About Paul Duke
In June of 2016, the Gwinnett County Board of Education approved the name of the new theme high school in the Norcross Cluster as the Paul Duke STEM High School. The school is named after Paul A. Duke, a real estate developer who founded Peachtree Corners Inc. and the planned community of the same name. This visionary leader, who passed away in 2009, was known as the "Father of Peachtree Corners" and was one of the organizers of Technology Park.
Duke’s name is on a Lifetime Achievement Award given to individuals who have generously given of their time, energy, and efforts to improve the quality of life in Peachtree Corners over numerous years. In the 1970s, he created a 500-acre office park near the current high school location with plans to attract engineering firms to the area so graduates of Georgia Tech wouldn’t leave Georgia for jobs in other states. It is still a home for high-tech companies, according to Peachtree Corners officials.
Duke, who died in 2009 at 84, attended Druid Hills and Atlanta Boys High schools and earned dual bachelor’s degrees from Georgia Tech in mechanical engineering and industrial engineering. A member of the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame, Duke was an All-American center under football coach Bobby Dodd, and was a captain of his first team in 1945, according to Duke’s obituary. He also played a year of professional football in New York. He received Georgia Tech’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 1982 and the President’s Award in 1987.
Duke’s obituary also said “he saw great promise in Gwinnett County, and for three decades he focused his very active professional life there.” He was a past president of the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce, founding president of The Community Foundation for Northeast Georgia, and past chairman of Teachers-as-Leaders in Gwinnett. In 1985, he was named Gwinnett’s Citizen of the Year. Duke was a former elder and lifelong member of North Avenue Presbyterian Church.
Duke was credited with organizing the southern division of the L.B. Foster Company, and moved division headquarters to Gwinnett where he served as CEO, vice president and director until early 1968.