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When we look back on 14 years of highlights, we are grateful that DukeEngage has been embraced so readily by the Duke University community and our partners worldwide. Below are significant milestones in the life of DukeEngage dating back to its creation in 2007.


  • While COVID-19 continues, 182 devoted students participate in 19 virtual programs
  • The DukeEngage Gateway summer program launches as a call to action in students’ communities around the world. Open to all incoming first-year Duke undergraduates, the program invites students into the Duke community of engaged peers, faculty and alumni and affords an opportunity to tackle a social problem in their hometown while also beginning to explore their own sense of purpose in the world.


  • While COVID-19 results in the cancellation of DukeEngage in-person summer programs, 106 students pivot to virtual projects.
  • The new Fortin Foundation Academy training model is launched. Led by former students serving as preceptors, and designed to take place over the course of four weeks during spring semester, the new format allows students more time to process and connect to material and creates an opportunity to continue to shape the experience of alumni in ways that benefit both them and the participants they teach.


  • Fulfilling a strategic goal to elevate service in the U.S., DukeEngage surpasses its commitment to place 35% of its participants in a city or community in the United States. Of the 400 openings for 2019 students, DukeEngage allocated approximately 40% to locations in the U.S. and 60% to locations abroad.
  • Dr. Eric Mlyn, founding director of DukeEngage, steps down and DukeEngage joins the Kenan Institute for Ethics.


  • Brodhead Service Program launches, placing its first cohort of five Brodhead Fellows in communities in North Carolina and beyond for follow-up summer experiences that expanded on their DukeEngage service.


  • DukeEngage celebrates 10 years of service around the world. During a decade of DukeEngage, more than 4,000 students have volunteered more than 1.25 million hours alongside more than 600 community partners in 37 U.S. cities and in 79 nations on six continents.
  • Celebratory dinner celebrates “A Decade of DukeEngage.” Program emcee, David Rubenstein, hosted the event, which was attended by DukeEngage staff and faculty, advisory board members, program friends and alumni, and generous program supporters, as well as members of the larger Duke community who have made valuable contributions to the program.
  • A year-long strategic planning process culminates with “DukeEngage 2022: Building on Impact.”
  • DukeEngage hosts 2nd Community Partner Conference, which brings together representatives from 34 organizations in the U.S. and abroad with whom our DukeEngage students work.
  • DukeEngage receives two gifts in honor of retiring president, Richard H. Brodhead. The first named the Durham program in honor of his commitment to Duke’s host community: the Brodhead-DukeEngage Durham program. The second established the Brodhead Service Program, a selective opportunity that funds a second summer of service for DukeEngage alumni who want to deepen their immersion in a service theme or community.



  • DukeEngage surpasses an enroll­ment milestone of 3,000 Duke student participants. The total number of volunteer service hours contrib­uted by students exceeds 1,000,000 and is recognized with a “Thanks a Million” celebration.
  • DukeEngage hosts first Community Partner Conference in conjunction with hosting the bi-annual International Service Learning Summit. The Community Partner Conference brings representatives from 30 organizations in the U.S. and abroad with whom our DukeEngage students work.
  • Duke University Arts and Sciences Council Committee on Curriculum approves new experiential certificate in Civic Engagement and Social Change.


  • DukeEngage conducts first comprehensive alumni survey and report to assess programmatic impacts and outcomes.


  • DukeEngage receives anonymous $4 million gift in honor of former Provost Peter Lange to endow a named DukeEngage directorship.
  • Duke University Arts and Sciences Council Committee on Curriculum approves the experiential certificate option for students to connect experiences like DukeEngage to their courses.
  • DukeEngage hires first Faculty Fellow to initiate faculty collaboration with programs executed by Volunteer Sending Organizations.
  • DukeEngage Faculty Planning Task Force issues a report that recommends DukeEngage “align and connect its programs with major initiatives, e.g., Bass Connections, Institutes, Schools, Centers, and other academic units across the university.” Recommendations support existing goals in “DukeEngage 2017: A Blueprint for Deeper and Broader Engagement.”
  • DukeEngage consolidates administrative tasks in “HUB” shared with the Duke Office of Global Education.


  • DukeEngage reaches an enroll­ment milestone of 2,000 Duke student participants. The total number of volunteer service hours contrib­uted by students exceeds 640,000.
  • New donor gifts to DukeEngage since 2007 exceed $5 million.
  • A year-long strategic planning process culminates with “DukeEngage 2017: A Blueprint for Deeper and Broader Engagement.”
  • Duke launches Civic Engagement Focus Cluster for first-year students. DukeEngage executive director, Dr. Eric Mlyn, directs the cluster and teaches a course as part of the program.


  • DukeEngage receives the Higher Education Civic Engagement Award from the Wash­ington Center.
  • Fulfilling its commitment to connect DukeEngage to the curriculum, more than 40% of pro­grams have a faculty leader or academic department connection.


  • DukeEngage reaches an enroll­ment milestone of 1,000 Duke student participants. Annual enrollment target jumps to 425.


  • DukeEngage tops the list of rea­sons prospective students give for applying to Duke.
  • The DukeEngage Academy, which provides pre-departure workshops and seminars for participants, is established, marking the creation of the largest university-based civic engagement train­ing program in the United States.


  • DukeEngage completes its first official year, placing roughly 350 students in service through 30 group programs and almost 100 indepen­dent projects.
  • High-level success metrics established, alongside a full-time commitment to data-driven evaluation and assessment practices.


  • Duke commits to the development of a large-scale, fully-funded civic engagement pro­gram open to any university undergraduate.
  • The Duke Endowment and The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation each donate $15 million to provide an initial endowment of $30 million to fund the initiative, soon to be called DukeEngage.
  • Dr. Eric Mlyn named executive director of DukeEngage.
  • DukeEngage launches projects for 89 Duke students who serve communities in the U.S., Kenya, Yemen, Tanzania and India.