Duke picks Penn provost as next president

December 2, 2016

Duke University announced Friday that it has hired a new president just eight months after President Richard Brodhead said he would be stepping down.

Vincent Price, 59, the provost at the University of Pennsylvania, was approved by the Board of Trustees and will be Duke’s 10th president when he takes over on July 1.

Brodhead said in April that he would leave the post on June 30, 2017, after leading Duke for 13 years.

Jack Bovender, who led the search committee, said Price’s selection came after the most thorough search in Duke’s history.

“We solicited feedback from every member of the Duke community, including alumni and friends,” Bovender said. “We reviewed more than 100 nominations and recommendations. We met face to face with 25 prospects and candidates, and we came together in a unanimous and enthusiastic recommendation.”

David Rubenstein, chairman of Duke’s Board of Trustees, said Price is a strong and effective leader who will move the university forward.

“Duke has been fortunate in its history to have had a tradition of gifted leaders and educators serve as president,” Rubenstein said in a statement. “As will be apparent to the members of the Duke community as they get to know him, Vince Price is certain to be within this long tradition.”

Price graduated from Santa Clara University and earned master’s and doctoral degrees from Stanford University. He also serves as a communications and political science professor at Penn.

He said his focus at Duke will be on adapting to new technologies and making sure members of the Duke community are able to be lifelong learners.

″(We want to be) making significant investments in the scientific infrastructure here on our campus, making sure that we seize the opportunities that are presented by the presence of a world-class health system and making sure they are working in tandem with programs in engineering,” he said.

Price also said he will be very visible on campus, taking walks with his two dogs and talking to students.

“Time is among the most precious resources we have. I think it’s important to spend that time in visible ways,” he said. “I enjoy hanging around with students. I fully intend to be eating with them, attending games with them, engaging them in conversations of all manner, making sure that I understand and appreciate their concerns and interests and talking with them in ways that give them deep and true confidence that I’m listening.

“That takes time, and that does mean being out and about,” he said.

Students said they hope Price will continue Duke’s standards of excellence and help them leave the past behind.

“I hope he can continue in the Duke tradition and shed the prior bad situation with the lacrosse incident that I’m sure not many alumni are fond of,” freshman Tyler Chery said.

Brodhead’s tenure was marred by a 2006 incident in which members of Duke’s men’s lacrosse team were accused of raping a dancer at a team party. Three players were later exonerated, but by that time, the coach had been forced out, the 2006 season had been scrapped and the team’s reputation had been tarnished.

Also Friday, Duke announced the passing of H. Keith H. Brodie, who served as president from 1985 to 1993. Brodie was 77.

“The initiatives Keith championed became signature qualities of Duke and remain part of our university’s values today, including an emphasis on interdisciplinary scholarship, investments in medical research and a commitment to a diverse and inclusive faculty and student body,” Brodhead said in a statement.

He noted that Duke’s first national championships in men’s soccer and men’s basketball also came under Brodie’s leadership.