The Duke Motto

December 4, 2022
By AdmissionSight

The Duke Motto

Duke Motto

The year 1838 marks the beginning of Duke University‘s history as an educational institution. The Duke motto is “Eruditio et Religio,” which translates to “Knowledge and Religion.” This motto came about as a result of the university’s affiliation with the Methodist Church.

The institution’s history and core ideals serve as the foundation for Duke’s distinctive culture. Respect, trustworthiness, inclusivity, and excellence are more than just aspirational goals when it comes to the university’s shared principles. People are the attitudes and ways of behaving that they anticipate, both from themselves and from their coworkers.

These are the principles that Duke must uphold in order to gain and uphold our reputation for quality and honesty, to inspire confidence in each other and with the world, which we both serve and rely on for our future viability, and to earn and maintain our reputation for academic excellence. The Duke motto serves as the university’s guiding principle for behavior and the engine that propels its culture.

The university flag of Duke University

We will get a deeper understanding of the Duke motto, as well as its impact on the institution as a whole and the students who call it home.

What is the Duke University motto?

What is the Duke University motto? “Eruditio et Religio” is the motto of Duke University, and it is believed that it was taken from a song written by Charles Wesley, who was the brother of John Wesley, the founder of Methodism. The third stanza of the contemporaneous hymnal written before the American Civil War is titled “Sanctified Knowledge,” and it begins with the lines “Unite the pair so long disjoined, Knowledge and living piety….”

The fact that another phrase from the hymn, “ignorance and mistake,” appears in the preamble of the constitution of Union Institute, the name of the institution before it changed its name to Trinity College, is additional confirmation that the hymn was well-known by the founders of the college.

When one remembers that Methodism was founded on the campus of Oxford University while John and Charles Wesley were students there and that one of the worldwide legacies of the Methodist Church is the founding of institutions of higher education, the desire to join education and religion in a common endeavor is not at all surprising.

In North Carolina, the church-affiliated school was by far the most common and widespread form of higher education. In the 1830s, individuals affiliated with the Methodist Church, the Baptist Church, the Presbyterian Church, and the Quaker faith established the institutions that would later become Duke University, Greensboro College, Wake Forest University, Davidson College, and Guilford College, respectively.

What is Duke University’s Mission Statement?

Knowing the ideals of the Duke motto, what is Duke University’s mission statement? In the Indenture that James B. Duke used to establish Duke University, the members of the university were charged with the responsibility of providing real leadership in the educational world.

This was to be accomplished by selecting individuals of exceptional character, ability, and vision to serve as the university’s officers, trustees, and faculty; by carefully selecting students of character, determination, and application; and by pursuing those areas of teaching and scholarship that would “most help to develop our resources, increase our wisdom, and promote our mission.”

Duke College campus where it's main tower is visible

Embodying the Duke motto, the mission of Duke University is to provide undergraduate students with an excellent liberal education, paying attention not only to their intellectual growth but also to their development as adults committed to high ethical standards and full participation as leaders in the communities in which they live; to prepare future members of the learned professions for lives of skilled and ethical service by providing excellent graduate and professional education, and to provide undergraduate students with an excellent education in the sciences.

In addition to this, Duke’s mission is to expand the boundaries of knowledge and make a significant contribution to the international community of scholars; to foster an intellectual environment that is built on a commitment to free and open inquiry; to alleviate the suffering of others, find a cure for the disease, and promote health by conducting cutting-edge medical research and providing thoughtful patient care; and to offer a diverse array of educational opportunities, both on and off of our campuses.

A profound appreciation for the range of human differences and potential, a sense of the obligations and rewards of citizenship, and a commitment to learning, freedom, and the truth are all things that Duke University hopes to instill in its students. Traditional students, active professionals, and lifelong learners all make use of the power of information technologies.

The mission of Duke University is to contribute in a variety of ways to the local community, the state, the nation, and the world; to attain and maintain a place of real leadership in all that Duke does; and to engage the mind, elevate the spirit, and stimulate the best effort of all who are associated with the University. These objectives will be pursued with vision and integrity.

What is Duke most known for?

What is Duke most known for? Outside of the classroom, interdisciplinary work is encouraged by the academic philosophy of the institution. Because of this, Duke University provides its students with a conducive environment in which to investigate the world around them, including academics, athletics, and the arts.

From its humble beginnings in 1836 as a Quaker and Methodist seminary, Duke University has grown to become one of the most well-known and highly regarded private schools in the United States.

In addition to having a beautiful campus, which includes a historic chapel that was designed by renowned African American architects Horace Trumbauer and Julian Abele, Duke University also has one of the best medical centers in the entire country. Duke University is located in the research triangle of North Carolina.

Today, the university, apart from the Duke motto, it is also recognized as one of the most prestigious educational establishments in the South, if not the entire country, thanks to its selective admissions process, outstanding academics, championship-caliber athletics, and widespread presence around the world.

Trinity College of Arts and Sciences and the Pratt School of Engineering are the names of the undergraduate schools that are offered by Duke University. At Duke University, approximately 80% of first-year students are associated with the Trinity College of Arts & Sciences, while the remaining 20% are associated with the Pratt School of Engineering.

View of college students studying in a room with a table.

It is the foundation of a Duke education that each and every student spends at least some of their time studying within the Trinity College of Arts and Sciences. Students gain transferable skills such as critical thinking, the ability to look at issues from a variety of angles, thoughtful analysis, and effective communication by participating in these classes. These competencies are applicable in a wide variety of academic disciplines and professional arenas.

Duke University provides students with the opportunity to pursue one of 53 different majors, 52 different minors, and 23 different certificates. The majors at Duke include a diverse array of topics and interests, ranging from African and African American Studies to Visual Arts. Approximately twenty percent of undergraduates at Duke University seek a double major; nevertheless, double majors between the Trinity College of Arts & Sciences and the Pratt School of Engineering are unusual.

Undergraduate students often choose to participate in the 4+1 program offered by the Pratt School of Engineering. Students who enroll in the 4+1 program can earn both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in the field of engineering in as little as five years combined. Every single master’s degree that Pratt has to offer can be completed through this program.

Program II is unique to Duke. Program II is not your typical major; rather, it is an individualized degree path that gives students the opportunity to investigate a particular area of scholarship. Frequently, this is an area of emerging knowledge or interdisciplinary scholarship that is not covered in any of the existing majors. Students collaborate with faculty members to devise curricula that can lead to either a bachelor of arts or a bachelor of science degree at the program’s conclusion.

What kind of student is Duke looking for?

With everything there is to know about the ideals of the Duke motto, what kind of student is Duke looking for? The admissions office of Duke University, particularly at Trinity College, is searching for students who are enthusiastic and committed, and who have a genuine interest in making a positive impact on the world.

They take an all-encompassing, holistic approach to reviewing applicants, reading essays, and perusing lists of extracurricular activities before looking at grades and test scores. When determining the overall soundness of an application, Pratt places a greater emphasis on numbers, and phenomenal success in one area can make up for a lack of achievement in another.

Both schools are looking for students who have extensive experience in extracurricular activities. The ability to specialize demonstrates the level of commitment and passion that Duke, along with all of the other top schools, looks for. Students ought to dominate whatever it is that they are concentrating on, or at the very least attain a high level of success. Because of this, their applications will stand out more, and they will have a more compelling story to weave into the entirety of their essays.

Three students smiling during an event.

In terms of character, Duke seeks students who are not just talented but also have the ambition to make use of their abilities. In consideration of the Duke motto, they are searching for students who take pleasure in education in and of itself rather than viewing it solely as a means to an end. Last but not least, they are looking for genuineness, particularly in the essays, as opposed to students simply making generic assertions that they think the reviewers want to hear.

Both the Trinity School and the Pratt School at Duke University have lately begun offering new programs in the quantitative sciences, and the university has hired a number of new faculty members to support these endeavors. In their application essays, students who want to study quantitative sciences, particularly in an integrative manner, should make mention of this fact.

Want to learn more about the Duke motto? You’ve come to the right place. At AdmissionSight, we have over 10 years of experience guiding students through the competitive admissions process.

AdmissionSight can help you put your best foot forward when applying to college. Contact us today for more information on our services.


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