Full circle: At naming of Alumni House in his honor, Forlines, above left, with trustee Steel, traced Duke connections from childhood through undergraduate study to enduring family legacy. Megan Morr
Full circle: At naming of Alumni House in his honor, Forlines, above left, with trustee Steel, traced Duke connections from childhood through undergraduate study to enduring family legacy. Megan Morr

Forlines' House

June 1, 2009

Full circle: At naming of Alumni House in his honor, Forlines. Megan Morr

On a rainy day in late February, Duke's Alumni House was named in honor of John A. Forlines Jr. '39, a former trustee and past president of the Duke Alumni Association (DAA). At a ceremony held under a large tent beside the building, current trustees, former presidents of the alumni association, and other campus notables gathered to celebrate Forlines' contributions to Duke.

The newly named John A. Forlines Jr. House, located at 614 Chapel Drive, was one of the first "faculty houses" (designated Faculty House Four), designed by campus architect Horace Trumbauer and built in 1930-31. It was the home of university president Robert L. Flowers from 1935 to 1951 and was later occupied by Undergraduate Admissions until 1976, when the Office of Alumni Affairs moved in.

During a lunchtime ceremony, Forlines described how his connection to Duke began. "I lived two blocks from Duke, and I became batboy mascot for the Blue Devil baseball team," he said.

After graduating, Forlines served in Europe in the U.S. Army's finance department during World War II. In 1954, he moved to Granite Falls, North Carolina, to reinvigorate the ailing Bank of Granite. As its leader for fifty-two years, he turned one of the state's smallest banks into one of the best-known and most profitable community banks in the nation. He has been inducted into the North Carolina Banking Hall of Fame and the North Carolina Business Hall of Fame.

Robert K. Steel '73, chair of Duke's board of trustees, lauded Forlines and his accomplishments. Steel unveiled photographs of the Forlines House plaque, installed at the building's front door, and of the new sign on Chapel Drive, and read the renaming resolution approved by the board of trustees. Also attending the celebration were a number of Forlines' family members, including his son, John A. Forlines III '77, and a sister, Martha Forlines Forney '41.

Last year, Forlines received Duke's highest honor, the University Medal for Distinguished Meritorious Service. In 1994, he received the Distinguished Alumni Award, the DAA's highest honor. He was inducted into the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, the state's highest civilian honor, in 2006.

Forlines served as alumni association president from 1970 to 1971.