Dr. Laurie L. Patton

President, Middlebury College

Laurie L. Patton is president of Middlebury College in Middlebury, Vermont. An authority on South Asian history, culture, and religion, she is the author or editor of nine books and more than 50 articles in the field, and has translated the classical Sanskrit text, The Bhagavad Gita. In addition, she has published two books of poetry. Lecturing widely on interfaith issues and religion and public life, she has consulted with White House offices on faith-based initiatives, as well as on civic engagement. Dr. Patton earned her BA from Harvard University in 1983 and her PhD from the University of Chicago in 1991. In 2014 she was named Alumna of the Year at the University of Chicago Divinity School. President Patton joined Middlebury after serving for four years as dean of Duke University’s Trinity College of Arts and Sciences and as the Robert F. Durden Professor of Religion. At Duke, she oversaw 36 academic departments and programs in arts and sciences for the school, which has 5,200 undergraduate students and 640 faculty members. From 1996 to 2011, Professor Patton served on the faculty and administration at Emory University, where she was the Charles Howard Candler Professor of Religions and the inaugural director of Emory’s Center for Faculty Development and Excellence in the Office of the Provost. While at Emory, Patton served as chair of the religion department from 2000 to 2007, founded and co-convened the Religions and the Human Spirit Strategic Plan, and received the Emory Williams Award, Emory’s most prestigious honor for teaching, in 2005. From 2008–11, she served as president of the American Society for the Study of Religion. Dr. Patton began her career at Bard College, where she was assistant professor of Asian religions from 1991 to 1996 and taught courses in ancient and contemporary India, comparative mythology, and theory of religions.