Duke receives $11 million to help students balance academics, goals

Duke receives $11 million to help students balance academics, goals

Duke University has announced an $11 million grant from the Duke Endowment to launch an initiative aimed at helping students balance academics and their future goals.

The Purpose Project, as the campus-wide initiative is called, will focus on making matters of character, questions of purpose, and explorations of one’s life work a signature feature of the Duke student experience. A collaboration led by Duke Divinity School, the Kenan Institute for Ethics, and the Office of Undergraduate Education, the project will encourage all Duke undergraduate, graduate, and professional students to explore purpose as a defining aspect of their educational experience and participate in a broad multidimensional series of robust and complementary courses and programs.

To accomplish those goals amid a pandemic and with a student body likely to be widely dispersed geographically, the initiative will work to be as inclusive as possible. To that end, undergraduate curricular elements will be delivered in in-person, online, and hybrid formats, while many of the graduate and professional co-curricular programs, including talks, seminar courses, and small group discussions, to be delivered virtually. Through such offerings, Duke students will explore what it means to flourish as a human being, build resilience to setbacks, cultivate repose of mind, and discover how their education can help them address the now and embrace the next.

"This grant from the Duke Endowment comes at a time when students' resilience and sense of purpose has never been more critical to their overall well-being," said Duke University president Vincent E. Price. "We are grateful for the support and partnership as we work to create innovative ways of fostering growth of the whole person and preparing our students for leadership in today’s complex, challenging and diverse environments."