PDA

View Full Version : The most important person at Duke



johnb
03-12-2007, 09:18 AM
One of the Duke-Hate articles mentions that K is the most powerful person at Duke. This seems akin to the statement that all Duke students are rich. While there is some superficial truth to the perception (a lot of Duke students ARE from wealthy families, and K is a powerful personality), it seems obvious to me that K has a symbolic importance to the University and lots of actual clout within the athletic departent, but that Brodhead is so much more powerful than K that the comparison is foolish. It's not just that B can fire K but that B directs a vast enterprise and, when it comes down to it, K is in charge of a few assistants and a dozen student-athletes.

The reason to type this--aside from procrastinating at work--is that I wonder if that misperception is shared by other people or is it just something that a lazy sportswriter pens to fill up a column?

SECulp
03-12-2007, 09:29 AM
I think with respect to K, you are correct. Lazy sportwriter. But I think the view that Duke students being from wealthy famlies has been a perception for a very long time. And its a continuing perception because the press and others of such ilk are lazy in their reporting.

When I was a student a Fuqua, I wrote a letter to the editor of the Durham paper in response to just this issue. In my family, my father worked two jobs and he taught me, more than anyone, what a strong work ethic is about. I attribute getting into Fuqua and my success in the business world to his teachings.

As with anything in life, if sterotype groups of people, your going to get it wrong.

BlueDevilBaby
03-12-2007, 09:47 AM
My father had to work his way through Duke undergrad and law school in the late 50s. I am sure there a quite a few stories like his.

johnb
03-12-2007, 11:36 AM
I focused on K and B. You are right to focus on the 'rich kids' stereotype.

My impression is that very few Duke kids are from families whose parents are so wealthy that they don't work. Children of such families often lack the oomph to get into and thrive at Duke.

My assumption is that most students are from families in which at least one parent works very hard. This would include parents who work 2 modestly-paying jobs to support a family as well as doctors/lawyers/ businessmen/academics, etc, who are probably considered affluent but who can't simply retire to their yachts and who, through example, taught their children the value of hard work and also provided a reasonably secure base from which to grow into a successful adolescence.

While Duke has become significantly more diverse in terms of the ethnic and financial backgrounds of its students, I'd be surprised if most students didn't consider their parents to be hard workers. In that, I assume they are similar to the students at most elite colleges. The two posters underscore this tendency, since both can be considered privileged in the terms that matter most to Duke: hard work and commitment. I'd be interested in seeing how students at these colleges compare to their peers in this regard, though its implications may not be comforting to the presumption that America is completely egalitarian, since my assumption is that much of your academic/professional trajectory is defined by the ethos in which you are raised, and if that ethos includes school and hard work, you are more likely to be successful in the terms that are defined by college admissions.

Highlander
03-12-2007, 01:49 PM
I heard the trustees once told Nan that they would get a new president before they would get a new basketball coach. She started to play nice shortly therafter.

It probably isn't true, but it makes for a good rumor.

phaedrus
03-12-2007, 02:17 PM
well, they DID get a new president before they got a new basketball coach.

hurleyfor3
03-12-2007, 02:20 PM
well, they DID get a new president before they got a new basketball coach.

Two or three times, depending on whether you count Uncle Terry.

dukepsy1963
03-12-2007, 03:49 PM
My father had a third grade education. He plodded year after year as an insurance salesman and never made more than 2-3K a year. But....he valued education over all else and acted as a model for us kids. He was "the kindest and best man" I've ever known. He read constantly and was a self-taught educated man.
My mom taught elementary school for 45 years and scrimped and saved so that we could go to college (if we wanted too).

Fortunately, my older sister got an AB Duke Scholarship and had her way paid. I followed her eight years later (but no scholarship). My parent's savings allowed me to go to Duke. I worked to help pay the costs/tuition, etc. Plus my NROTC money helped a little.

Yes, there were kids with money...but we sure did not have it. One story...my sister did not have a warm winter coat her freshman year. My dear father drove to Durham one cold afternoon and suprised her with a new coat that he bought for her on a time payment plan. My sister was overjoyed as you can imagine!!! She rewarded him by graduating in the top five at Duke! She later taught English at Duke for a bit. Today she is a newspaper columnist and a grandmother.

As for me... I recently retired after thirty-five years of University teaching. (My first job was at UNC by the way!!!) I owe so much to my parents! And Duke too....!

Today I am confortable and affluent thanks to a great beginning by my parents and my education at Duke (and other schools later on). Money is nice...but a great family is better....!!!!