Neither torrential rains nor flickering power outages could deter the dedication of the Dr. James “Red” Duke Elementary School Sept. 7 in Manvel.
The 15th elementary campus in the Alvin ISD, the school was named in honor of Duke, professor of surgery and holder of the John B. Holmes Professor in the Clinical Sciences and founder and medical director of Memorial Hermann Life Flight.
Names for new Alvin ISD schools are submitted by community members and then reviewed by the naming committee of the school board.
“This school is named for one of my heroes,” said Pearland Mayor Tom Reid. “He has done so many special things.”
Accompanied by his daughter Dr. Sara Duke and her husband, Charles King, Duke was celebrated by a performance of the Alvin ISD Elementary Musical Cast; a presentation of the colors by local Boy Scouts; numerous welcomes and speeches from community and school leaders; as well as personal sentiments delivered by Dr. Gregg Knape, whose wife was a patient of Dr. Duke’s; and Craig Cordola, CEO, Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center.
“It’s hard to put into words the impact Dr. Duke has made on this community and the world,” said Cordola, associate dean for hospital affairs and community partnerships. “He is the most popular and famous person walking through the halls at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center.”
“This school is named after a great man who has left his mark on history,” said Fulvia Shaw, principal of Duke Elementary. “All of our students will know Dr. Duke and all that he stands for.”
This recipient of numerous accolades, Duke received his medical degree from The University of Texas Southwestern Medical School and joined McGovern Medical School faculty in 1972.
I’m such a fortunate man,” Duke told the audience. “I honestly do not know why I would have the honor to have this school named for me. I am humbled beyond words. I’m enthusiastic about what it represents.”
Cheryl Harris, school board president, Alvin ISD, presented the key to the school to Duke, in honor of his contributions to medicine and the educational process and invited him to visit the school anytime.
-Darla Brown, Office of Communications, Medical School