I recently attended my family’s biennial reunion. Every two years, the extended family on my dad’s side gathers at a central location to reconnect, to reminisce, and to celebrate those who have gone before us. This year the reunion was in Durham, North Carolina. Though our family is from South Carolina, education and career opportunities have taken a critical mass of our relatives to the Raleigh-Durham area. This area is also known as the Research Triangle, and it’s the home of Duke University, North Carolina State University, North Carolina Central University, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
The Research Triangle has one of the highest concentrations of PhD.s of any region in the U.S. Despite its current identity, evidence of the area’s agricultural roots is everywhere you look. This drawing depicts a gentleman I noticed during a trip to a local mall. For the background, I modified a 19th-century blueprint of a tobacco barn. Old barns dot the whole region, and I enjoy the challenge of reconciling the higher education-based economy today with the tobacco and cotton plantations in its past.