“A Joyful Day”: Dedicating the Wilkinson Building

November 17, 2021

More than 200 well-wishers gathered Saturday, November 13 to celebrate the opening of Duke Engineering’s new Wilkinson Building

Wilkinson family with sign outside building

The Wilkinson family (left-right): Heather Wilkinson Deguire ’98; Bev Wilkinson P’98, P’00, P’03; Jerry Wilkinson BSEE

A beautiful fall weekend brought about a long-awaited public celebration of Duke Engineering’s new Wilkinson Building, one full year after the 150,000-square-foot space first opened in the midst of the COVID pandemic.

More than 200 alumni and friends, faculty, students and staff turned out Saturday, November 13 for the formal dedication ceremony, which recognized the naming of the building in honor of longtime supporters Jerry C. and Beverly A. Wilkinson and their family and honored the many donors whose generous contributions made the facility possible.

“Today is a joyful and historic day,” said Duke University President Vincent E. Price in opening remarks at the ceremony. “This extraordinary building reflects our long legacy of first-class engineering education and our commitment to the future of engineering at Duke. Already, you can walk through these doors and see our students, faculty, and researchers hard at work inventing the 21st century. We are so grateful to all of you for making that happen here, at Duke.”

“Already, you can walk through these doors and see our students, faculty, and researchers hard at work inventing the 21st century.”

Vincent E. Price
Duke University President

In addition to remarks from Price and Provost Sally Kornbluth, former dean of engineering Ravi Bellamkonda and interim dean Jeff Glass, Jerry Wilkinson shared the story of his nearly 60-year engagement with engineering at Duke University, beginning as a 17-year-old freshman on a need-based scholarship. Now the founder and chairman of the Wilkinson Companies, Jerry and his wife, Bev, have a long history of philanthropy and service in support of Duke Engineering, and are parents of three daughters who are also Duke alumnae. (Read: Duke’s New Engineering Building Named to Honor Wilkinson Family).

Following the dedication, Duke Engineering students and faculty led tours to showcase the Wilkinson Building’s education, research and entrepreneurship spaces, and art collection. See below for highlights of the day, and visit pratt.duke.edu/Wilkinson21 for a virtual tour.

masked people filling the auditorium

Vincent Price at podium and other speakers seated in background

Ravi Bellamkonda presents framed photo to Jerry Wilkinson

speakers standing together

Jerry Willkinson with guests in lobby

guests pick up gifts in lobby

Celebrating in the Wilkinson Building lobby

Wilkinson family with portrait in lobby

woman stands near wall with portrait and lettering

man and woman with sign outside building and Chapel in background

guest with faculty in lab

students, faculty and guests in lab

student, Bev Wilkinson and guests in Christensen Family Center

group of guests with faculty member on tour

guests with faculty in Design Health space

Students and faculty hosted tours of the Wilkinson Building

Duke stone wall with donor names