New scholarship honors Duke President Richard Brodhead, Cynthia Brodhead

April 14, 2017Duke Law News

Duke University President Richard H. BrodheadPresident Brodhead speaks at a conference honoring the late Dr. John Hope Franklin held by Duke Law's Center on Law, Race and Politics.

Dean David F. Levi surprised Duke University President Richard H. Brodhead on Apr. 7 with news that members of the Law School’s Board of Visitors and Law Alumni Association joined together with other members of the Duke Law community to endow a student scholarship honoring him and his wife, Cynthia Brodhead.

“Wow,” Brodhead said, when Levi broke the news during a presentation at the boards’ spring meetings. Brodhead, Duke’s ninth president, will step down on June 30 after 13 years at the helm of the institution.

The scholarship will provide tuition assistance for a Duke Law student, with a preference for students who already hold an undergraduate or graduate degree from Duke University. More than $250,000 has already been raised from Duke Law alumni.

“Since coming to Duke in 2004, Dick and Cindy Brodhead have been a welcome presence at the Law School. Dick taught a class here with me and Professor Jed Purdy. And Cindy, a fine lawyer herself, worked with Professor Jim Cox and others on our graduate Russell Robinson’s standard work on North Carolina corporation law,” Levi said. “I am delighted that our alumni have chosen to recognize their service to Duke University and Duke Law School with this scholarship.”

A scholar of American literature, Brodhead came to Duke in 2004 after 32 years of teaching Yale University He will remain the William Preston Few Professor of English and has said he will take a year’s sabbatical before returning to teaching and writing.

During his tenure at Duke, Brodhead oversaw major transformations of the undergraduate experience, including launching the DukeEngage summer service program; expanding and renovating the physical plant, including the Rubenstein Library, West Union, and Duke Chapel projects; and launching major interdisciplinary initiatives such as Bass Connections, the Duke Global Health Initiative, the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy, and the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative, all of which engage faculty and students from the Law School.

In 2011, Brodhead co-taught a class at the Law School, “Faces of the Law,” with Levi and Jedediah Purdy, the Robinson O. Everett Professor Law. The class examined the legal and cultural contexts of important cases and constitutional debates in American history.

“I have a relation of profound intellectual respect for the Law School, of great social friendship with the Law School,” Brodhead said. “It has been an extraordinary, extraordinary privilege for me to be the president of this university, and thus also to work with such a wonderful law school.”

An attorney, Cynthia Broadhead practiced corporate and regulatory law in Connecticut before moving to North Carolina. She earned her J.D. from the University of Connecticut and also holds an undergraduate degree from Syracuse University and a master’s degree in English literature from Yale. She has served as chair of the North Carolina Humanities Council, a member of the advisory boards of Duke’s Nasher Museum of Art and Sarah P. Duke Gardens, and a member of the boards of directors of the East Durham Children’s Initiative, Self-Help Credit Union, Carolina Ballet, and Preservation North Carolina.

For information on the Richard H. and Cynthia D. Brodhead Law Scholarship, or to make a contribution, please contact Kate Buchanan A.B. ’92, associate dean for alumni & development, at (919) 613-7217 or