August 27, 2001

Contact: Mike McFarland (UNC) (919) 962-8593
Keith Lawrence (Duke) (919) 681-8059


On Friday, Aug. 31, officials from Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will officially launch an express bus service that runs at regular intervals between the two campuses.

The event, which is open to the media, begins at 9:30 a.m. in front of Duke Chapel, where UNC Chancellor James Moeser and Duke President Nannerl O. Keohane will make brief remarks. Then, after a ribbon-cutting ceremony, administrators, students, faculty, employees -- and perhaps even school mascots -- of both universities will board the bus and ride the 10.7-mile route to the Morehead Planetarium lot in Chapel Hill, where a small reception will be held at the James M. Johnston Center for Undergraduate Excellence, which houses the Robertson Scholars office. The media are welcome to ride the bus and interview the other riders. The event is expected to conclude around 11 a.m.

The bus service is available to students, faculty and employees of both universities who have proper identification. It is initially set to run every 30 to 40 minutes between the two campuses from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Friday; from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and from noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. The buses can accommodate passengers who use wheelchairs or scooters.

The $340,000 cost of the bus service is fully funded by the private gift that created the new Robertson Scholars Program, a collaborative academic program between Duke and UNC that begins this fall with 30 first-year undergraduate students. The unique program calls for the Robertson Scholars -- there will be 15 new scholars at UNC each year and an equal number at Duke -- to take classes at both campuses and to spend a semester living on the other campus. The program provides full tuition, room and living stipends at UNC and full tuition at Duke. It also provides laptop computers to all students in the program, special seminars in the scholars’ freshman and senior years to be taught by faculty from both campuses, access to service learning opportunities, a pre-enrollment retreat and bi-weekly dinners during the fall semester to encourage acclimation to the cultures of both campuses and three summers of support for service, travel and research. Each student also has access to the institutions’ complementary programs as well courses that are not available on their home campus.

Please contact Mike McFarland at UNC or Keith Lawrence at Duke to make arrangements to cover the event.

More information about the Robertson Scholars Program can be found at