Duke & Durham


Washington Duke and other local business leaders brought Trinity College to Durham in 1892. Since then, Duke has grown from a small liberal arts college to a world-class research university, and Durham has evolved from a tobacco town to the City of Medicine, rich in diversity and culture. A strong town-gown relationship is key to the success of the university and the city it calls home, and to the quality of life we all enjoy.

It’s impossible to fully capture or quantify the close ties between Duke and Durham, or the endless exchange of knowledge, relationships, business and ideas. On this page you’ll find a few examples of Duke’s roles as a neighbor, employer, investor and partner in Durham, a city we all are proud to call home.

Investing in Durham
Through the Southside Housing Incentive Program, Duke is supporting the City of Durham’s efforts to revitalize the historic Southside neighborhood while providing high-quality housing to its own middle-income employees.
The Durham Performing Arts Center, which consistently ranks among the most-visited theatrical venues in the world, got off the ground with early financial support from local partners like Duke.
Since Duke and Self-Help entered into a loan agreement in 1994, more than 220 units of affordable housing have been built in the Walltown and Southwest Central Durham communities, with input from neighbors and support from local non-profit developers.
Duke gave an early boost to plans to renovate the American Tobacco Campus by pledging to be an anchor tenant. ATC is now a powerful symbol of Durham’s transition from a tobacco town to a center of food, creativity and entrepreneurship.
With funding from Duke, the City of Durham and the federal government, the Bull City Connector route launched in 2010 to provide fare-free service between downtown, Duke Medical Center and the university.
The Maplewood Square apartment building opened in 2010 for low-income seniors living in the heart of Durham’s West End community. The project was a collaboration between the City of Durham, DHIC, Durham Community Land Trustees, Duke and Self-Help.