Middlebury College President Laurie Patton to Lead the American Academy of Arts & Sciences

Laurie Patton, the first woman president of Middlebury College in Vermont, has been named president of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. She will take on her new role in January 2025.

The American Academy of Arts & Sciences was originally founded in 1780 by John Adams, John Hancock, and several other prominent leaders of the new nation. Today, it serves as a prestigious honorary society that recognizes excellence and fosters research across all disciplines, professions, and backgrounds. Dr. Patton has been a member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences since 2018.

Dr. Patton assumed the presidency of Middlebury College in 2015, making her the institution’s seventeenth president and first woman to hold the position. Her career in academia began at Bard College in New York where she served as an assistant professor of Asian religions from 1991 to 1996. She then moved to Emory University in Atlanta where she taught for the next 15 years, serving in positions such as the Charles Howard Candler Professor of Religions and the inaugural director of the Center for Faculty Development and Excellence. She later joined the faculty at Duke University in North Carolina where she served as the Robert F. Durden Professor of Religion and dean of the Trinity College of Arts and Sciences.

In addition to her teaching and administrative background, Dr. Patton is a poet and scholar of religious studies and South Asian history, culture, and religion. Her work has led to numerous publications including Penguin Classics’ translated issue of The Bhagavad Gita (2008). Additionally, Dr. Patton’s contributions to the field of religious studies led her to serving as president of two professional organizations: the American Society for the Study of Religion in 2011 and the American Academy of Religion in 2019.

Dr. Patton holds a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.

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