Knight, Douglas M., 1921-2005

Alternative names
Birth 1921-06-08
Death 2005-01-23

Biographical notes:

Douglas M. Knight served as president of Duke University from 1963 to 1969. Knight was educated at Yale and served as president of Lawrence University prior to becoming president of Duke. After leaving Duke in 1969, he worked as an industry executive at several firms.

From the description of Douglas M. Knight records, 1949-1970. (Duke University Library). WorldCat record id: 53906096

Born June 8, 1921, in Cambridge, MA, Douglas M. Knight was educated at Yale University and received an A.B. in 1942, an M.A. in 1944, and a Ph.D. in 1946. He served as an instructor and assistant professor of English from 1947 to 1953 at Yale University. Knight then became president of Lawrence University, in Appleton, Wisconsin in 1953.

In 1963, Knight was persuaded to come to Duke University. New beginnings and unique building projects characterized his tenure. The conversion of a science building into an Art Museum, construction of a hyperbaric chamber, a phytotron, and the largest nuclear structure laboratory in the Southeast added new dimensions to research at the University, as did the launching of the first ship built specifically for oceanographic research. In addition, new undergraduate and medical school curricula, interdisciplinary programs in biomedical engineering and forestry management, joint M.D.-J.D. and M.D.-PhD. degrees, and a new School of Business Administration were started. Most significantly the major Perkins Library addition made it possible to double every library service and increase capacity some five times over. That so much was accomplished in a time of increasing national conflict and student confrontation at Duke was remarkable.

In 1969, Knight left Duke to become vice-president of the Educational Development Division of RCA Corporation. He later became president of SEED in 1973, and then president of the Questar Corporation in 1976.

From the guide to the Douglas M. Knight records, ., 1949 - 1970, (University Archives, Duke University)


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  • Student movements
  • Prisoners of war
  • Civil rights demonstrations
  • World War, 1939-1945--Personal narratives, American
  • World War, 1939-1945--Conscript labor
  • College administrators--Selection and appointment
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