An Iconic Identity: Stories and Voices of Duke University Chapel
Special Services and Speakers
Duke Chapel helps the university mark significant events in the life of the school, the nation, and the world through many special services and speakers. In 1945, Duke Chapel held services to celebrate the end of World War II. It also provided space for lament and outcry during the Vietnam War, and welcomed a stunned and grieving nation in the wake of September 11, 2001. It is a place where the Duke community can unite to mourn and celebrate.
In addition to the many preachers and services that have taken place at the Chapel, Duke Chapel has cultivated a strong religious life program, which includes students from multiple denominations and faith communities, as well as a number of other services (both official and unofficial) that serve the University community.
Over the past eighty years, luminaries such as Maya Angelou, Desmond Tutu, and Billy Graham have spoken at the Chapel. Duke Chapel welcomed its first female preacher (Georgia Harkness) in 1939, its first Jewish rabbi (Morris Larzaron) in 1950, and its first African-American preacher (Samuel Proctor) in 1964. Many of the sermons from these famous preachers are available online.