Duke is one of the most selective universities in the U.S., with an acceptance rate of just over 9 percent, according to U.S News & World Report.
James B. Duke designed Duke University. He was a wealthy industrialist and philanthropist.
In the 1920s, James B. Duke, the son of tobacco magnate Washington Duke, envisioned a university that would be “the best in the South.” He hired two prominent architects to develop plans for his new school: William Peeps and John S. Hasty.
Buck Duke became president of the American Tobacco Company at age 35 in 1907 but soon left that position and went on to become president of the family’s business, then known as the American Tobacco Company Foundation. He took over management of the family fortune when his father died in 1925.
In fact, Duke became president of the Dukes Foundation in 1931 and used it to support many causes including education and medical research. One of his major contributions was founding Duke University’s School of Medicine; he also supported Trinity College (now Duke University) financially during its early years. The school would later be named for him after he gave
40 million for its endowment fund (
100 million today).
Duke’s vision included a quadrangle plan with a library and chapel centrally located on campus. The library-chapel complex is considered one of the finest examples of Collegiate Gothic architecture in the United States.
In addition to designing buildings for Duke University, Peeps also designed several buildings for his alma mater, Trinity College (now known as Duke University), including the Chapel of Trinity College and Wilson Hall, which now houses the Center for Executive Education at Duke Corporate Education Center in Durham, North Carolina.