Duke University is a private research university located in Durham, North Carolina, United States. Founded by Methodists and Quakers in the present-day town of Trinity in 1838, the school moved to Durham in 1892. In 1924, tobacco and electric power industrialist James B. Duke established The Duke Endowment, at which time the institution changed its name to honor his deceased father, Washington Duke.
The university has "historical, formal, on-going, and symbolic ties" with the United Methodist Church whereby 24 of 36 University Trustees are elected at the United Methodist Church conference, but is a nonsectarian and independent institution. Duke's research expenditures in the 2010 fiscal year topped $983 million, the fifth largest figure in the nation. Competing in the Atlantic Coast Conference, Duke's athletic teams—known as the Blue Devils—have captured 13 team national championships, including four by its high profile men's basketball team.
The university's campus spans over 8,600 acres (35 km2) on three contiguous campuses in Durham as well as a marine lab in Beaufort. Duke's main campus—designed largely by African American architect Julian Abele—incorporates Gothic architecture with the 210-foot (64 m) Duke Chapel at the campus' center and highest point of elevation. The forest environs surrounding parts of the campus belie the University's proximity to downtown Durham. Construction projects have updated both the freshmen-populated Georgian-style East Campus and the main Gothic-style West Campus, as well as the adjacent Medical Center over the past five years.