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Distinguished Alumni Award

The Graduate School Distinguished Alumni Award is given annually to a graduate of a Duke University Ph.D. program who has distinguished themselves in service to their fields of endeavor, to Duke, and to society in general. The recipient will receive a citation and attend The Graduate School’s Hooding Ceremony.

Nomination Deadline: Dec. 13, 2019.


Individuals currently employed by Duke University are not eligible for the award.

Nominees must

  • have received a Ph.D. from Duke University at least 10 years ago;
  • *have made a distinctive contribution to his or her field or community or to society at large;
  • be able to attend or send a representative to attend The Graduate School’s Hooding Ceremony on Saturday, May 9, 2020, to accept the award.

* – This criterion is intentionally broad to allow for a wide variety of contributions. Nevertheless, there should be some discernible connection between the nominee’s contribution and his or her graduate program at Duke.

Nomination Procedure

Deans, chairs, directors of graduate studies, and alumni can nominate individuals they consider to be the department’s or school’s most distinguished graduate alumni. Individuals from the university community may also submit nominations.

To submit a nomination, send an e-mail Carlus Walters (, assistant to the dean of The Graduate School, with the following attachments:

  • The completed nomination form (PDF)
  • A single document that summarize the nominee’s more significant accomplishments in all three of these areas: their fields of endeavor, their service to Duke, and their service to society in general. These accomplishments should be the direct result of the nominee’s individual interests and efforts. Provide evidence of personal involvement and commitment, as well as specific dates and tenure for activity or service.
  • A current curriculum vitae or résumé
  • Letters of recommendation, citations, and any other documents that display the nominee’s contributions, such as newspaper or magazine clippings

All nomination materials must be received by Carlus Walters in The Graduate School by Friday, Dec. 13, 2019.

Selection Committee

The selection committee will consist of individuals selected from the Executive Committee of Graduate Faculty, other graduate faculty, a graduate student, a representative from Alumni Affairs, and the dean of The Graduate School or a designate. 

Past Recipients