Duke Trading Cards, Without the Gum

January 31, 2006
Duke Trading Cards: Dick BrodheadDuke Trading Cards: Dick Brodhead, reverse
Duke Trading Cards: Jehanne Gheith, faculty

 Duke Trading Cards, from left, Dick Brodhead, front, Brodhead's card, reverse, Faculty member Jehanne Gheith

 

Student-run Matter Magazine has made it possible for students to trade a Brodhead for a Wasiolek, or a Munger for a Nowicki. In the fall, the magazine, which comes out about once a month and aims to show off the wacky side of Duke and Durham, printed Duke trading cards in the style of 1967 Topps baseball cards.

Each pack, hand-wrapped in wax paper, features ten cards. The complete set consists of twenty-five cards, and the magazine's editors hope to come out with a second set during the spring semester.

There is one difference from the old-school baseball cards--no bubble gum. "That would be messy," says Charles Lin, a senior who is editor-in-chief of Matter. The cards feature such luminaries as President Richard H. Brodhead (who "demanded" that his title be "el prez," according to Lin), political-science chair Michael Munger (who lists his special power as "professional wrestler"), dean of students Sue Wasiolek '76, M.H.A. '78, LL.M. '93 (who says her favorite spots on campus are the Al Buehler Trail and Wallace Wade Stadium), and dean of natural sciences Steve Nowicki (who claims his special power is "the ability to see through people and detect true essences").

Lin says the collection includes people who make Duke unique, or those whom students may not know but should. They reveal such personal details as their favorite drink, the most amusing thing a student has said in class, and the title of their dissertation. Few have turned down requests to be pictured: "Most of the time they love it. It gives them the respect they deserve."

For the record, no plans are in the works to develop student trading cards. But if they were, how would Lin, a biology and physics major, answer the questions he's posed to Duke faculty and administrators?

His special power is counting yeast cells and his favorite on-campus spot is the Coffeehouse on East Campus. But he's quick to point out: "I don't think I deserve a card."

As of December, more than 6,000 cards had been distributed around campus, but Lin says there are plenty more to go around. Cards are distributed free at the Coffeehouse.

Cards may be purchased online, $5 for two packs or $10 for the complete set, at www.duke.edu/web/matter.