The American Academy of Religion's Committee on the Public Understanding of Religion is pleased to announce Winnifred Fallers Sullivan (JD’76, PhD’93 and a former Divinity School Dean of Students) as the recipient of the 2017 Martin E. Marty Award for the Public Understanding of Religion. Sullivan is professor of religious studies and affiliate professor of law at Indiana University Bloomington. She is widely known for her critical studies of American law and jurisprudence about religion. Her public scholarship on religion and her work as an expert witness have had an important impact in courtrooms, prisons, military units, and government offices from city halls to the State Department.
Teresa Hord Owens (MDiv'03), Dean of Students in the Divinity School, was elected to serve as the General Minister and President of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada. She is the first African-American to hold this post and the second woman to lead the denomination.
Hord Owens comes to the position in a time of renewed emphasis on the issues of race, particularly in the United States. Her election comes on the 50th anniversary of the Merger Agreement uniting the African-American and largely white branches of the American-born denomination. She is currently pastor of a predominately white congregation in the Chicago area.
“We need to stop demonizing differences as deficiencies,” Hord Owens says. “We should seek to understand, to work through our differences in priorities, opinions, methods, and goals. This will not be easy, but imagine what an example this will be for the world if we can bridge the gaps in politics, identity, geography and theology.” Read our full story.
Jamil Khoury (AMRS'92) has been selected by the Diversity Leadership Council to receive the 2017 Diversity Leadership Award for University of Chicago Alumni.
The University of Chicago's Diversity Leadership Council was appointed by President Robert J. Zimmer in 2007 to help ensure that the University’s relationships with its staff, surrounding neighborhoods, and business partners appropriately reflect the University’s commitment to diversity as part of its core mission. As part of its role, the Diversity Leadership Council recognizes annually a University of Chicago alumna/us who has provided leadership in advancing social justice and equity, furthering the University’s goal of achieving greater diversity across our community and society.
Mr. Khoury was recognized on January 9th in Ida Noyes Hall. University President Robert J. Zimmer conferred the award, saying, "Jamil has worked tirelessly to challenge stereotypical narratives against Asian, Middle Eastern, and Muslim Americans. He has created opportunities for writers, artists, and performers of color to bring their stories and craft to the stage. As an alumnus of this university, his use of the arts to counter dominant narratives, to educate the community, and to promote inclusion and social justice for underrepresented groups exemplifies the values of the university and its commitment to diversity and inclusion."
Also recognized were Rudy Nimocks (Diversity Leadership Staff Award) and Margaret Beale Spencer (Diversity Leadership Faculty Award).
photo credit: Malik Gillany, Silk Road Rising
Phyllis D. Airhart (MA'81; PhD'85) is the winner of the 2016 Book Prize from the CSSR/SCÉR (Canadian Society for the Study of Religion) for A Church with the Soul of a Nation: Making and Remaking the United Church of Canada. The annual award recognizes an outstanding monograph in the field of Religious Studies. Airhart is Professor of the History of Christianity at Emmanuel College in the University of Toronto and cross-appointed to the Department for the Study of Religion.
Ralph Keen (PhD'90) was named President-Elect of the American Society of Church History at the 2017 meeting in Denver. Ralph is professor of history, Schmitt Chair in Catholic Studies, and dean of the Honors College at the University of Illinois at Chicago.