Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Duke University

Much of our weekend in Durham was spent exploring the Duke campus, checking out the new facilities and revisiting the familiar hangouts of my husband’s days there as a student in the ‘70s. It hasn’t been that long since we took our own kids on tours of colleges, so we started out by sitting in on the information session given by the Admissions Office, and taking the student-guided tour. The school was on spring break, so there wasn’t too much action on campus. Here’s a brief summary of the place today: Lots of neo-Gothic architecture and stone facades. Lots of students planning careers in law, medicine and business. Lots of new buildings and amenities, thanks to lots of rich alumni with lots of money. In fact, I thought it was kind of funny that every new building, every auditorium, every lecture hall was named after some wealthy donor. And of course, there’s lots of Blue Devil basketball fervor (absent in the pre-Coach K era of my husband’s Duke days), with kids willing to camp out in tents for months in order to get a ticket to a big game. Sadly, while we were there, Duke got knocked out of the ACC tournament and arch-rival UNC went on to win the ACC championship. Ah, well, there’s always the NCAA tournament to look forward to.

At top is Duke Chapel, the heart of the campus, and below, the main quad:

The view from a new reading room in the newly expanded library:

Spring was in bloom at the Duke Gardens:

I visited two noteworthy art museums, the Ackland Art Museum at UNC in nearby Chapel Hill, with its moving photojournalism exhibit, and the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke. Here's "Pie a la Mode," by Claes Oldenburg (1962), at the Nasher:

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