Dean Laurie Patton

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.

CV: Laurie Patton CV (pdf)

Patton in the News

Title Body
Address to Convocation of Advisors

Welcome to the Convocation of Advisors. The complexity and energy that goes into welcoming and guiding our students unfolds through the academic seasons like the diverse ecosystem that it is—in waves, in intricate relationships, sometimes visible and sometimes invisible, and always delicate, always restorative, as only forms of nature can be.

Graduation Address to the Program in Education

What is the nature of that influence? I think of you all as fellow tillers of the field, going into the same business that we all chose so many years ago—that of the care of intellectual souls. That is indeed the business of education—the care of intellectual souls.

Welcome to Blue Devil Days April 2013

We think Duke can provide the best possible environment for you to grow into the most magnificent, vibrant, and engaged person that you can possibly be.

Visiting with the Deceased: Customs Across Cultures - October 2012

Discussion of how different cultures remember and interact with their ancestors.

Inaugural Language Pedagogy Workshop - August 2012

Introduction to the language pedagogy workshop that focuses on using drama and performing arts techniques as a way to aid in foreign language acquisition.

Parents Welcome - Fall 2012

Welcome and orientation talk with parents of incoming freshmen.

Women in Philanthropy: Jewish Models and Stories to Inspire the Next Generation

Contextual discussion of different models of women's philanthropgy, given at the Annual Mosaic Women's Philanthropy Luncheon.

Blue Devil Days - April 2012

Welcome talk to students who have been accepted to Duke, and who are visiting the campus during Blue Devil Days.

Phi Beta Kappa Welcome - Spring 2012

Phi Beta Kappa is the oldest fraternal society in the United States, founded in 1776 as a society of friends dedicated to freedom.

Conversation on Race and Difference - April 2012

Discussion about race and difference that include reflection and evaluation help us all consciously choose and become who we want to be at Duke University.

Higher Ed: Who Can Afford It and Who Benefits From It? April 2012

Panel discussion of Dean Laurie Patton, Andrew Rosen of Kaplan, Inc. and George Leef, Director of the John William Pope Center for Higher Education.

Learning Legacies - Tribute to Emeritus Faculty - March 2011

The best legacies are ones that emerge from fiery passions that must burn strong over a lifetime. These are the fiery passions that may, for a time, attach themselves to institutions like Duke and help make them excellent.