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Jan. 27, 2003 -- No. 48

Duke, Carolina scholars switch campuses for the first time -- during basketball season

Just imagine being a Duke University student living on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill -- or vice versa -- during basketball season.

It may sound dangerous, given the schools' intense competition on the court through the years. But 28 students are doing just that this semester, for the first time in history, in the only program of its kind nationwide.

The Robertson Scholars Program, begun in 2001, admits about 30 outstanding students each year, half to Duke and half to Carolina. The scholars will graduate from the campuses at which they enrolled, but they take courses at both. And they are required to live on the other campus in the spring semester of their sophomore years.

Therefore, members of the program's first class have just switched campuses -- just in time for the first showdown this season between the arch rival Tar Heels and Blue Devils, Feb. 5, in Duke's Cameron Indoor Stadium. The re-match will be March 9 in Chapel Hill.

The unusual situation presents a number of story ideas for the media, a few of which are listed below:

· Study abroad 11 miles down the road: Scholars can discuss how they overcame culture shock and what similarities and differences they have found between the two campuses.

· Duke Scholar Crystal Sanders (914-2253, crs@duke.edu) is rooming with her sister, Natalie Sanders, a UNC Morehead Scholar. The Morehead program at Carolina is another of the nation's most prestigious four-year merit-based scholarships for undergraduates. The Sanders sisters, who are African-American, are from Clayton, N.C.

· Duke Scholar Randall Drain Jr. of Philadelphia (914-3052, rtd2@duke.edu) will continue to compete on Duke’s lacrosse team while living at UNC.

· UNC-Chapel Hill Scholars Melissa Anderson, Britt Peck, Heavenly Johnson, Samantha Fernandez, Ché Ramos and Johanna Rankin returned from study abroad in December (Anderson was in China; the rest were in South Africa) and moved almost immediately into another foreign environment -- Duke. Contact information: Anderson, 613-0675, melissaa@email.unc.edu; Peck, 613-2059, bmpeck@email.unc.edu; Johnson, 613-1348, heavenlj@email.unc.edu; Fernandez, 613-2763, scfernan@email.unc.edu; Ramos, 613-1181, afronaut@email.unc.edu; Rankin, 613-1349, jcrankin@email.unc.edu.

· The upcoming Duke/UNC game poses a dilemma for the scholars in choosing which team to support.

· Duke Scholar Rachel Heath’s (914-4804, rmh6@duke.edu) mother earned her master's degree in public health at UNC; her father completed his law and master's degrees at Duke. Dynamics on the home front, which is in Durham, may be especially interesting during basketball season.

· Duke Scholar Chris Paul (914-4032, cjp2@duke.edu), whose hometown is Chapel Hill, rooms with UNC varsity football player Leon Scroggins. They share an interest in the Japanese language.

Reporters also may contact Dr. Eric Mlyn, program director, at (919) 843-7506 for overviews of the program and its first experience with the sophomore switch. Mlyn can provide contact information for additional scholars, as well as cite academic and research collaborations by Duke and UNC that flourish despite the better-known sports rivalry. For more information, visit www.robertsonscholars.org.

Collaboration between the two universities has been greatly enhanced by the Robertson Scholars Program, which is funded by a $24 million endowment gift from Julian and Josie Robertson announced in June 2000. The four-year merit-based scholarship covers tuition, room and living expenses at UNC and tuition at Duke. Robertson Scholars come together for special seminars taught by faculty of both universities, study-abroad opportunities, internships, research projects, service-learning programs and a full semester in residence at the other campus. The program runs a free express bus between Duke and UNC and offers collaboration grants to faculty and students at each university to support joint programs between the two universities.

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News Services contacts:
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Keith Lawrence, (print) (919) 681-8059 and Cabell Smith (broadcast), (919) 681-8067
UNC: L.J. Toler (print) and Karen Moon (broadcast), (919) 962-2091