Face Value: Peter Lange

August 1, 2004
Peter Lange
Provost, political scientist, avid learner, team builder, music lover

Describe yourself in three words:
Humorous, direct, analytic

Describe Duke in three words:
Ambitious, entrepreneurial, self-critical


Why Duke?
It's an institution in constant change and improvement. It's not at all the same place it was when I came here, but it's not even the same place it was five years ago. I always felt I could grow here. I've learned a tremendous amount on this job.


Peter Lange


photo by Chris Hildreth


What one thing would you change about Duke?
I think we're still too often self-doubting as an institution. I don't mean we should be complacent, because we can't afford to be complacent in any way. But I think we sometimes doubt ourselves more than we should-in what we're able to accomplish, in what we have accomplished.

Who is your favorite person?
It depends on how you think about the question. If I was going in the music direction, because I love music, I might say, Bruce Springsteen or John Coltrane. If I was going in a more who's-a-person-who's-inspired-me direction, I would say the last two or three years of Bobby Kennedy's life. I have a lot of admiration for tough-minded people who effectively are trying to advance ideals, but who are also results-oriented.


What do you value?
I value energy. I value leadership in people. I value humor a great deal, a sense of irony, warmth.

In his words:

I love my job. I get up in the morning because I love to come to work. I love the challenge of interacting on a regular basis with really smart people about difficult problems. As a professor, your rewards come from knowing a relatively narrow range of topics extremely deeply and sophisticatedly. As a provost, you have to know about an enormous range of topics at least a little bit. And I love that this job is a constant learning process. When President Keohane gave me my final interview for the job as provost, she said, "Well, I want to offer you the job." And I said something like, "Well, that's great, Nan, this is going to be fun." She said, "Fun?" And I said, "Yeah, it's going to be fun." And it has been fun.

A joint project of University Photography and Duke Magazine, Face Value is an evolving gallery of portraits displayed in Perkins Library and represented in the magazine.
By capturing these individuals in images and words, the project celebrates some of the staff, faculty, and students whose contributions define a diverse community.
Portrait by Chris Hildreth. Photo finishing by Brent Clayton.