Since Brodhead took office as the university's ninth president in 2004, Duke has seen extreme highs and lows. He led the university through a case in which lacrosse players were accused, and later exonerated, of raping a local Durham woman at a party, something that was recently chronicled in the ESPN 30 For 30 documentary “Fantastic Lies”; and he aggressively pushed for a campus in Kunshan, China, even as faculty questioned the project and early reports showed it lost money.
With many critical initiatives nearing completion, it seems the right time for Duke to recruit a new leader to guide the next chapter of its progress. Meanwhile, there will be plenty to do in the year ahead. Nothing in a university is the work of a single person, and in the year to come, I’ll look forward to chances to thank and celebrate with each of you who have helped build the Duke of today. After a year’s sabbatical, I expect to return to teaching and writing, the passions that lured me into the academic life in the first place.