Explore Terry Sanford – the man, his life, and his legacy – through a series of short biographical films.
Terry Sanford, born in 1917, was one of North Carolina’s most prominent figures, dedicating his life to ethical leadership and public life.
As governor of North Carolina from 1961 to 1965, Sanford focused on strengthening education, combating poverty and expanding civil rights. During his tenure state expenditures for public schools nearly doubled. He supported desegregation at a time when other Southern politicians were continuing to fight it.
Sanford was later recognized as one of the 10 best governors of the 20th century.
In 1970, Sanford began his 15-year tenure as president of Duke University where he was widely credited with transforming the respected Southern campus into a world-class research institution.
While at Duke, he handled student sit-ins with openness and candor, inviting protesters into the president’s suite to discuss their grievances. He also founded the Institute for Policy Sciences and Public Affairs – later the Sanford School of Public Policy. The interdisciplinary program geared toward training future public leaders was among the first in the nation.
Sanford went on to serve one term as a U.S. Senator from 1987 to 1993. Following his Senate career, Sanford returned to Duke to teach and remained active in the public sphere.