"In a lot of ways, it was almost like a spectator sport. I think all of us would agree, when we went home for the summer, when we went on job interviews, that's all anyone wanted to talk about was Duke lacrosse," said Greg Beaton, the sports editor of the Duke student newspaper, The Chronicle.
A year later, there are no obvious signs the university's reputation has been tarnished.
Duke raised $342 million in 2006 — more than ever before. Applications for 2007 were down just 1 percent from a record high a year earlier.
"Who knows how this is going to be looked back upon at our 20th reunion, how we are going to kind of view the administration? We don't know," said Ryan McCartney, editor of the Chronicle.
Across town, and a world away, at North Carolina Central University — the school the accuser attends — there are concerns this is not a time for Duke to gloat.
"The perception (is) that the three defendants have been called to Raleigh for a big victory celebration and that is the wrong message to send. And it is not going to be something that is going to be well received, not only by the students here but by members of the African-American community," said North Carolina Central University law professor Irving Joyner.
In a statement, Duke's president says the school will learn from this experience and that he hopes it's a new day for all involved.