Between the Lines: January-February 2012

January 31, 2012

 

 

Back in its November-December 1997 issue, the magazine's cover story looked at how Duke got so hot so quickly—how it evolved from a strong regional university to a national (these days, one would have to say a global) academic powerhouse.

The story sought to answer a question sure to resonate in the competitive highereducation sector: Is there a formula to a university's rise to prominence? It looked at a series of visionary Duke leaders (beginning with Terry Sanford), initiatives that cultivated national journalists, an admissions strategy that targeted states with the highest demographic growth, efforts to take advantage of Duke's location in the South and the Research Triangle, "star" faculty hires in such areas as English, and a bolstering of graduate programs.

Then there was men's basketball. Among the sources cited in the 1997 story was Mike Krzyzewski, the cover subject of this issue. Krzyzewski said his program had worked hard to use its public platform to communicate the broader Duke picture. His point then—which he builds on in this issue's profile—wasn't that basketball creates Duke's reputation or explains its appeal, but rather that basketball provides an inviting avenue for deeper encounters with Duke. "The fact is that we're on television twenty-five to thirty times a year," he said. "That exposure for a two-hour period for every game—I don't know how you measure that."

He added, "If you get to a certain point where you're getting all this notoriety, even if you lose in the Final Four or in the championship game, how you handle that loss sometimes means more than winning. I think Duke is about keeping things in perspective and keeping things balanced. When people think of Duke, they think of success, and they also think of character."

Part of his program's mission, Krzyzewski said, was "to market the university, to get the name out there a little bit more. Then once people look at it, they'll recognize what Duke does academically."