Growing Sarah P. Duke Gardens

Sarah P. Duke Gardens is often referred to as “the heart of Duke University.” It’s an extraordinary and vibrant place that connects and inspires students, faculty, and visitors from all over the world. The Gardens has been an invaluable part of Duke for the last 75 years and is well recognized as a world-class botanic garden. It’s no wonder that Duke Gardens attracts more than 300,000 visitors each year!

The Garden Gateway Project

In order to continue to welcome, educate, and inspire while at the same time keep up with the growing number of visitors, Duke Gardens’ entrance will be enhanced. The goals of the Garden Gateway Project are to create a more welcoming point of entry, enhance visitor amenities, enrich the student experience, and position the Gardens for years to come.

The project is estimated to cost $30 million. Some of the planned improvements include: enhancing 8,000 square feet of existing space, construct a 25,000 square foot addition, and create new outdoor spaces.

Gifts to the Garden Gateway Project will support:

  • A visitor entry pavilion, including lobby, café, restrooms, and gift shop
  • An event lawn for concerts and other activities
  • An enlarged events hall
  • An entry plaza with gardens and water features
  • A rooftop terrace
  • Conference/breakout rooms
  • A catering kitchen, bridal lounge, and events office
  • Additional classrooms and restrooms
  • A redesigned main parking lot with sustainable features
  • Offices


To date, we have raised $7.1 million to support the Gateway project since the initiative began in 2014. While a tentative goal of starting construction has been targeted for 2019,  we need you help to make that happen! There are many ways to get involved. Please consider making a gift to Duke Gardens or becoming a volunteer.

Support the Gardens through a planned gift

A planned gift to Duke Gardens may allow you to do more than you thought possible. Through a deferred gift—such as a bequest, a retirement account designation, or other testamentary gift— you may be able to satisfy your own personal goals while creating lasting support to a campus treasure.

For more information about the Garden Gateway project or Sarah P. Duke Gardens, please contact:

Bill LeFevre, Executive Director, at (919) 668-3604 or by email at

Kate Senner, Director of Development & Major Gifts, at (919) 684-5579 or by email at

TAGS: Gardens Gateway Project Sarah P. Duke Gardens

About the author

Gift Planning

Duke University’s Office of Gift Planning specializes in charitable gift planning for estates, charitable trusts and annuities, and other complex current and future gift plans.

For more information, please contact the Duke University Office of Gift Planning.