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Charles and Virginia Duke Award

The award was endowed by Charles Bryan Duke and Ann Evans Duke (class of 1957) in memory of Charles Joseph Duke, Jr. (class of 1923) and Virginia Welton Duke for their years of distinguished and loving service to William & Mary and is presented each year to an employee who has given exceptional service to the university, either in a given year or in recognition of an outstanding career at William & Mary. The recipient is selected on a university-wide basis by a committee appointed by the president of the university. 


  •  Appointed to the Board of Visitors in 1926.
  • Named in 1934 as bursar of the university and assistant to President Bryan for whom he served as liaison to the General Assembly in Richmond.
  • Expanded recruitment efforts and helped inaugurate scholarship programs to attract more male students.
  • Supported expansion of physical plant at the university, securing more than $600,000 in grants and loans for new campus buildings and a football stadium, and added to the university land holdings through negotiation with Colonial Williamsburg and Eastern State Hospital.
  • Participated in design of the Sunken Garden and Lake Matoaka natural amphitheater.
  • Maintained close relationships with faculty in support of cultural programs and was installed as a honorary member of Phi Beta Kappa.
  • Crafted rigorous new accounting standards for the university and worked to resolve administrative and financial problems at the Norfolk Division of William & Mary, where he served as wartime dean.
  • Served as chief of staff for Governor William Tuck’s panel to reorganize state government agencies.
  • With Virginia Duke, energized social life on campus by hosting a series of gala events, including a costumed ball for faculty and a traditional Yule Log ceremony that involved over a thousand students and townspeople.

To provide recognition and financial reward for exemplary individual accomplishment in their professional lives and service to the William & Mary community. This award reflects the honor and credit that recipients bring to the university through their actions and contributions. 

Eligible Participants

Qualified nominees must be a non-student, non-instructional faculty employee of William & Mary or one of the contractors providing auxiliary services to the university. 


All William & Mary personnel are encouraged to consider Charles and Virginia Duke's long and devoted service to William & Mary as they reflect on the nominations.

An individual nomination will consist of:

  • A completed form by the nominator.
  • A maximum of three supporting letters speaking to the nominees individual contributions to the university. 
    • The supporting letters should not come from the person submitting the nomination form.
    • Supporting letters are not required.
    • A supporting letter can be signed by more than one person. 
    • NOTE: Do not include information about the nominees personal life outside the university. 

The nominations should be reflective of the university's diversified workforce and consideration should be given to all employees who have made outstanding individual contributions. 


The award will be presented to the recipient by the President of William & Mary at a reception in their honor.

The recipient of the award will be presented with a plaque, a cash award and a booklet describing Charles and Virginia Duke's extraordinary service to William & Mary.

A permanent plaque containing the name of the recipients of the Duke Award will be placed in the Sadler Center.

The recipient of the award will be listed in the program and recognized at Commencement each May.