Dr. Jane Dammen McAuliffe ’66, Director of National and International Outreach at Library of Congress and the former president of Bryn Mawr College, will be the speaker at Trinity’s Commencement on May 21. She will be awarded an honorary doctor of laws. “Dr. McAuliffe is an outstanding Trinity alumna who has lived Trinity’s ideals of intellectual and academic excellence, leadership on behalf of women and all people who strive for a more peaceful planet, and a commitment to bridging religious and cultural differences to strengthen our society,” said President Patricia McGuire.
Trinity’s Commencement will be held on Saturday, May 21, at 4:00 p.m. McAuliffe will be presented with an honorary doctor of letters for her exemplary academic and intellectual leadership and her commitment to interfaith dialogues.
McAuliffe was the eight president of Bryn Mawr College prior to joining the Library of Congress where she first headed the Kluge Center. Prior to taking the presidency at Bryn Mawr College, McAuliffe was the first woman to be the dean of Georgetown College at Georgetown University. Previously she was a scholar on the faculties of the University of Toronto, and Emory University. She also served on Trinity’s Board of Trustees. In addition to her degree in classics and philosophy from Trinity, she holds a master of arts and doctorate in Islamic Studies from the University of Toronto.
Recognized in 2009 by Forbes magazine as one of the top “barrier breakers” among women presidents in the country, McAuliffe led the creation of a 10-year strategic plan for Bryn Mawr College, focusing on developing a global presence for the historic women’s college and developing programs in international affairs and environmental studies. She worked closely with Haverford and Swarthmore Colleges, among others, in establishing strong partnerships in Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
A nationally renowned Islamic Scholar who has received fellowships and awards from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Humanities, McAuliffe has made her mark in the scholarship and pedagogy of Islamic Studies. She has published extensively on the Qur’an including “Qur’anic Christians: An Analysis of Classical and Modern Exegesis,” “Cambridge Companion to the Qur’an” and “Encyclopaedia of the Qur’an.” Most recently, she edited and contributed to “The Norton Anthology of World Religions.”
As a scholar and leader devoted to Muslim-Christian dialogue and the advancement of women around the world, McAuliffe exemplifies Trinity’s values as a university rooted in the Catholic and Christian faith tradition with a special commitment to the advancement of women and social justice. In her own career, McAuliffe has demonstrated the vision and courage necessary to break barriers with persistence, style and grace, and excellence in all that she has done in every position.
“As the former president of Bryn Mawr College, one of the ‘seven sisters’ among the nation’s great women’s colleges, Dr. McAuliffe made a special contribution to strengthening women’s colleges in an era of challenge for this kind of university,” said President McGuire. “I was honored when she invited me to offer remarks at her inauguration, and in that text I noted that the great 19th-century president of Bryn Mawr, M. Carey Thomas, was a great help to the Sisters of Notre Dame when they reached out for advice and assistance in the founding of Trinity.
President McGuire added: “Dr. McAuliffe and the Class of 1966 will have their 50th Reunion this year on June 3-4, during which time Trinity will also dedicate the new academic center. In her current position as one of the highest ranking officials at the Library of Congress, she will be helpful to us as Trinity starts the next phase of campus development, part of which will include envisioning the future of the library.”