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With great sadness, we share that Savannah Goodman, T '18, passed away this morning, December 19th, after complications from a bone marrow transplant.  She was diagnosed with an immune deficiency disorder at Duke Hospital at age 6 and was fulfilling her lifelong dream of studying Pre-Med at Duke so that she could become a pediatric immunologist to treat children much like herself.  Savannah was active with Jewish Life at Duke, the Duke Student Wellness Center, was a tour guide for Duke Admissions, and loved Duke Basketball. 

Blog Author:
Danielle Oakley, CAPS

Dear Duke Families,

It is a pleasure to meet you! I am the new director for Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), a unit on campus that supports your student on a path toward academic success. I am excited to be here given the commitment Duke has made to student wellness. Many institutions across the country are working to address mental health issues based on the fact that mental health is the number one factor in lowering retention and is a better predictor of college grade point average than ACT or SAT scores. The 97% four-year retention rate to graduation at Duke demonstrates that retention is not a significant issue on this campus; highlighting that Duke’s focus is supporting mental health services because student wellness is valued.

Blog Author:
Stephen Bryan, Associate Dean of Students & Director, Student Conduct

Dear Undergraduate Student:

The Office of Student Conduct staff welcomes you (back) to Duke!  We know your time is valuable, so with that in mind, here are 10 things to keep in mind this year.  For the overwhelming majority of you, this list will never apply directly to you, so we especially THANK YOU for reading through these items— and perhaps you can be a persuasive voice to your peers in steering them away from some of the negative behaviors described below, should you see them heading down a potentially perilous path.

Blog Author:
Sue Wasiolek and Clay Adams

Duke family members, 

Working in higher education with the amazing students at Duke is an absolute pleasure. From the energy, creativity, and predictable rhythms of the academic school year, to the unexpected moments and achievements that keep everyone on their toes, there is nothing remotely like life on a university campus. 

Blog Author:
Elizabeth Hoyler, '16

Midterms are alive and well. As students, we’ve all realized that the hard way, unfortunately. In an act of solidarity, I’m gonna share some wisdom from Jean Hanson and Jo Supernaw at the Wellness center. With these myths busted you’ll, in my opinion, be able to kick midterm’s a** better. (Hint: It involves more sleep.)

Myth #1: The effects of my all-nighter only impacts me.

You may be the only one who gets to sport the Dukie-meets-phantom-menace look, but your worsened mood? Lack of focus? Degree of inefficiency?  You can’t be as productive a teammate, as present a friend, nor as pleasant an acquaintance.

All-nighters don’t make you cool or more impressive. They make you tired. 

Myth #2: Staying up those extra few hours to cram will help my GPA.

Blog Author:
Khalouk Shahbander, '18

How did NAMI come into being? What was that catalyst that made you start this organization?

I recently completed my first year at Duke University. And, just as it is for many freshmen, the first year of college was, in fact, an extraordinary and exciting experience. But it was also extremely difficult, tiresome, and anxiety-ridden. The environment coupled with personal circumstances left me fighting to maintain my mental health.

Last December, I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder Type I, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and Panic Disorder.

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A community response

Jack D explains what happened:

As many of you know, early in the morning yesterday someone entered my dorm and sprawled on the wall of the first floor, “Death to all fags @ Jack.” In just five words and an ‘at’ symbol, my sense of security and safety on this campus was shattered. 

Efforts have been made to find the assailant but the likelihood of success seems minimal. However, the person who wrote on the wall is greatly unimportant.

I would like for people to understand who I am. I wish to be a peer and not a name. I grew up near Boston with a single mother and siblings. I played sports throughout school and spent summers volunteering. I am a freshman but have lived as a proudly out and visible gay man on Duke’s campus. I am Jack. I am the fag. I do not deserve this treatment. No one deserves this treatment.

Jerry (Bei) Sun, a Duke University biology student, passed away Wednesday, March 4, from a rare form of cancer. Jerry was scheduled to graduate from Duke in 2016.

Duke flags were lowered to half-mast in his honor.

"Jerry loves every one of you," said Jerry's mother, Cathy Liu. "He appreciated all the help the Duke community gave him. Although he may not have been in contact with you during the past few months, I know Jerry missed all of you very much!"

Blog Author:
Isabella Kwai, '16

Let me be entirely honest and open in what I’m about to say. Honesty after all, is so little found in conversations about mental health and yet so powerful when it is. I have, like 1 in 4 other young people my age, struggled with my mental health on and off. There have been times when I’ve been sick with hopelessness and misery, consumed with self-loathing and hatred. Likewise, there have times when I’ve been ecstatically happy and grateful. My emotional health is a mental rollercoaster and contains the best and worst memories for me. But it is not all of me.

It was wonderful to have so many families on campus for Family Weekend 2014! In all we had more than 2500 registered guests that made the trip to Durham to share in their student’s college experience. This year’s programming included a wide variety of events, presentations, and performances from throughout the Duke community.


Among the highlights: