The American Academy of Religion Honors Vanderbilt University’s Yolanda Pierce

Yolanda Pierce, who is the new dean of the Divinity School at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, has won the 2023 Martin E. Marty Award for the Public Understanding of Religion from the American Academy of Religion.

The Martin E. Marty Award is awarded to those who have made outstanding contributions to the public’s understanding of religion. Their efforts range widely, including bringing academic discoveries to a wider audience, bridging the activist and academic worlds, promoting a variety of non-traditional methods of learning about religion, embracing various media to improve the quality of religious discourse, and more.

In 2017, Dr. Pierce became the first woman dean of the Howard University Divinity School in its 150-year history. Earlier, Dr. Pierce was the Elmer C. Homrighausen Associate Professor of Religion and Literature and director of the Black Church Studies program at the Princeton Theological Seminary in New Jersey.

Dr. Pierce is a graduate of Princeton University, where she majored in English and religion. She holds two master’s degrees and a Ph.D. in religion and literature from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.

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