The Duke Endowment commissioned the original bronze statue of James B. Duke in 1934 as a gift to Duke University. The sculptor, Charles Keck, chose a pensive pose, with Mr. Duke holding a walking stick in his right hand and the ever-present cigar in his left. Several thousand people attended the 1935 unveiling of the 8-foot-tall statue outside of Duke Chapel.
In 2014, workers from a foundry in Seagrove, N.C., created this bronze replica using a wax-filled rubber molding of the original statue. The new statue overlooks the Endowment's courtyard and is meant to serve as a reminder of Mr. Duke's vision for the Endowment and the Carolinas.