Laurie L. Patton
Dean of Arts & Sciences (2011-2015)
Laurie Patton was the dean of Trinity College of Arts & Sciences from 2011-2015. Patton came to Duke in 2011 from Emory, where she was the Charles Howard Candler professor of religions and inaugural director of Emory’s Center for Faculty Development and Excellence in the office of the Provost. While at Emory, Patton served as chair of the religion department from 2000-07, founded and co-convened the Religions and the Human Spirit Strategic Plan, and received the Emory Williams Award—Emory’s most prestigious honor for teaching—in 2005.
In her first three years at Duke, with her Arts & Sciences team, Patton has developed Duke’s first university-wide course, sponsored the creation of the first and only global advising program in the country, and launched an initiative in public scholarship. She has also established a grant fund to encourage collaboration and course development by faculty, including on-line innovations, launched an initiative to further the work of women and minorities in the STEM fields, and co-convenes a committee to think through Liberal Arts in China, particularly focused on Duke’s educational programs at Duke Kunshan University in Kunshan, China.
A graduate of Harvard (BA) and the University of Chicago (Ph.D.), Patton is an accomplished scholar and the author or editor of nine books on South Asian history, culture, and religion. In addition, she has translated the classical Sanskrit text, The Bhagavad Gita, and has published two books of poetry. She has lectured widely on interfaith issues and religion and public life, and consulted with White House offices on faith-based initiatives as well as on civic engagement. In her capacity as a scholar of culture and society she has also worked as a consultant on branding and identity for several national and international corporations. In May 2014 she was named the Alumna of the Year for 2014-15 at the University of Chicago.