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School of Religion

Fall 1926

With a minimum of publicity, 23 students—20 men and three women—enrolled in Duke University’s School of Religion the first year. Twenty students were graduates of Trinity and Duke with degrees earned between 1906 and 1926. All but two were from North Carolina.

Photo courtesy Divinity School Archives
The first faculty included (l to r) William P. Few, Elbert Russell, Paul Neff Garber, James Cannon III, Dean Edmund D. Soper, Howard M. LeSourd, and Allen H. Godbey. Harvie Branscomb
was absent for the photo.

Within five years enrollment reached 150, with students from 18 states and Korea and Japan. While 53 percent were from North Carolina, every southern state as well as eight additional states were represented. Students from over 40 undergraduate colleges enrolled, with Duke continuing to provide the most by a large margin.

— Excerpted from If Gargoyles Could Talk: Sketches of Duke University by William King

Fall 2007

Photo courtesy Divinity School Archives
Bird's eye view circa 1920 of Trinity College, which moved to Durham in 1892. Construction of what became Duke's East Campus began here in the summer of 1925. Duke University's School of Religion opened there with 23 students in the fall of 1926. The move to Gray Building on West Campus followed four years later, in September 1930.

Eight decades and a year later, Duke Divinity School’s four degree programs attracted an incoming class of 202 students representing 42 denominations from 29 states and six other countries.

The largest degree program remains the Master of Divinity (M.Div.) with 153 first-year students, almost evenly divided between men (83) and women (70), from 29 denominations.

The other programs are Master of Theological Studies (M.T.S.), Master of Theology (Th.M.), and the Doctor of Theology (Th.D.), which was added last year.