Robert Lee Flowers was a native of Alexander County who went on to serve as president of Duke University. He served an uninterrupted 52 years at Trinity College and its successor Duke University. In 1891, he began his career at Trinity College as a mathematics instructor before receiving tenure in 1894. He added the distinction of Vice-President of Duke University in 1925. In 1941, after the death of former President Dr. Few, Dr. Flowers was appointed President of the University.