Two Women Who Are the Inaugural Holders of New Endowed Chairs

Pheme Perkins is the inaugural Joseph Professor of Catholic Spirituality in the department of theology at Boston College. She has taught at Boston College since 1972. Dr. Perkins was the first woman to serve as president of the Catholic Biblical Association of America. She is the author of several books including Gnosticism and the New Testament (Fortress Press, 1993).

Professor Perkins is a graduate of St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland. She holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. from Harvard University.

Rhonda Williams was named the inaugural holder of the John L. Seigenthaler Chair in American History at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. She was a professor of history and the founder and director of the Social Justice Institute at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. She joined the faculty there in 1997. Professor Williams is the author of The Politics of Public Housing: Black Women’s Struggles Against Urban Inequality (Oxford University Press, 2004) and Concrete Demands: The Search for Black Power in the 20th Century (Routledge, 2015).

Professor Williams is a graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park. She was the first African American to be salutatorian in the university’s history. Dr. Williams earned a Ph.D. in history from the University of Pennsylvania.

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