Skip to main content

Portrait of a pioneer

Tuesday, January 21, 2020
Brenda Armstrong portrait unveiling

“Brenda Armstrong was a passionate advocate for social justice and her life exemplified that commitment. She was passionate about people, especially young people, and she committed her life to helping ensure every person was valued, treated with respect, and offered opportunities to learn and prosper.”

With those words, Dr. Eugene Washington, chancellor for health affairs, Duke University; and president and CEO, DUHS, and Dr. Mary Klotman, dean of the Duke University School of Medicine, unveiled a portrait of Dr. Brenda Armstrong, a Duke pioneer who was among the first African-American undergraduates at Duke and who went on to help be one of the most influential contributors in expanding the diversity of the American physician workforce. Armstrong died in 2018.

A professor of pediatrics, Armstrong was associate dean for admissions and senior associate dean for student diversity, recruitment and retention in the Duke School of Medicine for more than two decades. In September, she was posthumously awarded the University Medal, Duke's highest honor.

“Brenda was a brilliant physician, educator, researcher, and mentor, and her many significant contributions improved the lives of countless people,” Klotman said.

The portrait will be soon placed in the Trent-Semans Center for Health Education. Read more about Armstrong’s life.


This article originally appeared on the Duke University School of Medicine website.