As the spiritual center of a great research university, Duke Divinity School is the embodiment of Duke University’s motto: Eruditio et Religio — Knowledge and Faith. Founded in 1926 as the first of the university’s graduate professional schools, the Divinity School attracts students from across the nation and around the world. One of 13 seminaries founded and supported by the United Methodist Church, the school has from its beginnings been ecumenical in aspiration, teaching, and practice. With many diverse theological perspectives represented here, students find common ground through immersion in Scripture and the church’s tradition for addressing the challenges of faith in contemporary contexts.
Ellen F. Davis is interim dean and Amos Ragan Kearns Distinguished Professor of Bible and Practical Theology at Duke Divinity School.
Duke Divinity School in Context
Duke Divinity School’s student body consists of about 635 students from 40 states and several foreign countries. Approximately 45 percent of the student body is United Methodist, 12 percent is Baptist, and other students come from more than 50 different denominations in the Christian faith.
Our students range in age from the 20s to the 60s. Duke Divinity School has one of the youngest student bodies in the country, with a median age of 26. Currently, the student body is 55 percent male and 45 percent female. More than 24 percent of Duke Divinity School entering students represent minority ethnic or cultural groups.
Duke University’s student body numbers close to 14,600, including approximately 6,500 undergraduates and 8,100 graduate and professional students in nine schools.
The Divinity School is located at the heart of Duke’s West Campus, which is renowned for its Gothic architecture.
Next door is Duke Chapel, featuring a 210-foot tower and 1,600-seat nave. A few steps across the quad are West Union and the 1,500-seat Page Auditorium. Also nearby is the Bryan University Center.
The 467-acre campus opened in 1930 and inspired author Aldous Huxley to call it “genuinely beautiful, the most successful essay in neo-Gothic that I know.”
Westbrook Building & Goodson Chapel
The Divinity School greatly expanded its space for worship, learning, and fellowship with the construction of the Westbrook Building and Goodson Chapel, which opened in 2005. The $22 million project added about 50,000 square feet to the Divinity School, linking seamlessly in function and design with the older Langford and Gray buildings.
- Goodson Chapel, a 315-seat worship space with 55-foot-high ceilings and an organ balcony
- Three large lecture halls as well as several classrooms and seminar rooms
- Expanded and improved offices
- The Divinity Café, with dining facilities seating 200 and including kitchens as well as additional terrace seating
The Art of Duke Divinity School
Duke Divinity School commissioned more than a dozen works of art, all based in Scripture, to be incorporated into Goodson Chapel and the Westbrook building.