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North Carolina Travel Guide
Duke University

Even though I am from Chapel Hill and a Tar Heel fan I root for Duke sometimes. For a Tarheel fan to root for  the Duke Blue Devils... well that is not a real Tarheel fan.

Duke Basketball 1906, Durham NCI really do believe in loving your neighbor and those years when the Heels were eliminated early in the NCAA regionals, being able to root for those guys in dark blue down the street made my basketball season last a little longer. I have watched two NCAA championship games in Durham, surrounded by Duke fans and seen their pain when they lost. I have watched Duke win two national championship games while sitting next to Tar Heel fans in Chapel Hill who didn't want Duke just to lose, they wanted them to be humiliated, and I have seen their pain too while I silently cheered. Of course when Duke and Carolina go head to head I am Carolina all the way (except when Dean Smith had Carolina hold the ball for the whole first half and Duke led 7 to 0 and won the game by seven points. We deserved to lose that one). The point is that even though Duke are sort of the NY Yankees of College Basketball, the richest and most powerful team in the country, cheered on by the elite, they are too familiar for me to root against. The players work hard, Mike Krzyzewski is a great coach and a good person, and watching the Duke Blue Devils play can be a thing of beauty to anyone who loves college basketball. As life goes on and things that once seemed simple now begin to show their complexities you realize that you can't just be rich, smart and good to play basketball at Duke. Sure it helps but you also have to be a good person, a team player and willing to learn and work hard. Anyway, disliking someone because the team is successful and their fans are rich is un-American. Isn't it?

Duke University, Durham, NCBut there is more to Duke than basketball. Duke University is one of the finest schools in America and produces more leaders and successful people than perhaps any school in the country. Originally a school house in Randolf county founded in 1838 for Quaker and Methodist families it became Normal College in 1851 and changed to Trinity College in 1859 when it was taken over by the Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1892 Trinity moved to Durham to the site of a former racetrack, thanks to many made from tobacco by Washington Duke and Julian S. Carr who became benefactors of the college. By the First World War Trinity College was one of the leading liberal arts colleges in the South with professors from all the well known northern universities. In 1924 James B Duke established the Duke Endowment, a philanthropic fund of $40 million to be distributed in the Carolinas among hospitals, orphanages, the Methodist Church, three colleges, and a university built around Trinity College which received $19 million to rebuild the old campus and build a new one, the West Campus, which bears an amazing resemblance to Neo-Gothic Princeton University. Trinity College became Duke University.

Duke Univsersity Chapel, Durham, North CarolinaDuke Chapel was the first building planned for the new campus in 1925. Construction began in 1930 and was completed five years later at a cost of $2.3 million. The architect Julian Abele who designed Duke's west campus was the first reknown black architect in the United States. The stone workers were imported from Italy and their decendents still live in Durham. Although the Chapel was inspired by other buildings, including English cathedrals and the chapels of other American universities, it is not a copy of any other specific building. The 210-foot tower makes it one of the tallest buildings in Durham County. The Chapel seats about 1,600 people, and its 77 stained-glass windows depict over 800 figures. The Chapel has three world-class pipe organs and Duke Chapel and the Department of Music sponsor an organ recital series featuring the world’s finest organists on the renowned Chapel organs. The recitals are free and open to all. All recitals are on Sunday at 5:00 p.m.

Duke University Chapel, Durham, NCDuke Chapel has regular Sunday service each Sunday morning at 11:00. Duke Chapel has the largest congregation of any university church in the country and feature sermons by the Dean of the Chapel, as well as renowned visiting preachers. Musical leadership for the services is provided by the Duke Chapel Choir. The Newman Catholic Student Center holds mass during the academic year every Sunday at 9:00 p.m. in Duke Chapel and every Wednesday at 5:15 p.m. in the Chapel Crypt. Special holiday services at Duke Chapel include their annual Handel's Messiah performance and Christmas Chorale concerts in December. Duke University Chapel presents special worship services to commemorate important dates in the liturgical year including Christmas Eve, the Blessing of Animals, All Hallows Eve, imposition of ashes on Ash Wednesday, and Holy Week services.

Duke University, Durham, NCDuke University has never stopped growing. Though the central core of both East and West Campus have remained pretty much intact, an entire city of research buildings, classrooms, dorms, and other academic buildings has sprung up and construction continues. Somehow though they still manage to maintain that Duke-Princeton look that makes taking a walk around the Duke campus one of the pleasures of living here in North Carolina. With flyers and posters advertising concerts, events, lectures and demonstrations, the campus is alive with activity. Recently the university has bought up a number of former tobacco buildings close to downtown Durham and East Campus and converted them into offices and academic centers.

Duke Gardens, Durham, NCNasher Museum of Art at Duke University opened its new building on Oct. 2, 2005, creating a major new center for the arts on campus. The $23 million museum will focus on modern and contemporary art. It is located at Duke University Road and Anderson Street, adjacent to the Sarah. P. Duke Gardens (photo) another highlight of the Duke campus with its flowers and plants, ponds, waterfalls, paths and bridges. Duke Medical Center is one of the finest hospitals in the country. The Fuqua School is one of the most respected (and wealthiest) business schools. Almost every program at Duke is at the top of the list. The Duke Primate Center is home to a large collection of lemurs, which can sometimes sound like Cameron Indoor Stadium where the crazies propel Duke's basketball team to victory.

And here we are back where we started. Duke was not built on basketball. (It was built by tobacco actually). But basketball remains the most recognizable face of Duke University and this year as every year the Blue Devils are expected to do well. If you can get a ticket to a game you will experience one of the most exciting experiences in North Carolina. (or at least one of the loudest).

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