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Prominent American educator Jane McAuliffe, a world-renowned scholar of Islam and one of the senior leaders at the Library of Congress, will address this year’s graduates during the College of the Holy Cross Commencement ceremonies on Friday, May 24, at 10:30 a.m. at the DCU Center in Worcester.

Jane McAuliffe is senior advisor to the librarian of Congress and formerly the inaugural director of national and international outreach. Her work at the Library has involved a broad range of its programs, including the National Book Festival, the Kluge research center for scholars, the Library’s exhibits, publishing office, visitors’ services, and business enterprises.

She is a world-renowned scholar of Islam and has devoted sustained attention to Muslim-Christian dialogue and to the advancement of women around the world. As a specialist in the Qur’an and its interpretation, McAuliffe is general editor of the six-volume “Encyclopaedia of the Qur’an,” the first major reference work for the Qur’an in Western languages.

McAuliffe has served on the Vatican’s Commission for Religious Relations with Muslims and participated frequently in Building Bridges, a meeting of Muslim and Christian scholars established by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Prior to her role at the Library of Congress, McAuliffe was president of Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania from 2008 to 2013. During her tenure at Bryn Mawr, McAuliffe was recognized in 2009 by Forbes Magazine as one of the top “barrier breakers” among women presidents in the country.

Previously, McAuliffe served as dean of arts and sciences at Georgetown University, from 1999 to 2008; as professor and department chair at the University of Toronto, from 1992 to 1999; and as professor and associate dean at Emory University, from 1986 to 1992.

McAuliffe is an elected member of the American Philosophical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Council on Foreign Relations. She has served on the World Economic Forum’s GAC on Women’s Empowerment; has been president of the American Academy of Religion and has been a leader of Muslim-Christian dialogue initiatives for decades. She is a distinguished fellow of Georgetown’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs.

McAuliffe holds a bachelor’s degree in classics and philosophy from Trinity Washington University (formerly known as Trinity College) in Washington, D.C. She also received a master’s degree in religious studies and a Ph.D. in Islamic studies from the University of Toronto.

Publication Date



Worcester, Massachusetts


College of the Holy Cross, graduation


Arts and Humanities | Higher Education

2019 Commencement Address: Jane Dammen McAuliffe



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