E1GHT MlLES APART
(In a lot
people's minds we}re rivals
ut that's really all built around our basketball
Isn}t it silly to think we have to have a mindset centered around sports
vice president for academic and administrative services at Duke
bigger. It grew into a unique scholarship scheme that
started in August 2001 when 15 freshmen canle to
Carolina and 15 to Duke, each knowing they would
study and live on both campuses.
The two students mentioned above are Robertson
Scholars; they're required to take some classes, and to
live one semester, at Duke. But when Robertson gave
$24 million to establish the scholarship, he had more
in mind than just giving 30 students a year benefits
similar to the Morehead and
Angier B. Duke grants. The gift
specified $25,000 per semester
for small grants for collaborative
projects between the two
schools. Twelve of them, in
amounts from $500 to $4,000,
were given last fall.
Robertson also tossed in
$350,000 a year to battle what
may be the tallest hurdle
between Chapel Hill and
Durham:You can study on rival
ground, but you can't park
there. Express bus service for 30
scholars wouldn't speak well for
Robertson's financial acumen
- as program Director Mlyn
• said,"We could have bought
~~~__i i i i i i i them all cars for that."
Robertson has a much bigger
ridership in mind. He wants stu-
dents to pursue academic
opportunities in the other camp. He wants the larger
communities of Carolina and Duke to check out each
other's libraries and arts events. When you get right
down to it, he wants the two to mingle more and see
what sort of fruit it bears.
Robertson was struck by the fact that two ofhis
sons, Alexander '01 and Julian Spencer (Duke ' 98),
each had friends at the other university, but the
groups didn't mix. He insists that the scholarship pro-
gram sprang from the notion that the schools should
pool some of their assets and some oftheir cultural
differences - not the other way around. "It's one of
the few original ideas I think I've had," he said.
"My whole thought was to get some sort ofinter-
play going between the two schools. I just realized it's
such a schism. I don't know how much collaboration
there will be as much as just a good, healthy
exchange ofviews between the two populations. Also,
there are great assets both could use.
"People are taking the bus for social reasons, and I
don't think that's bad."
Meanwhile the two administrations are talking
more about collaboration, and beginning to act on it.
Faculty generally don't need much coaxing to
interact. They gravitate to research partners wherever
they can find them. But the students who have been
curious about Duke-Carolina crossover in recent
years have stumbled over non-matching academic cal-
endars and rules against taking courses at the neigh-
boring school that are offered at their own.
The calendar problem has been all but solved. The
Robertson program appears to be chipping away at
other barriers. A rule linuring undergraduates to one
course per semester at another school with which UNC
has an inter-institutional agreement (not only Duke but
N.c. State, N.c. Central and other nearby schools)
already has been waived for the Robertson Scholars.
As they become more sophisticated consumers of
knowledge, more students likely will bristle at being
denied access to, for instance, a particular professor
just across the county line. "Ifa student wants to
study Shakespeare with Darryl Gless [at Carolina] or
writing with Reynolds Price [at Duke], we'd like to
have this on a case-by-case basis," Mlyn said.
Chancellor James Moeser said there is no model
for such a marriage, because with few exceptions -
Harvard-MIT, Maryland-Johns Hopkins, Northwest-
ern-University of Chicago - major research univer-
sities don't enjoy this kind of proximity. "It's a unique
opportunity," Moeser said. "There are some exciting
and potentially dramatic things we can explore
between the two universities."
So far, there's been plenty of room to stretch out on
the Robertson bus, which runs 7 to 11 on weekdays, 9
to 5: 30 on Saturdays and noon to 5: 30 on Sundays. On
some runs, the drivers have no one to talk to but
themselves. But traffic has picked up, and those who do
ride seem impressed with the convenience.
The 15-minute ride does, of course, cross a deep,
wide and sometimes stormy psychological gulf.
Robertson gets a laugh out of the story he heard, that
the editor of Duke's student newspaper took the ride
and titled his story: "My Trip to Hell and Back."
"In a lot of people's minds we're rivals;' said Judith
Ruderman, vice president for academic and adnlinis-
trative services at Duke."But that's really all built
in this issue
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