In Memoriam: Margaret Hammond Dornish, 1934-2023

Margaret Dornish, a religious scholar and long-time faculty member at Pomona College in Claremont, California, died on December 27 in San Marcos, California. She was 89 years old.

A native of St. Marys, Pennsylvania, Dr. Dornish was a graduate of Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, where she majored in English language and literature. She went on to earn a Ph.D. in religious studies at Claremont Graduate School in California, where she became interested in Buddhism, both on a scholarly and personal level.

Dr. Dornish joined the faculty at Pomona College in 1969. When she began at Pomona, Dr. Dornish was among a handful of women faculty and the lone female instructor in a building that did not have a women’s bathroom. She taught religious studies at Pomona for 32 years. For a time, she was the only person at The Claremont Colleges teaching Asian religions. She regularly taught courses such as Mysticism East and West, Transformation and Utopia, Encounter with Japan, and Zen Buddhism.

Dr. Dornish played a pivotal role in extending the scope and methodologies utilized for the study of religions at The Claremont Colleges. She was extremely proud of the transformation of Pomona College’s religious studies department, which went from what she called “a seminary” to an intercollegiate discipline with an emphasis on religions across the globe.

After retiring from Pomona, Dr. Dornish moved to Carlsbad, California, and was active with the League of Women Voters.

Filed Under: In Memoriam


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