Daisy and Tim Lovelace were familiar with Durham and Durham Academy before they put down roots here in 2020. Both spent the spring semester of 2019 in Durham when they were visiting professors at Duke University.
“We loved our time in Durham and really got to know the community a bit,” Tim reflected.
The 2019–2020 academic year took them to Charlottesville and the University of Virginia, where they had both earned undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. Tim served as a visiting professor at Virginia’s law school, and Daisy taught in the undergraduate business school. But it wasn’t long before they were back in Durham.
Tim is a professor at Duke Law, where his scholarship focuses on how the U.S. civil rights movement shaped international human rights law. Daisy is an associate professor at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business, teaching courses in leadership and communication.
“We were considering offers from multiple schools, but we ended up choosing Duke because of our time [here] in the spring of 2019 and that we enjoyed the community so much,” Tim said. “When we moved back, it was in the middle of a pandemic. I would never recommend starting a new job during a pandemic but the fact that we had already been in Durham, and gotten to know the Duke community as well, really eased our transition.”
“We were also going through the interview process in other cities, at other schools, predominantly Chicago and Durham being the places where we were the most focused with the interviewing,” Daisy recalled. They also were looking at schools for their young daughter, Lillian, who interviewed at six preschools in different cities.
“We had a really good feeling about DA after going on our tour,” she said. “We had been in touch with people on the admissions team and they answered what we thought were perhaps tough questions. They did a really good job of making us understand the curriculum and the co-curricular opportunities at the school. I got a clear sense that there was care and concern about the whole child and her development, and that was something that was really important to us. And Lillian had a great time when she went for her interview.”
One of Daisy’s professors at UVA attended Durham Academy during the time the school was integrating in the 1960s and had shown her a photograph from her DA yearbook. “The kinds of stories you hear from literally everybody, different walks of life, really helped inform our decision.”
One of the things that really stood out for Tim were recommendations he received about Durham Academy from Duke Law colleagues whose children had gone to DA. “They spoke so highly of it and I think so highly of them, and so I felt like DA could be a great fit,” Tim said.
Lillian is now a kindergarten student at DA. Daisy said her daughter “is over the moon — she absolutely loves it.”
“She loves reading, and one of the things that she's really talked a lot about is being a library agent,” Tim said. “She came home with these wonderful sunglasses and with her arms crossed and she was a cool kid who was able to read. And then I saw a photo of the children in her classroom, all with sunglasses on, all posing as library agents.”
“She explained that that means that she has an important role in protecting books in not just their school library, but all libraries,” Daisy said. “And it's an undercover job. And so she's super thrilled about that. It seems as though her teachers [Sloan Nuernberger and Ashlee Bailey] have this ability to make everything about learning fun. So it seems as though it's very much an adventure with everything that they're doing, and she loves that.”
Academic life has taken the Lovelaces to Indiana University, Princeton University, the University of Virginia and Duke. “We lived in four states in four years at one point in time, and we're now just glad to get settled into a community,” Tim said.
An added benefit to being in Durham is that it geographically positions the Lovelaces between two sets of grandparents, “which has been wonderful for us and also for them and especially for Lillian,” Daisy said.
Tim grew up in Roanoke, Virginia, where his parents still live. Daisy’s father was in the Army, and she was born in Seoul, South Korea.
“I moved many times before we moved to South Carolina,” Daisy said. “But that's where my family lived the longest and that's where my parents live now.”
Weekends often find the family at Duke Gardens or exploring outdoors at the Museum of Life and Science. They also love to travel, both for pleasure and as part of their professional pursuits.
“We've been to London, we've been to Paris, Rome, Berlin, many places domestically,” Tim said. “We traveled a lot before the pandemic and Lillian came with us, often strapped to us in a carrier, but she was just a really great traveler.” She even went to the French Open several years ago and now is a big fan of tennis player Naomi Osaka.
The family is happy to be in Durham now and thrilled to have Lillian at Durham Academy and to be part of the DA community.
“We've felt really welcome,” Tim said. “I attended a Parents Association meeting and there were people who greeted me who I had not seen in person in some time. They remembered my name and they remembered who I was, and so that made me feel just really comfortable about being in this space.”
“Your children are your pride and joy,” Daisy said. “During the school year they spend more hours, more waking hours, at school than they do anywhere else. And for us, we take a lot of comfort in knowing where she is and who is with her.”