duke has over 46 arts and science majors and four engineering majors and 49 minors, the top five include biology, public policy studies, economics, psychology, and biomedical engineering.

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Have you added up the acreage and wondered, like I did, about the remaining 7,000 acres? At 7,000 acres in size, Duke Forest, located west of West Campus, is the largest private research forest in North Carolina and one of the largest in the country.

Duke’s mission statement emphasizes leadership, and community contribution in addition to engagement of the mind and elevation of the spirit. Its motto is “Eruditio et Religio” in Latin or “knowledge and religion” in English.

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Trip taken December 2013.

Glimpsing Elon University

As we drove through North Carolina, we learned that in many ways this state is similar to Massachusetts (e.g., mountains to the west, ocean to the east), if a tad bit warmer or at least more temperate. Many high school graduates must agree, as 10 percent of the students at Elon University hail from Massachusetts, second only in numbers to North Carolina itself. The rest of the student body is from another 46 states, D.C., and 47 nations. Located in the town of Elon, the campus is just 25 minutes from Greensboro and another 40 minutes to Chapel Hill.

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Once on Elon’s campus, we parked the car and walked around noting the new buildings and construction interspersed among older buildings on the 620-acre historic campus (Elon was founded in 1889). Though quiet when we visited (just days after Christmas), the campus accommodates 5,500 undergrads and 700 graduate students.

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Elon emphasizes community service and sends many of its students abroad while offering over 60 undergraduate majors in the areas of arts and sciences; education; health sciences; and law in addition to dual degrees in business and engineering.

At Elon, there are 17 intercollegiate sports (NCAA Division I), 40 intramural and club sports, over 200 student organizations, and 23 international fraternities and sororities. While its students are active, Elon stresses its academic environment.

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According to Elon’s mission statement, the school “embraces its founders vision of an academic community that transforms mind, body and spirit and encourages freedom of thought and liberty of conscience.”

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Trip taken December 2013.