Benjamin Newton Duke
Duke University, Durham
Description: A bronze likeness of Benjamin Newton Duke stands upright as he rests his weight on a cane in his right hand. He is clad in a suit and holds his hat by his knee. The statue rests on a low square granite pedestal.
Inscription: Front: BENJAMIN NEWTON DUKE / 1855 - 1929
Back: Trustee / Trinity College / 1889 - 1924 / Duke University / 1924 - 1929
Dedication date: 10/2/1999
Creator: Stephen H. Smith, Sculptor
Materials & Techniques: Bronze, granite
Unveiling & Dedication: The statue was dedicated on October 2nd during a Duke family reunion. This was also the 75th Anniversary of the founding of the Duke Endowment and of the Duke University name. William E. King, University Archivist, provided an unveiling speech discussing the life of Benjamin Duke.
Post dedication use: During Duke Universities's Quadfest, students regularly decorate the statue. The statue has worn a ninja mask, a pink bikini, an orange traffic cone, and a number of togas. The decoration of the Benjamin Duke statue was prohibited in 2005, with officials claiming it to be vandalism; however, students continue to dress the sculpture.
Subject notes: Benjamin Duke (1855-1929) was vice-president of the American Tobacco Company, head of his family's textile business, and co-founder of the Southern Power Company (today Duke Power). He was a key player in the relocation of Trinity College to Durham in 1892 and later donated substantial sums to be used for additions and improvements to the school.
Landscape: The statue was placed on East Campus, the original site of Trinity college. It sits in the main quad facing away from Baldwin auditorium.
Subjects: Educational Institutions,Historic Civic Figures,Historic Philanthropic Figures