Former Duke University president Keith Brodie dies at 77

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Keith Brodie

H. Keith H. Brodie, a former Duke University president who guided the school's development into a nationally known research institution, has died. He was 77.

The university's news service said Brodie died Friday, though it offered no other details. Also Friday, the school announced Vincent Price, the chief academic officer at the University of Pennsylvania, would become Duke's next president.

Brodie, a professor emeritus of psychiatry, served as Duke's seventh president, succeeding Terry Sanford. During his tenure, from 1985 until 1993, applications to Duke's undergraduate and graduate schools increased. The university also launched programs to recruit and retain minority faculty and added new academic initiatives, including a School of the Environment.

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"Keith Brodie's term as president of Duke from 1985 to 1993 saw the beginning of Duke's rise to national recognition and reputation," president Richard Brodhead said. "The initiatives Keith championed became signature qualities of Duke and remain part of our university's values today, including an emphasis on interdisciplinary scholarship, investments in medical research, and a commitment to a diverse and inclusive faculty and student body."

Brodie said in a 2004 interview that he had not planned on becoming a university president.

"If you knew you were going to suddenly end up there, (you) might have taken a little course in finance or speechwriting or public relations to get ready," Brodie said. "As a chemist I was not really equipped. But I learned. It worked out, but it was quite challenging."

A recreation center on Duke's East Campus bears the name of Brodie and his wife, Brenda.

"Duke University lost one of its long-standing pillars with the passing of a truly exceptional man, Dr. Keith Brodie, who I, along with so many others, loved dearly," said Mike Krzyzewski, Duke basketball coach. "He was a mentor and role model to many of us. Dr. Brodie's guidance, wisdom, compassion and, most importantly, his deeply felt friendship had an immeasurable impact on countless people at Duke and within our basketball program.

"Personally, Dr. Brodie was the best man I've ever known at Duke," Krzyzewski added. "He was embraced by the entire Krzyzewski family, and always made us feel like we were a part of his as well. Both our immediate and basketball families are deeply saddened by this loss, and we extend our sincerest sympathy to his wife Brenda and their wonderful family."

Brodhead also noted that Duke's first national championships in men's soccer (1986) and men's basketball (1991 and 1992) -- "accomplishments that signaled Duke's commitment to excellence and helped to put Duke on the map nationally" -- occurred during Brodie's presidency.

The school said information about memorial services for Brodie will come later.

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