I have often wondered about the source of the intense loyalty that
Duke University engenders in so many of the ­people it touches.
Duke breeds intense and compassionate devotion among its fac-
ulty, alumni, students and their parents, and many grateful patients
of its medical enterprise. It certainly breeds devotion within me,
and it began when I first arrived for an internship interview in
the Department of Medicine in December 1964. Following my
interviews and a grueling experience as a medical student taking
“gallop rounds” with the legendary Gene Stead on Osler Ward,
the chief resident walked me down through Davison Building and
out its front doors. ­After not more than a dozen steps, as I inter-
nalized the beauty and magnificence of the campus and reflected
on the bewildering excitement of rounds, I was struck by a deep
emotional feeling that Duke was the place for me to come for my
medical training. I never lost that sense of wonderment for this
Beyond its awe-­inspiring campus and the prowess of its legend-
ary faculty, what makes Duke so special for me is that it allowed a
hardworking young man with potential but without pedigree to
achieve to the maximum of his ability. As a first-­generation Ameri-
can, trained primarily in public schools, who was Jewish and coming
from Brooklyn, New York, in 1965, my background made it almost
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