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Dean Yolanda Pierce wins the 2023 Martin E. Marty Award for the Public Understanding of Religion from the American Academy of Religion

Dean Yolanda Pierce

WASHINGTON- Dean Yolanda Pierce won the 2023 Martin E. Marty Award for the Public Understanding of Religion from the American Academy of Religion. Dr. Pierce is a well-known womanist scholar whose work on how race, gender, and faith intersect in American religion has an impact on both the academic community and the larger culture.

The Matin 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.

Pierce is the first woman to hold the position of dean at Howard University Divinity School in its 150-year history. She is known on and off campus for showing compassion and going above and beyond. 

The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture's Center for African American Religious Life appointed Dr. Pierce as its founding director in 2016. The exhibit "Touching the Sacred," which examines material religion and the Black Church, was created and is being curated by her. She also held the positions of Associate Professor of Religion and Literature at Princeton Theological Seminary and the Center for Black Church Studies' Founding Director.

Dr. Pierce was selected as the recipient of the Marty Award for this year by the Committee for the Public Understanding of Religion in a unanimous vote. The committee remarked on the special combination of critical evaluation, devoted concern, and passion for justice in her work and life. 

You can hear Dr. Pierce speak next at the 2023 Annual Meeting in San Antonio, "Dangerous Conversations: The Martin E. Marty Award for the Public Understanding of Religion". 



About Howard University

Founded in 1867, Howard University is a private, research university that is comprised of 14 schools and colleges. Students pursue more than 140 programs of study leading to undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees. The University operates with a commitment to Excellence in Truth and Service and has produced two Schwarzman Scholars, four Marshall Scholars, four Rhodes Scholars, 12 Truman Scholars, 25 Pickering Fellows and more than 165 Fulbright recipients. Howard also produces more on-campus African American PhD. recipients than any other university in the United States. For more information on Howard University, visit www.howard.edu