Welcome Dr. Yolanda Pierce
May 31, 2017
Dear Howard University Community,
Please join me in welcoming the Rev. Dr. Yolanda Pierce to Howard University as Dean of the School of Divinity. The first woman to serve in this role in the Divinity School’s 150 year history, Dr. Pierce will provide academic and administrative leadership, vision, and oversight for graduate and professional programs in the School of Divinity. Dr. Pierce joins Howard University on July 24, 2017 and will report to Dr. Anthony Wutoh, Howard University Provost and Chief Academic Officer.
Dr. Pierce comes to Howard University from Princeton Theological Seminary where she had served in various roles including the Elmer C. Homrighausen Associate Professor of Religion and Literature and the Director of the Black Church Studies Program. Dr. Pierce’s research specialties include African American Religious History; Womanist Theology; African American Literature; and Race and Religion. While as a faculty member of Princeton Theological Seminary, Dr. Pierce concurrently served as the Lilly Endowment Curator & Director of the Center for the Study of African American Religious Life at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC).
Dr. Pierce’s most recent book (Hell Without Fires: Slavery, Christianity & the African American Spiritual Narrative) and forthcoming book (Religious Ecstasy & African American Cultural Expression) focus on the historical and contemporary significance of the African American religious tradition. Dr. Pierce has written over 50 essays and articles in academic and trade journals which consider the relationship between religion, faith, race, and gender in the American context. Her work can be found in a wide variety of publications, including: Time Magazine; The Christian Century; Theology Today; Southern Literary Journal; and Christianity & Literature.
Dr. Pierce earned her A.B. in English and Religion from Princeton University, two Masters degrees (English and Africana Studies), and a Ph.D. in Religion and Literature from Cornell University. A respected educator, Dr. Pierce is the recipient of various awards and acclamations, including “The Root 100” Most Influential African Americans, and the recipient of an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Livingstone College. Dr. Pierce is also an ordained Christian minister, with deep roots in the Church of God in Christ. As a community leader, Dr. Pierce maintains a highly visible public intellectual presence through frequent appearances on television, radio, and various social media.
We are fortunate to have Dr. Pierce bring her visionary leadership to the School of Divinity at Howard University. In addition, I want to thank Dr. Alton Pollard, III for his contributions as the Dean of the School of Divinity for the past decade. Dr. Pollard will take a well-deserved sabbatical over the next year, and then will return to the faculty of the School of Divinity.
Excellence in Truth and Service,
Wayne A. I. Frederick, M.D., MBA
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