ONCE upon a time, so the story goes, Duke University wanted to hire a famous scholar. Since it had a good deal of money, it offered a dazzling price, then sat back and waited for results. Sure enough, the famous scholar was too tempted to refuse. "Accept with pleasure," he replied, "but where is Duke University?"

In its 30 years as a university, Duke has suffered more than its share of taunts. Created almost overnight by the great Duke (Bull Durham, Lucky Strike) tobacco fortune, it arrived, like Cinderella, dressed for the ball. But...

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