Jane Dammen McAuliffe
Friday, May 24, 2019
Jane Dammen McAuliffe
Doctor of Humane Letters
World-renowned scholar of Islam. Innovative educator. Prolific and insightful author. Champion of women’s rights.
Jane McAuliffe, you are a widely admired educator who has dedicated her career to cultivating meaningful dialogue between Muslims and Christians, promoting global education and advancing women around the world.
Your story is one of setting standards and achieving the highest goals. After graduating with a degree in philosophy and theology from Trinity Washington University, you pursued your Ph.D. in Islamic Studies from the University of Toronto, driven by a desire to learn more about a major world religion and an important area of human culture. Your dissertation revealed the rich vein of knowledge to be mined in comparative explorations of Islam and Christianity and was recognized as exceptional by the Middle East Studies Association.
You employed your newfound knowledge as a professor at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology and later at the University of Toronto as a professor and director of the Centre for the Study of Religion. You continued your distinguished activities at Georgetown University, where you were named the first woman dean of Georgetown College.
In 2008, you were named president of Bryn Mawr College. For the next five years, you led the institution through a vital period of growth, creating a 10-year, college-wide strategic plan; inaugurating a major in international studies; building university partnerships in Europe, the Middle East and Asia; and partnering with the U.S. Department of State to develop the Women in Public Service program. In 2009, Forbes Magazine recognized your remarkable efforts, naming you a top ‘barrier breaker’ among women presidents.
You retired from Bryn Mawr in 2013 and a year later joined the Library of Congress as one of its highest-ranking members. Initially the director of The John W. Kluge Center and head of the Library’s Office of Scholarly Programs, in 2015 you were appointed the inaugural Director of National and International Outreach, and you now serve as Senior Advisor to the Librarian of Congress.
Your groundbreaking scholarship and innovative approach to promoting the lifelong benefits of education have earned you numerous commendations. An elected member of the American Philosophical Society, the Council on Foreign Relations and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, you have received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Currently a Distinguished Fellow of Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs, you have also served as president of the American Academy of Religion and a member of the World Economic Forum’s GAC on Women’s Empowerment. For a decade, you worked to promote dialogue between Christians and Muslims through your tenure with the Vatican’s Commission for Religious Relations with Muslims.
Throughout your career, you have insightfully advocated for the causes closest to your heart: meaningful interfaith dialogue, thoughtful global education, and the empowerment of women.
That all may know of our great esteem for you and our strong support for your commitment to furthering our understanding of Islam and championing the importance of education and dialogue in advancing our world, the College of the Holy Cross confers upon you this day the degree, Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.