Skip to main content

Vincent Price Named Duke University's 10th President

Friday, December 2, 2016
By Duke Today
Vincent Price, Duke University's 10th President

This story originally appeared on Duke Today.

Vincent Price, provost of the University of Pennsylvania since 2009, has been elected Duke University’s tenth president, announced David Rubenstein, chair of the university’s Board of Trustees, on Friday.

In addition to being the chief academic officer at Penn, Price is the Steven H. Chaffee Professor of Communication in the Annenberg School for Communication and professor of political science in the School of Arts and Sciences.

Price, 59, was selected by Duke’s Board of Trustees Friday morning. He will succeed Richard H. Brodhead on July 1, 2017. Brodhead announced in April that he planned to step down after 13 years as president.

“I could not be more pleased with this decision, for Vince Price has demonstrated throughout his distinguished academic career the type of strong, effective and enlightened leadership which will ensure that Duke has a worthy successor to Dick Brodhead.”
- David Rubenstein 

Rubenstein called Price the ideal person to lead Duke into the next stage of its history.

“I could not be more pleased with this decision, for Vince Price has demonstrated throughout his distinguished academic career the type of strong, effective and enlightened leadership which will ensure that Duke has a worthy successor to Dick Brodhead,” Rubenstein said.

Rubenstein also praised the work of the presidential search committee, which was led by trustee Jack O. Bovender and by vice chair Ellen F. Davis, the Amos Ragan Kearns Distinguished Professor of Bible and Practical Theology.

“Jack Bovender, Ellen Davis and the entire search committee provided tireless and inspiring direction over the past several months, and the result is someone of whom the entire Duke community can be proud for his scholarly vision and executive leadership,” Rubenstein said. “Duke has been fortunate in its history to have had a tradition of gifted leaders and educators serve as president. As will be apparent to the members of the Duke community as they get to know him, Vince Price is certain to be within this long tradition.”

Price called Duke “a very special place where innovation is fueled by creativity, and continually informed by rigorous and groundbreaking scholarship. Most important, it’s a place deeply dedicated to improving our world through research, service and education.

“Dick Brodhead’s extraordinary leadership magnified these core values and brought Duke to the pinnacle of global universities. Now our collective challenge is to build upon and extend that work: to make Duke an ever more powerful voice for education and innovation, an ever more effective model for openness, diversity and inclusion, and an ever more engaged institution dedicated to identifying and solving the great challenges of society.”

Price added, “I am deeply honored to be a part of this most dynamic university, and I look forward to working with our faculty, students, staff, alumni and many friends around the world.”

Bovender, who led the 19-member search committee of trustees, faculty, students, administrators and alumni, said Price was the committee’s unanimous choice after an intensive international search.

“Our goal was to identify a leader whose wisdom, vision and intelligence could sustain Duke’s remarkable progress over the last decade and help the university fulfill its great ambitions. Vince Price is that person,” said Bovender, the vice chair of the trustees. “He is a transformative scholar, a dedicated educator and an experienced executive at a very complex institution not unlike Duke. His commitment to our values and to the mission of a great research university is inspiring. I could not be more excited to have him as our tenth president.”

Bovender also thanked the search committee members for taking part in what he described as “perhaps the most comprehensive and exhaustive search in Duke’s history. I am grateful to my colleagues on the search committee, who took their responsibilities seriously, and who made it possible for us to connect with many members of the Duke community, more than 100 nominees, 25 potential candidates and leaders in higher education across the country. We can all be proud of their work.”

Davis said the search committee found Price impressive on many levels.

“Vince is very strong in all the areas the committee judged to be most important for our next president: He is a scholar of note, clear and nuanced in thought and expression, who has distinguished himself in leadership at several outstanding universities,” Davis said. “Above all, Vince is widely known for his wisdom and deep personal integrity. All of us -- faculty, students and trustees -- feel both confidence and excitement as we anticipate his presidency.”

Price will be introduced to the Duke community Friday afternoon at a community event in Penn Pavilion on Duke’s West Campus. He will be accompanied by his wife Annette.

As the chief academic officer at Penn, Price oversees the university’s 12 schools and colleges, centers and institutes, student affairs, athletics and the arts. He has advanced initiatives to diversify the faculty, develop new forms of teaching and learning, enhance arts and culture on campus, and facilitate interdisciplinary research and teaching. 

He led Penn’s role as one of the first partners in Coursera, the online open learning platform, and served as founding chair of Coursera’s University Advisory Board. He also serves as a trustee of the Wistar Institute, a nonprofit biomedical research institute dedicated to saving lives through science, and on the executive planning group for University of Pennsylvania Health System.

Price has been the catalyst for Penn’s global strategy, hiring the university’s first vice provost for global initiatives and spearheading the creation of the Penn Wharton China Center in Beijing, which opened in 2015.

“Vince’s comfort with and in-depth knowledge of the myriad of issues facing higher education were impressive,” said search committee member Dr. Mary E. Klotman, professor and chair of the Department of Medicine. “He has a deep understanding and appreciation of the opportunities provided through strong alignment with an academic health system and medical school as a result of his leadership position at Penn.”

“Vince’s demonstrated commitment to the student experience impressed us all. He is an educator first, whose actions to promote diversity and inclusion have been thoughtful, powerful and effective.”
- Valerie Ashby 

Marcus Benning, T '14, L ’17, president of the Graduate & Professional Student Council and a search committee member, said he expects Price to be a strong advocate for students. “Vince has encountered curricular, social and cultural issues that impact students across all degree programs and he has demonstrated a willingness to build relationships with students and to consult students for advice and guidance on the issues that affect their lives. We are confident that he will leverage these past experiences, seek out diverse perspectives and build on Duke's culture of student engagement.”

Added search committee member Valerie Ashby, dean of Trinity College of Arts and Sciences, “Vince’s demonstrated commitment to the student experience impressed us all. He is an educator first, whose actions to promote diversity and inclusion have been thoughtful, powerful and effective.”

Price is a leading global expert on public opinion, social influence and political communication. His book “Public Opinion” (Sage, 1992) has been published in six languages and taught in courses around the world. His work has been widely cited on such topics as the impact of political polls, the effects of TV news coverage and the factors that shape public opinion. His research conducted with Annenberg colleague Joseph N. Cappella and funded by grants from the Pew Charitable Trusts, National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health has explored the increasingly important role of online discussion in shaping public knowledge and opinion.

Before being appointed provost, Price served at Penn as interim provost, associate provost for faculty affairs, chair of the Faculty Senate and associate dean of the Annenberg School.

“Duke has made an absolutely superb choice,” said Amy Gutmann, president of the University of Pennsylvania.  “No one is better prepared or more deserving than Vince to lead a distinguished university such as Duke. We at Penn are both proud and extremely happy for him, Annette and their family, even if our happiness is tinged with the sadness of our cherished colleague and friend departing from Penn come July 1.”

Added David L. Cohen, chair of the Penn trustees, “This is a bittersweet day for Penn as we have to say goodbye to a great academic leader, but also have the opportunity to congratulate Vince Price and Duke. To a person, every Penn trustee admires the leadership that Vince has brought in his role as provost at Penn. He has a passion for academic excellence, and a remarkable talent for building and leading highly effective teams in a large and complex environment. At Duke, he will be a president who will be accessible to deans, faculty, staff, students and alumni. I believe Vince is destined to lead Duke on a great path in the years ahead.”

Price is former editor-in-chief of “Public Opinion Quarterly,” the leading journal of public opinion research; former guest editor of both “Communication Research” and “Political Communication” and an active board member of several academic journals. He has taught as a visiting professor at the University of Paris-Sorbonne and the University of Amsterdam, and has delivered more than 100 presentations at universities and colloquia around the world.

His awards for teaching and research include the Robert M. Worcester Award from the World Association for Public Opinion Research, the K. Kyoon Hur Award from the International Communication Association, the Nafziger-White Award from the American Association in Journalism and Mass Communication and the Award of Recognition from the American Association of Public Opinion Research.

Price earned a Ph.D. (1987) and master’s degree (1985) in communication from Stanford University and graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor of arts degree in English from the University Honors Program at Santa Clara University in 1979. Before joining the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania in 1998, he was chair and associate professor of communication studies and a faculty associate of the Center for Political Studies at the University of Michigan.

Annette Price, also a graduate of Santa Clara University, has worked in event planning at the Annenberg Public Policy Center at Penn. A lifelong volunteer with school and civic organizations, she counts landscaping and gardening, cooking, cycling and hiking among her avocational passions.

The Prices have two children: Sarah, 27, a graduate student at the University of Arizona, and Alexander, 25, who lives in Devon, Pennsylvania. When the Prices move to Durham this summer, they will bring along their two dogs: Scout, an 8-year-old golden doodle, and Cricket, a 6-year-old labradoodle.