The Deanship


Luke A. Powery, Baptist (Progressive National Baptist Convention), Dean of Duke Chapel (2012–present)


Samuel M. Wells, Church of England, Dean of Duke Chapel


Craig T. Kocher, United Methodist, Acting Dean of Duke Chapel and Director of Religious Life


William H. Willimon, United Methodist, Minister to the University (1984-89), Dean of Duke Chapel (1989-2004)

When Willimon took his Sabbatical leave during the 1995-96 academic year, the Rev. Debra Brazzel, a United Methodist, served as the Acting Dean of Duke Chapel.


Charlene Kammerer, United Methodist, Acting Minister to the University


Robert T. Young, United Methodist, Minister to the University

Young was given the title Minister to the University per a 1972 campus committee recommendation. When he resigned in 1983, he received the title Dean of the Chapel.


Elmer O. Hall, United Methodist, Acting Chaplain to the University


W. Harvey Floyd, Jr., Methodist, Acting Chaplain to the University and Director of Religious Life


Barney L. Jones, Methodist, Chaplain to the University and Director of Religious Life


James H. Phillips, Methodist, Chaplain to the University and Director of Religious Life

In 1950-51, Phillips was appointed the first Chaplain to the University. His administrative responsibilities encompassed both religious activities on campus as well as all Chapel services.


The Administrative Committee of Duke Chapel

In 1948, then-Dean of the Chapel Franklin S. Hickman proposed that the title itself be abolished, due to budgetary constraints and a reduction in the Chapel’s administrative functions. Hickman received approval to form an administrative committee that  would assume the Dean’s duties. From 1948-1950, the committee consisted of Hickman, James T. Cleland and Dr. Harold Bosley, a Methodist, all of whom were given the title Preacher to the University. Hickman and Cleland continued to serve in that capacity until 1952, when Hickman took a sabbatical leave.


James T. Cleland, Presbyterian, Preacher to the University and later Dean of Duke Chapel

Although he never became the Chapel’s administrative head, Cleland was prominent in the life of the Chapel throughout his career at Duke. Cleland is currently the only former preacher of Duke Chapel whose ashes are interred in the Chapel vault.


Franklin S. Hickman, Methodist, Dean of Duke Chapel

With the formation of an interdenominational Congregation approved in 1937, Hickman was officially recommended and named the first Dean of Duke Chapel in 1938.


Elbert Russell, Quaker, Preacher to the University


Franklin S. Hickman, Methodist, Preacher to the University