Calvin Duncan was one of only four that graduated from Maryville College in 1871, the first post-bellum class.
An undersized youth, Calvin attended his first day of class at Maryville and was promptly told by the other students to leave because it was clear he was too young to be at the College. His response, which is echoed in the CDS motto was simple but telling, "I came here to stay. This is my school." It was his school indeed.
After graduation he served his Alma Mater as a tutor for two years and was named a College director after only one year post-graduation.
In 1876, Calvin graduated from Lane Theological Seminary after three years of study. He was ordained as a Presbyterian minister and served churches in Jonesboro, Tenn., Harriman, Tenn., and Magdalena, NM. He also had a long period of service as the Synodical Superintendent for Tennessee.
He received a D.D. degree from Maryville in 1893 and a Doctor of Laws in 1928.
As a director of the College, Calvin Duncan provided leadership during key periods of Maryville's history. From issues of racial integration to installing presidents, he helped clarify the character of Maryville College after the Civil War. His commitment was lifelong. He once wrote that the best he could provide service to MC was to "love the dear old College, and in my heart be loyal to her."
Upon his death in 1933, Calvin Duncan was both the oldest living director of the College as well as the oldest living alum.
His participation in the life and health of Maryville College, his determination to make Maryville a stronger institution, and his devotion to his Alma Mater are all hallmarks that are carried on through the Calvin Duncan Society.